Forget trying to figure out why you feel stuck. You just do. Welcome to the human race. Feeling stuck is a signal that we are facing some consequential changes. When we don’t feel ready for those changes — when we aren’t to the point of clarity from which action comes, we enter into a state of stuck.
The more you resist being stuck, the more stuck you get. Think monkey’s hand in the bell jar. Rather than magnify the self-loathing because you feel stuck, try this: “Hey, I’m stuck. I don’t like this feeling, but it isn’t going to kill me. This is part of the experience. I don’t have to figure it today. I’m just going to floss.”
Unsticking from a long term state of stuck takes time, gentleness, and soul-searching. In the meantime, here are 15 simple tasks you do that will break inertia’s Kung Fu death grip on your motivation.
1) Floss. Get the kind that doesn’t fray between your teeth. That would stop anyone in their tracks. Then brush. A clean, minty mouth never stopped anyone from greatness. Resist plucking chin whiskers — you can lose days here. Buy some Nair.
2) Mercilessly show that bitch, Junk Mail, who’s boss.
3) Spend an hour making a racous playlist for the gym. You have good music. It brings back good memories. And you’ll need some good playlists for the gym.
4) Go to the gym. Promise yourself you only have to walk, flat, at 2 MPH for 20 minutes and then you can leave. If you leave after 20 minutes, you get a hard man point. If you stay longer, you can add bragging rights. Just because you did more than the goal today doesn’t make you a failure if you just hit the goal tomorrow. And if you don’t make it to the gym tomorrow do the following.
5) Do ten girlie push ups. Or frog squats. Or plank for 30 seconds. Add two a day. Or five seconds a day. Feel empowered: this baby step is activating your muscles.
6) Clean off your night stand. Dust it. Five minutes tops. You only get to keep two books on it.
7) Set the time for twenty minutes and organize your book shelf. This will remind you that you are freaking smart and you have interests and areas of competency. Also: BOOKS! Pick one to read by the end of the week. Turn off the TV and do it. Bonus points if it’s a book that makes you feel expansive. You are hereby forbidden to compare yourself with the success of the author in any way.
8) Wrangle your laundry. And by wrangle I don’t mean get it all done, I mean separate clean from dirty. If you feel like taking the next step here, pull out the clean towels. Fold them and put them away. Call that good. Feel virtuous. Might as well through a load of dirties in while you’re there. Moldy laundry in the washer? Easy. Load it up with water, more soap, and toss a cup of vinegar in. You don’t have to do every load of laundry on planet earth into eternity future. Just this one load.
9) Hydrate. Drink a real glass of water. Try this every hour or two. While you’re there, offer to get a glass for someone else too.
10) Do something small and unexpected for your neighbor. Even if he’s an ass. Offer to pick up something from the store. Go to the store. Buy the Nair and three postcards that make you feel happy and whatever your neighbor asked you to pick up. (Ideally you should get dressed for this. If your pants don’t fit anymore, feel okay about sweats. Hey, you’re vertical!)
11) Call an old friend. “I’ve been stuck in my head. I miss you. How are you?”
12) Make a clemency list: all the things you feel guilty about having not done. Feel okay about writing it. It’s just a list. Assign yourself five points for bravery.
13) Buy three post cards. Write brief thank you’s to three people that helped you or inspired you this week. Send the post cards. Expect nothing in reply.
14) Think about the person who really ticks you off and come up with one way he or she has helped you. Did he reflect something to you about yourself that may not have been uncovered without his poking; did she piss you off to the point that you were willing to leave an abusive environment even if it was earlier than you were prepared for? Do you need to rearrange the power of the relationship so that it is more equitable? Just ask the questions. you don’t have to have answers right away.
15) Without the need to answer the question, ask yourself: am I genuinely stuck or do I feel stuck? Let that rattle around in your head for awhile. As all the ideas come up, don’t judge them and don’t give them the power to condemn you. Just notice their insights.
Pick two or three of these to do each day.
Let me know how it goes.