Tag Archives: stuck

Get Unstuck: Exercise Works!

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Yoga helped me get unstuck!

I’ve been stuck in grief and low-grade depression since the death of my mother in July. It’s been very hard to muster the enthusiasm needed to promote my business. I knew that losing Mom after 5 years of coordinating her care as Alzheimer’s claimed her mind would derail me. But, I thought after a month or two I would be back on track. Not so. Add in normal fall seasonal affective disorder, and I have been moving at a glacial pace.

For many years I have walked regularly and done sit ups, push ups, and leg lifts at night before going to bed — minimal exercise. In an attempt to build strength and energy, Bob and I joined American Family Fitness, a gym near our home, 

Going to a gym has never been easy for my introverted self. But this time I approached the challenge with a new perspective. Instead of thinking of the gym as a place where I would demonstrate how out of shape I am and how much better others are, I viewed it as a place to reclaim my strength, my center, my confidence and feelings of well-being.

I started with a yoga class and an easy workout on machines. As expected, I was wobbly during yoga poses and my muscles screamed and let me know I had been neglecting them. I got breathless on the treadmill. However, almost immediately I felt better. It was as if some vital life force in me began moving again. Optimism returned. Enthusiasm returned. And, with those good feelings came a desire to write this blog, to get to work.

Keys to making this gym experience different than others:

  • I went in with no expectations for a high level of performance.
  • I viewed going to the gym as self-care and an activity to help me feel better.
  • I took relatively easy, meditative classes and started slow on the machines instead of pushing myself in high intensity classes and workouts.
  • I chose the kinds of exercise I like to do.
  • I viewed just showing up at the gym as a success.

The payoff: I’m moving again, feeling better, and being more productive!

Eliminate Perspectives that Keep You Stuck!

Clutter keeps you stuck. Normally, clearing clutter helps you get clear aboutimagesCAGBLYOU what matters which then leads to positive action. But, if you’ve cleared your clutter and notice that you still feel stuck, it could be that limiting perspectives are the culprit.

What’s a limiting perspective? It’s a way looking at things in your life. For example, you could look at life as a daring adventure and greet each day with enthusiasm and the expectation that no matter what happens it will be a great adventure. Or, you could look at life as a daily grind, where nothing will ever change. With that perspective you are likely to wake with a feeling dread and resignation that each day will be the same old unfulfilling thing.

Which perspective resonates with you? Most of us are unaware of the perspectives we carry in our heads. You move through life with limiting perspectives and don’t even realize that it’s not that you have bad luck or grew up on the wrong side of that tracks or that you didn’t get enough education or land the right job. What’s often keeps you stuck are your thoughts, those limiting beliefs and perspectives that have become habitual. 

Following are some common limiting perspectives:

  • life is hard
  • we all have to struggle to get by
  • I’ll never get my head above water
  • when I get the right job, mate, break, everything will be OK.

With those kinds of beliefs running around in your head, is it any wonder that you are stuck, unable to create a meaningful life in which you experience joy, are connected to your passions, and feel happy and fulfilled?

The challenge of limiting perspectives is that they are so habitual that you aren’t even aware that they are holding you hostage. Without awareness of their existence and power over you, you are unable to let them go and choose perspectives that will move you in a positive direction.

One of the best ways to identify limiting perspectives, strategize how to release them and identify more helpful perspectives is to work with a coach. A coach is trained to listen for limiting perspectives and bring them to light in coaching sessions to be addressed and released. Coaching is a partnership in which you have the opportunity to learn which behaviors, thoughts, beliefs and perspectives do not serve you and keep you stuck, plus strategize ways to take action to let go of those habitual ways of behaving and choose new ways to think and behave.

What limiting perspectives are keeping you stuck? If you are unable to identify what is keeping you stuck, sign up now for a free 30 minute Back on Track phone coaching session with me. Remember, getting unstuck begins with a single step. 

Are You Stuck? How Coaching Can Help

Are you stuck, unable to take a step forward because of fear, frustration, not knowing

Are you stuck and frustrated?

Are you stuck and frustrated?

what to do, not knowing how to do something, because your thoughts are spinning in your head? Coaching can help.

I recently worked with a woman who has ADD. She came to our coaching session feeling frustrated because she had tried very hard to get a number of tasks done that day and kept running into roadblocks. With each road block she became more and more frustrated. The frustration sent her thoughts spinning. She was having great difficulty figuring out her next step.

In our coaching we talked about what happened that day, the challenges, her actions, her attempts to make progress despite roadblocks. As we talked she gradually calmed down. That was no small feat. It can be difficult for the ADD brain to settle down once aroused by uncomfortable feelings. The act of putting her struggle into words that I could understand helped her look at her situation more objectively.

My role was to listen to her story, ask questions to clarify details, and help her identify her priorities. She went from feeling like everything was a priority, another common way that ADD shows up, to identifying two actions to focus on. Together we identified when she would do those tasks and followup actions to take if she ran into more roadblocks.

Two days later I got an email from this woman. She told me that once she took the first step, getting her cell phone working at the Verizon store, she felt better and was off and running. The first task we’d identified as most important was the block to further action. Once she got her phone fixed she wrote, “I did a number of other things on my To Do list and had a great time that night with friends. I went from feeling mentally exhausted to refreshed.” Plus, the next day she was so charged up from her successes the night before that she was motivated to knock off many more difficult steps.

Coaching provides a safe place to process current challenges and design actions with the support of another caring and interested person. When this woman took time out of her day to call me, having a supportive person on the other end of the phone created just the pause she needed to regroup, figure out what was most important and consider options for moving forward. Without our conversation she might have stayed stuck and spent her evening feeling frustrated and mad that she had accomplished  so little despite her efforts. Our coaching conversation made it possible for her to design a new game plan and take action.

Are you stuck? I invite you to schedule a free 30 minute Back on Track sample phone coaching session to explore the possibility of coaching as a resource and support to help you get moving to accomplish YOUR goals.

Photo Project: From Anxiety to Success, A Matter of Choice

I was awakened by anxiety. My mother and father-in-law had asked that I help them organize DSCN0852their photos, 60 years of photos. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around how to tackle that enormous task. Was I worried? A little. I was worried that I didn’t have a clear plan for accomplishing the task. But, another part of me knew that not knowing was not an insurmountable obstacle. There have been many times when I’ve been clueless up front about what to do to move forward with a client project. What I have learned is that the answers often come to me once I’ve begun a project. I don’t have to have the perfect plan. I just need to get started and use what I know to lead me forward.

My first step was to pull all the containers of photos and memorabilia into one location. I’ve learned over the years that it’s really hard to get started on a project if pieces of the project are scattered around. When I pull all the pieces together my brain kicks into gear. 

Now, at that point many people would be blown away because they could finally see the reality of their organizing challenge. There was an enormous of material to go through. Rather than step back and focus on the size of the project, I consciously chose to step into the project to explore the lay of the land with curiosity. I did that by removing items from the boxes so I could see what they contained. Were they photo albums or packages of photos? Were they travel photos or family photos? That movement helped release some of the anxiety I’d been feeling. Once I was moving I very quickly was able to group photos and albums into distinct categories: travel photos, family photos, family of origin photos on both sides. I was off and running.

Another important piece of this process was my mindset. Even though I was anxious about how to do the project, at no point did I allow myself to think that I was not up to the challenge. Yes, there were moments when I could have gone to that negative and self-defeating place. Instead, I held on tight to the belief that I could get this big project done. I might not be able to get it done in the five days I had, but I could make significant progress.

There is much more to the story of this photo project I could share, however, the point I’m making here is that you don’t have to know how you’re going to get something done ahead of time. In fact, it’s often impossible to do that with really big clutter clearing projects. The energy of the clutter is negative and distracting. What’s most important is that you show up, approach the challenge with curiosity, push back fearful, limiting beliefs, hold onto the belief that you will be successful, and start moving things intentionally.

With help from my mother and father-in-law, who made some of the choices about what to keep and what to get rid of, I cleared out about at least 12 big black bags of trash, separated photos into individual boxes for at least six online photos books, boxed all the photos we weren’t keeping for their daughter who wanted them, and I scanned almost 200 photos for the first  photo album that I will create for them. I’m all set up to create one book and continue the work the next time I visit. 

Don’t let a big clutter clearing project stop you dead in your tracks. Set your intention. Manage your feelings of overwhelm by expecting success. Engage your curiosity about the contents of your clutter. And, get moving. If after all that you find yourself stuck, you always have the option of seeking support with a family member, friend or professional organizer. Staying stuck is a choice. Getting unstuck by working with your beliefs, actions, and/or support are also choices. What will you choose?

Choose A New Perspective About Clutter

My guess is that most people have the perspective that clutter is an indication of a failing of

The truth: I drop things on this counter that belong elsewhere. I avoid moving them because it takes effort, takes me out of the kitchen, or with all the clutter I don't even see them anymore.

The truth: I drop things on this counter that belong elsewhere because it’s easy to do and provides relief in the moment. I avoid moving them because it takes effort, it takes me out of the kitchen, it requires that I make a decision about where things should go or with all the clutter I don’t even see them anymore.

some sort, a reflection that they have let things slide, have lost control, and/or have not been conscientious about maintaining order in their space. Clutter = negative reflection of you. With that type of energy draining perspective, is it any wonder that clearing clutter is a much procrastinated task? I have another perspective to offer, one that is more neutral and more interesting.

Clutter = information. Clutter tells the truth about what’s going on with you and your life. When I clear clutter I learn many things about my clients. I learn what they love, where their life journey has taken them, what they procrastinate doing, and where they are challenged in their lives. You have a choice to beat yourself up about having clutter or you can look at it and ask, “What does this clutter indicate about me and my life? What are the truths I have been avoiding or unconscious of that I would benefit from facing?”

Now, some people will automatically go to the easy, automatic answers when searching for the truth. “I’m lazy.” “I’m just a slob.” “I don’t have time.” However, the truth is usually much more complicated that that. Following are some of the truths that clutter indicates:

  • I have attention deficit disorder and executive function deficits make getting and staying organized hard if not impossible.
  • I went through a rough patch when caring for my elderly parents and wasn’t able to keep up with everything.
  • I get bored easily and putting things away and cleaning up on a regular basis are boring.
  • I have difficulty getting rid of things.
  • I have a buying addiction. More things come into my house than go out.
  • I don’t know where to start clearing and how to do it.
  • I feel totally overwhelmed when I look at the clutter and my brain freezes when I look at it.
  • There are many things here that don’t belong to me, and I’m angry about having to deal with other people’s stuff.
  • I have difficulty making decisions, and there are so many decisions to make when clutter clearing.
  • I love my stuff and don’t want to get rid of anything.
  • I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake when I clear clutter and then I’ll be upset.
  • I love ____________ . Fill in the blank with whatever you have accumulated because you love it. A person who loves horses might have horse statues, pictures of horses, medals from horse shows, etc.
  • I’m stuck and don’t know how to get moving.
  • I’m afraid if I clear clutter I won’t like what I find out about myself.
  • I’m afraid of change. 

I could go on and on about what clutter communicates. The possibilities are endless.

Imagine what it would be like if you approached your clutter from a neutral position, with curiosity about what you can learn about yourself and your reality. Sure, you may have to face some truths you don’t like, but they won’t harm you as much as a negative perspective that keeps you stuck in self-judgment, feeling like a slacker, a loser or worse. Negative perspectives keep you stuck. A neutral or positive perspective creates the possibility for progress and forward movement.

You have a choice: see clutter as a failing, an indication of character defects or see clutter as information that you can use to problem solve your clutter challenges. Face your truths without judgment, and you’ll find yourself empowered to identify resources for help and/or take action.

What truths does your clutter tell? How can you use that information to motivate you to tackle your clutter or get help to bite the clutter clearing bullet?

Change Your Thoughts, Procrastinate Less

Procrastination is a choice fueled by convincing thoughts. I became fully aware of this recently

When a task seems too big, take your focus off the forest and start with a tree!

When a task seems too big, take your focus off the forest and start with a tree!

when a coaching client told me that in her effort to procrastinate less she’d begun to watch her thoughts prior to procrastinating. 

As expected, certain thoughts showed up time and time again. Her thought repertoire included: I’m too tired; it will take too long to do; I don’t know how to do this; I don’t want to waste time trying to figure out how to do this; it’s too big; and I probably won’t finish it anyway. Sound familiar? 

Did you notice the energy of those words? Primarily negative and energy draining. Of course you are going to procrastinate if limiting thoughts and beliefs predominate! Negative thoughts breed stagnation.

Becoming aware of your procrastination thoughts is the first step to reducing procrastination. What are your procrastination thoughts? Once you recognize the thoughts that lead to procrastination, you can counter those negative thoughts with a dose of reality and with positive thoughts that encourage taking action. Following are some examples.

Countering Procrastination Thoughts

“I’m too tired.”

Dose of reality: Who hasn’t used this thought to put off sorting mail, starting a new project, etc.! The truth is that intentionally taking action to accomplish any task can give you energy. When you are not taking action, your energy stagnates. When you step into action, you break the stagnation and free energy that is available is then available to you.

More helpful thoughts: “Am I really tired or am I procrastinating?” “I can always take one step.”

“I don’t know how to do this.”

Dose of reality: It’s amazing how long this thought will keep people stuck. You may not know how to do the task, but I’ll bet you know someone who does know how to do it. Or, you probably are capable of seeking out resources to help you accomplish the task. What if you ignored that shut down message and spent a few minutes considering what needs to be done? Perhaps you might even be able to figure it out on your own. 

More helpful thoughts: “I may not know how to do it, but I can ask for help.” “ I have been successful figuring things out in the past. I can do it now.”

“It’s too big.”

Dose of reality: This statement reflects shut down due to overwhelm. Some people can only see the forest, not the trees. The forest is daunting. A single tree is manageable. Any task can be broken down into small steps if you take your eyes off the forest and look at the trees that make up the forest. If you take a tree (small step) at a time, you can get a big task done. Some tasks really are to big to tackle on your own. That’s when it’s time to ask for help.

More helpful thoughts: “This task is too big to do all at once. I can do it one step at a time.” “I can do this task with help from _____________ .

Watch your thoughts! Notice which thoughts keep you procrastinating. Look for and use new positive thoughts to motivate you to get unstuck and moving in the direction you want to go. As you procrastinate less often, you’ll feel the weight of procrastinated tasks lift, you’ll be more productive, and your self-esteem will grow.

Incomplete Tasks = Mind Clutter that Keeps You Stuck

Hand check mark the listAs I was running errands today I noticed I was feeling a sense of urgency about getting lots of little chores done. As is my habit I asked myself, “What’s this urgency about? What motivates me to knock action items off my to do list?” What came to me is that I wanted a clean slate so writing and other difficult tasks would be easier to do. Years of running a business has taught me that I can be most productive with really difficult and important tasks, like writing and designing seminars, when I clear out all those little tasks.

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, describes tasks that need to be done as attention units. Whether you have tasks written down on a to do list or not, whether you are conscious of them or not, items that need to be done, even little piddly items, take up space on the hard drive in your head.

To-do items are a form of mind clutter. Your space might be neat, but if your head is teeming with tasks that need to be done, you may find yourself stuck having difficulty getting the mental clarity you need to efficiently and effectively take action on important tasks.

How many items have accumulated on your to-do list? Make it a point to clear off as many of those tasks as you can. Then notice how you feel and where you focus once those attention units have been eliminated. Being stuck is a choice. Clear incomplete tasks and get moving!

Procrastination’s Cure: Awareness & Support

Are you dragging your feet about getting a task done? What’s the barrier to forward movement?

What blocks your from taking action?

A few years ago I was dragging my feet about taking action to begin the legwork to shift my business from a hands-on organizing/feng shui model to a coaching/writing model with hands-on organizing and feng shui as components of coaching and writing. I was committed to the shift, but could not make myself take steps to move forward to put my vision into reality. My plan was to offer my services as a coach who can move clients from stuck to moving and then thriving. And, there I was. Stuck!

By chance while on a road trip with my husband I told him that I was considering experimenting with group coaching as an alternative way to offer coaching to people who can’t afford one on one coaching. My husband is a therapist, so I asked him to describe how he ran group counseling groups, thinking that perhaps that information could help me develop a group coaching process. I was delighted to discover that there is a distinct possibility that the group counseling process could work for group coaching.

As we talked, I noticed that my energy level around jumping into action to integrate coaching in my business skyrocketed. It was such fun to explore the possibilities of group coaching, to consider doing more than one on one coaching. With that conversation the prospect of integrating coaching into my business shifted from a scary, daunting task to a creative opportunity.

I had been stuck because something about the task at hand wasn’t motivating. The thought of doing just one on one coaching as the main activity in my business did not float my boat. I was trying to get started on creating something that wasn’t quite the right fit for me, but it wasn’t until I reached out for support from Bob that I gained clarity about that. By making a connection with Bob, a knowledgeable resource, and exploring a new possibility with him, I was able to expand my vision for my business. When I did that my creative juices kicked in, and I was off and running.

My learning from this experience? Sometimes the task I’m trying to make myself do with no success is not the right task to be doing. When I get stuck reaching out for information and support can get me going again. I learned that I am more likely to take action if I can find a way to view a task as a creative challenge. When the work I need to do meets some of my basic needs, like having fun and being creative, I am more likely to engage in it.

When you’re stuck, stop and see if you can determine the barrier to action. What is blocking forward movement? Be curious about your inaction. The awareness that may emerge could shift your energy from stuck to moving.