Feeling stuck? 9 tips to help you get back into motion

I’ve been quiet for the past few months due to a “perfect storm” of personal reasons that include grief, depression and existential crisis. (So much for my year of “fun and easy” – apparently the Universe had different plans for me!)

cartoon of Newton

Newton was a smart dude – he also discovered gravity.

This has me thinking about Newton’s first law of physics. (Of course! Where else could I go with that?)

A body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest.
Until acted upon by an opposite force.

I’ve come to believe that some people are wired to be in motion by default. They have a ton of internal motivation and Hustle Hustle Hustle Type A personalities.

Then there are those of us who are more inclined to stay at rest. Maybe we’re Type B (or Type N – for nap.)

If you’re a Type N like me, it doesn’t take much “opposite force” to stop you once you’re in motion. Something as simple as a week off for holidays or illness can be enough to bring your momentum to a halt.

And once you’re at rest – it requires a lot of “opposite force” to get moving again.

The hardest parts about being in business for yourself are these 2 things:

  1. Deciding where to go and what to do next in the face of fear, uncertainty and endless options
  2. Getting yourself to do the stuff you decided to do

Both situations lead to that feeling of being stuck.

Action isn’t happening because you either don’t know WHAT to do…or you’re trying to MAKE yourself do it.

In my case, I’ve been dealing with both. The shake up in my personal life led me to start re-evaluating my business. Which has been a very very good thing. I made some changes and I have a new plan for moving forward.

Now I just need to take action. Which leads to the question:

How do you get going again?

I brought this question to a mastermind group I belong to – and I received a wide variety of helpful ways to decide what to do and how get moving again.

Here’s a summary of the advice I received – if you’re feeling stuck…perhaps one of these ideas will help you too!

cartoon of guy sleeping under his desk

Why sleep under your desk if you have a perfectly good bed? (I just don’t understand those Hustle Hustle types!)

1. Self care and rest

Newsflash: we can’t be ON all the time.

Sometimes the right thing to do is to NOT do anything.

Resting, relaxing, taking time to attend to ourselves and our lives is important.

2. Check in with your body

One of the things my mastermind buddies helped me recognize is the difference between being stuck in a “spin cycle” where ideas and things to do are swirling around and around in your head (or Tasmanian Devil Mode as one person described it) or the type of stuck where you know what you need to do next, but you just don’t wanna.

A quick way to stop the spin cycle is to check in with your body, to get grounded and present, to notice your surroundings.

As someone who lives in her head, I tested this idea and found it worked really well. It’s hard to stay swirling and stuck when you’re scanning your body, checking to see how stuckness feels and where it’s located.

3. Get the “stuff” out of your head

Take a few moments and write down everything that’s cycling through your head. Once you have it all down on paper or in your computer, you may be surprised to find that you feel better already.

When you see everything in front of you and you no longer need to keep it all in your head, you’ll find it easier to pick something.

cartoon of frog crossing the finish line

Finishing something…anything…can be incredibly motivating

4. Do one thing (and finish it)

The goal here is to simply get back into motion – not to fully catch up.

So pick anything. Feel free to start with something small or easy.

Then finish it.

5. Set a time limit

Set a timer for 5, 10 or 20 minutes and use the time to work on something. Then take a short break. Rinse and repeat.

This is how I trick myself into doing housework: I commit to cleaning for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, I give myself the option to keep going or to stop. Usually I keep going.

6. Break it down!

Sometimes we put “tasks” on our To Do Lists that are actually projects.

If it takes more than a few minutes and there are multiple steps involved, break it down into bite sized chunks, then tackle them one at a time.

7. Don’t do it alone

One of the things that got me out of my stuck place was attending a networking event. Even though I didn’t feel like it, getting out and talking to people really helped.

Another thing that helped was participating in a “Frog Buster” session where a group of us worked together independently.

And of course – asking my mastermind group for the advice you’re reading here!

cartoon of woman taking a step

Cheesy but true: success is achieved one step at a time.

8. Beware of perfectionism

Give yourself permission to let it be messy and to make mistakes. Try to cultivate an attitude of curiosity, rather than judgement.

Keep in mind that your body of work will not be composed 100% of “Greatest Hits”

10% of your work may be exceptionally good, 10% cringeworthy – and the rest somewhere in the middle. It’s OK to put something out that’s only average. (That’s what I’m reminding myself as I write this post.)

9. Take the next best step

You don’t have to see the entire path in order to get started. (This is particularly good advice for those of us who tend to get caught in paralysis by analysis – trying to figure out ALL the steps before taking the first one!)

We learn by taking action and trying things to see how they go. Then we make adjustments based on the results we get.

Even if the step we took has us going down the wrong path, it’s easier to change direction when we’re moving.

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2 Comments

  1. Rosalie on July 21, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Patty, you have me beat by 12 alphabet letters! I always say I am a type Z for zzzzzzzzzzzzz. I’m realizing #4 – do one thing, and complete it – is helpful to me. I need to make some of my tasks those that I can completely finish, not just be one step in a process.
    Yeah, you for working to get unstuck and posting this (perfectly wonderful) blog.

    • Patty K on July 22, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Thanks, Rosalie! The one I really need to conquer is perfectionism. I recognize that this is the reason behind the “not finishing” – it doesn’t seem done yet because there’s always a way to make it better. I have to keep reminding myself: done is better than perfect.

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