It’s easy to stay in comfort and get into a rhythm of sameness, this way of being can create stagnation and a feeling of being stuck. Other ways that we can become stuck is having too many ideas without any focus or direction. This can make us feel like we are going in circles and not getting anywhere.
Living in this era of comfort and distractions makes it easy to avoid our emotions, patterns and any conflicts in our lives. This avoidance can make it easy to get stuck in old habits, stuff and relationships. This year I’m creating weekly challenges to change and move you out of your limbo. This month’s focus is getting unstuck.
Stuck in Stuff
I’ve seen many people’s homes over the years, observed, listened and seen how their space keeps them stuck in the past and prevents them from moving forward in their life. Whether it’s a pair of pants that they’ve had for 20 years, or extra everything clogging up their home, just in case.
Are you stuck in your stuff?
How often have you had a hard time finding things?
Do you waste time reorganizing your belongings only for your spaces to be a mess again?
Are you attached to the experience associated with your belongings?
Most of us have been able to say yes to one of these questions at one point or another. Monica Chin asks you to consider if your belongings are interfering with your relationships. For example, is your partner wondering if your belongings are more important to you than your relationship? Another way to see if your stuff is taking over is if you feel stressed when you are not close to particular items, including your phone.
Christian Jarrett talks about this close tie and attachment to our belongings begins when we are very young. He references studies that have been conducted and shown that people value objects more when they own them. There is also a high attachment because of the belief we put onto our belongings that they have an unique essence. When societies are based on sharing, the endowment effect is not an issue. Indicating that our strong attachments to our items are socially constructed.
This is great news because it means that you can lessen your attachments to your belongings and be less stuck in stuff. I’ve written about strategies in the past and now encourage my clients to journal about where they can let go in their life, using my morning and evening journal prompts.
Stuck in Habits
There are deeper habits that keep us stuck in old ways of being and doing.
Focusing on the negative
Gabrielle Marchena talks about getting stuck in 8 habits. One of which is through focusing on the negative. How often do you get absorbed in negative thinking about all the problems you have in your life instead of looking at them with gratitude and as a place to grow?
Blaming other and the outside world
It’s also easy to point the finger at others and outside circumstances for the challenges we face. The amazing thing about being human is that we have will and inner power that can transform any situation. Our mindset and the choices we make determine the path we are on and stay on. How can you shift blaming others to empowering yourself to take responsibility and make changes where you can?
Staying in your comfort zone
Wanting to stay in your comfort zone is another habit that keeps us stuck and prevents us from growing. I’ve mastered organizing my life, especially around food prep, groceries and chores. However, if I don’t challenge myself to do things differently I run the risk of being rigid and stuck in doing things in the same way, which will eventually echo into all areas of my life. Familiarity means comfort and the unknown can be scary. Ask yourself daily: What can I do differently today and how will it help me get closer to my goals and who I want to be?
Holding onto the past
Lastly, Gabrelle suggests that we often get stuck in the past and miss opportunities for growth. This attachment to the past comes in the form of grudges, resentments and of course the emotional attachment to our belongings. All of these keep us from reaching our truest potential and weigh us down physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. What can you let go of today?
Stuck in Victimhood
Mukesh Mani writes about holding on to a story of victimhood that can stop us from moving forward. If our needs of being heard, seen or held related to traumatic experiences are not being met it can be hard to let go of the story and the effects of the event(s). This is why it’s so important to get the support you need without getting stuck in the story and the past. I recently heard of the term post traumatic growth, and I love it. How can we grow and transform from our trauma to better serve ourselves and the worlds around us.
How To Create Happiness Through Creating Change
At the end of the day most of us just want to be happy. It’s a very general way of looking at the human experience and I’d like to take it further by saying we all have a passion, purpose and are meant to live fulfilling lives. This sounds fantastic however, how do we put this into practice?
My 5 step process walks people through a series of steps that help them look both within and outwardly. Starting within and seeing what matters to you the most is the best place to start. If you want to learn more email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you the first step to my process for free so you can get started with creating clarity and direction in your life.
Challenging Yourself to Change
Previously the narrative around stress was that it was negative and you had to implement multiple strategies to reduce or eliminate it. Newer research shows the opposite. Stanford university did multiple studies and found that low levels of stress put you in new situations and push you to grow. Knowing your threshold of what is too much allows you the opportunity to tune into the warning signs so you don’t tip over into episodic or acute stress. On the flip side, if we avoid stress and the same thing over and over we live our lives automatically and this doesn’t allow us to grow.
Think of how trees and plants outside are stronger than indoor plants. They have to deal with elements like wind. A gentle or strong wind will force them to be flexible yet rooted and become stronger. However, a storm can wipe them out completely. This balance of being mindful of your stress levels and using it to help you grow can help you face your fears and grow. So ask yourself how you can stand strong in the wind and challenge yourself to grow this year?
Ways you can challenge yourself to change
Have an accountability plan, partner and/or coach. This allows you to share how you challenged yourself and influence others to do the same.
Do a morning and evening journal that has prompts to help you reflect, track and growth.
Be intentional and do something different everyday. When you are intentional and pause before switching to a new task, take this time to ask yourself how you can do it in a different way.
Put yourself in new situations that make you nervous. Identify what you are afraid of and challenge yourself to face that fear.
Learn! When you read and learn new material it challenges you to grow in the area you are studying. It also helps your brain grow new neural pathways and can strengthen positive ways of being.
Do something creative everyday. Creating means making something new. This can be anything from making a new dish for dinner or learning a new way to skate.