If you have found yourself stuck in a rut, here are some ways to get unstuck:
1. What thoughts are supporting/sabotaging your success?
What thoughts run through your mind? And of those thoughts, which are serving you? Are you more likely to think, “I can’t do it”, “I’m exhausted”, “This is just my life”, or “I am grateful for a full life”, “I am strong”, or “I will figure this out”? Your thoughts are nothing more than habits, and the more often you think a certain way, the easier it is to think that way.
Pay attention to your automatic thoughts and whether or not they are driving the results you want. When you have an unproductive thought, ask yourself, “Is this serving me?” If not, watch the thought float by like a cloud and move on to a more productive one. This is why practicing mindfulness is so powerful. It teaches you to become aware of your thoughts without getting carried away by them.
2. Remember that your thoughts are not facts.
When you have an unproductive thought, it’s easy to believe it’s the truth. In reality, thoughts are merely information, and you can choose whether or not you engage them. Shifting your thoughts is a skill, just like riding a bike or learning a language. And just like any skill, the more you practice, the easier it gets. For example, if you feel constantly connected to work, and work/life boundaries have blurred, what thought patterns led you there? “If I don’t work this hard, I’ll lose my job” or “If my boss emails me, I have to respond immediately”.
In truth, working harder just causes burnout and leads to negative physical and mental health. Maybe you must respond to your boss immediately, or maybe you have trained your boss to expect that. You can have an automatic message that says, “Emails received after 6pm will be responded to the next business day. If it’s urgent, reach me here”. When you challenge your thoughts, you are more likely to engage in behaviors like self-care and setting clear boundaries.
3. Create a replacement thought.
A belief is a habit of thought. While you cannot break a habit, you can replace it with a more productive one. Most people try to go from a negative thought to a positive thought, but for your brain, that may be too much of a stretch. If your thought is, “This sucks!”, trying to get to, “This is awesome!” might be a bit much. Try going from a negative thought to a neutral one. For example, go from “This sucks!” to “It is what it is”.
4. Make visual reminders.
Visual reminders are extremely helpful. Last year, I got a tattoo to remind myself to breathe and find peace. When my mind starts running away from me, I look at my tattoo and take 3 deep breaths. I have sticky notes all over the place that say, “It is what it is”, “You got this”, and “All you can do is all you can do”. When you are under stress, help your brain out by creating visual reminders and making replacement thoughts easily accessible.
5. Talk to yourself rather than listen to yourself.
How long would you be friends with someone who talks to you the way you talk to yourself? Most of us have those little annoying, self-defeating messages swirling around our heads. Rather than listening to them, replace them with the messages you would share with a friend who is dealing with a similar situation. If your friend messes up, chances are, you wouldn’t say things like, “You’re so stupid! What is wrong with you!?” Speak to yourself with the same kindness you would a friend.
The last year has given us all a run for our money, but we have to be careful that we don’t define our lives by “before the pandemic” or “after the pandemic”.
If you’ve fallen in a rut, you don’t have to stay there. As one of my favorite musicians Ray Wylie Hubbard says, “Get out of a rut and get into a groove.”
About Anne Grady:
Anne Grady is not your typical motivational speaker. She is a best-selling author, two-time TEDx speaker, trainer, survivor, optimist, inspirer, and a truth-bomb dropper.
Anne has a master’s degree in organizational communication and has spent the last twenty years working with some of the largest organizations around the globe. She has become known as a leading expert on communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, and resilience, contributing to Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, FOX Business and many more.
Audiences love her raw honesty, edgy humor, authenticity, and insight. Anne shares inspiring personal stories, cutting edge, research-based content, and implementation tools to transfer learning into real life to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it.
In her first book, “52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work,” Anne provides practical strategies to improve relationships, increase productivity and reduce stress. In her most recent book, “Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph,” Anne draws from her personal life experiences that touch the hearts and minds of audiences helping them use adversity as a catalyst to grow “strong enough”.
If you are interested in having Anne Grady speak to your organization on resilience, please call Midwest Speakers Bureau at 515-974-8305 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org