“The one self-knowledge worth having is to know one’s own mind.” — F.H. Bradley
What do you do when you just feel stuck?
You know, when you’ve stopped doing stuff you previously loved doing and the only reason you go to work or school is to hang out with your colleagues or friends?
You’re just stuck and hate every second of it.
Well, obviously you don’t completely hate it. If you did, you’d do something about it, right?
While specifics might change we definitely recognize the symptoms. No fun to be had there.
The problem is that you’re basically stuck between two states. You’re living your life in a way that isn’t rewarding, yet it isn’t so bad that you get off your ass and do something about it.
So, instead you look outside yourself for answers in the hopes that something or someone will reach out a hand and lift you up. Or, you just want sympathy, and will revert back to behaving the same way and complaining about your life not being the way you want it.
Nobody’s coming to save you, so you got to start saving yourself.
One issue with us humans is that we’ve fallen for this false belief that we should “feel like it”. That things should be inspirational, easy, and rewarding.
What you could do is to try and work out what the root cause of it is. That’s best left to work out with a trained professional.
Looking at the fact that you’ve given up on things that you probably once thought were fun makes me think that there was an inciting factor that you haven’t disclosed. It could be a break up, death of a loved one, hormonal changes, diet, health, etc.
It might also be that you got bored of the same old routine and simply didn’t change one routine for another. So, you got stuck doing nothing and your mind wanting do something started thinking about existence, life’s purpose, etc.
Again, while the specifics might vary you need to try the following things:
- Get to a point where the pain is so bad that you’re forced to make a change.
- Find a goal or purpose that’s so enticing that you can’t help but feel excited about waking up every day and working towards it.
- Make yourself accountable toward somebody else. Perhaps that can kick your ass into gear.
- Create systems and routines that allows you to do more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
The reason you need to try these different approaches is because there’s no way for us to tell which will yield the best results.
Let’s use going to the gym just to illustrate an example.
Greg is sick and tired of being overweight and eating crap. He joins a gym and goes 3 times a week for the first month. After that first month he’s lost some weight, but starts making excuses not to go. What could motivate Greg to keep going?
- Now it’s 2 months later and Greg’s put on the weight he lost and then some. He stands on the scale in the bathroom and starts crying, all of a sudden he feels dizzy, and passes out. When he comes to, he’s at the hospital. The doctor tells him that everything’s basically OK, but that he really should start taking better care of himself. Greg already knew this but this incident scares him so bad that he finally gets rid of the junk food and keeps going to the gym. Every time he finds himself making an excuse or craving junk, he remembers what happened and it leads him to make other, more healthy, choices.
- Greg’s had a hard time for the past couple of months, but he reads an article about one of his childhood heroes who talks about their experience with overweight and how they overcame it. The before picture is even worse than Greg’s. This makes Greg feel like he can do it. He cuts out the picture of his hero looking healthy and fit and pastes his own head on the body. This is what he wants to look like. He gets really excited about it and feels motivated. He carries the picture around in his wallet and every time he wavers he takes a look at the picture and it leads him to make other, more healthy, choices.
- After two months has passed Greg still isn’t consistently going to the gym. Somebody at work makes an offhand remark to him about how “If the boss wasn’t here, you wouldn’t be working as hard as you do, right?”, this gives Greg an idea. What if he got a personal trainer? Someone who held him accountable? Clearly, he isn’t as accountable to himself as he is to others. It stings a little bit having to pay the extra fee every month but now Greg’s definitely more consistent now that he’s got his personal trainer Jimmy, and he’s also got a personalized regime and diet. This leads to quicker and better results. And every time Greg even thinks of reaching for a Snickers bar or not going to the gym he knows that he’ll have to answer to Jimmy.
- Greg is on the brink of accepting that he’s just not going to make any progress. One night he’s having dinner with his parents and his mom says: “You know, you were such a good student. Even when you weren’t interested in the subject you had this routine where you’d come home, eat, then go study for hours. I remember when you had important exams, you’d ask me and your father to take your computer, TV, and video games out of your room while you were at school so that you wouldn’t be tempted by distractions. Maybe that’s what you need now?”. Thanks Mom! Greg realizes that the main issue is that he hasn’t created systems and routines that enable him to make other, more healthy, choices. He understands that he probably won’t make those choices when there are chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard and beer in the fridge. He gives them away to his friends and compiles a list of foods that are OK. He also changes gym to one that’s on the way home from work as well as close to a store so that he can go shopping every Thursday after the gym. This routine enables him to do more of what he wants and less of what he doesn’t.
These are 4 versions of “Greg”, you’ve got to be very honest about which version you are. While it’s great to be completely self motivated with every aspect of your life, reality just ain’t so.
Also, which version you are depends on the situation/job/task/goal.
One Greg does NOT fit all.
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!