I was reflecting on the last two months, and quite frankly, many other times when I felt stuck and wasn't moving towards my goals but rather away from them by not taking consistent action; and several things came to mind as the reasons why I was stuck. I then reminded myself of how I get unstuck whether it be in the moment or from a longer duration of time. I decided that now is a good time, if any, to share my 4 keys and I'm hopeful they will help you; so let's dive in.
#1 Clear the Clutter
When I'm in a rut or trying to figure out a way to stop standing still or get unstuck, I think about the things in my environment that are in my way, causing me stress and strife and, GODDAMMIT!, just not helping me move forward. You ever walk into a room in your house and it just stresses you out because it's unorderly or better yet, just down right messy, and you can't stand it? I mean there is stuff everywhere or even just in one spot and it's driving you crazy. You don't feel peace when you look, do you? Let's call it what it is, CLUTTER and it is in your way and impeding your ability to move forward with ease. I liken this to when I'm coaching my clients who want to work on their weight management goals and have a sweet tooth, hence their kitchen cabinets are filled with snacks. Well as you and I both know, someone can't reach their weight goals if the snacks are staring them in their face every time they open the cabinet and it causes them to give in to temptation and eat the cookies! Given this is many of our truths, in general, one of the first actions for my clients is to clear the clutter in their kitchens. Yep, that's right. Get rid of all the foods that will not serve them on their journey to better health including weight management goals. I've been here before and trust me, it works. By removing things in your way, you are setting yourself up for success because you can move forward more easily when things are not in your way.
I remember when I got the news that the owner accepted my offer and I bought my first home almost four years ago. I was so excited but at the same time almost felt overwhelmed and stuck because I had to pack up my apartment in a relatively short amount of time so I could move in more quickly. I was ready to get out of that apartment, you hear me?! But, I didn't know where to begin. I felt stuck. On top of that, I had just learned that I had to move my work office so I had to simultaneously work on that. O.M.G! Can you say "doubling over overwhelmed?!" What was AWESOME, not awful, but AWESOME, at this time was that I had just started my health coaching certification program and one of the things that we covered was clearing the clutter in order to make room or way for something new. This was right on time because I replaced my anxiety from feeling stuck with a plan which I broke down. I determined every part of my apartment that I needed to first clear the clutter which basically meant purge all the crap I no longer needed to make way for new things like new furnishings when I moved into my new home. Hell, who wants to move into a new place with old crap or just junk that is no longer needed?! All you're doing is taking up space unnecessarily with old junk in a new place that you're not going to use. Get rid of it so you can make way for the new or just create more space and begin to minimize the need for unnecessary things. This is exactly what I did. I purged one area at a time and then packed that section and it felt so damn good. Once I purged, I had less to look at and, ultimately, less to pack. I set timeframes by which to unclutter and pack and stayed on track. I was organized and I was executing. I was no longer stuck, I was focused and in control and I got it all done on time with no stress!
Think about goals that you want to accomplish but, in some way, feel stuck at the beginning or along your journey and think about what needs clearing (clutter) that would be helpful to move toward your goals, even if in a small way. It could be as simple as cleaning out your purse or wallet. You see, we sometimes overwhelm ourselves when we want to tackle the whole big picture instead of just focusing on one small part of the picture and tackling that first. It really is that simple. Take a spot in your house, car, office and say, "It's time to clear the clutter to make way for my goals!" Set a plan on how you're going to break down the task to clear the clutter and by when you're going to do it and then get to clearing! When you're done, I want you to notice how you feel in your mind and your body by completing that task/goal. Do you feel freer, more focused, less stressed, more excited to accomplish the next goal?
Some Ideas for Where to Clear the Clutter
Closets (hall and/or bedroom) I also like to organize my clothes by color (fun and easier to coordinate outfits- once you organize, it's done for good! Just put that clothing item back in its proper place. Last weekend, I put away my summer clothes and replaced with my winter ones.)
Kitchen drawers- that pesky junk or utensils drawer
Under the sink cabinets (kitchen and bathrooms)
Shoes bin (I have one for when we come in the house- shoes off- some shoes that are not regularly worn can start to clutter the ones that are normal wears- clear the extras)
Jewelry box (I cleared the clutter on my jewelry earlier this year and bought hanging jewelry organizers. Life is so much better now that I can easily see and decide what I'm going to wear. Organized jewelry by color too!)
Linen closet (I learned the proper way to fold that doesn't take up as much space in my closet)
Home office or work office drawers and file cabinets
New vs. old mail
Stop subscriptions you don't use/not serving your good (make way for something new or to save more by freeing up money- didn't think about that did ya! ;). You can also do this with email by unsubscribing to emails that just clutter your inbox)
Car including glove box and middle console
Guest bedroom if you have "stuff/junk" in it
Drawers of media cabinet
Top of bedroom dresser and/or night stands/tables
#2 Eliminate the Distractions
I HATE, HATE, HATE distractions! Do you? Well you might say, "Now Kenya, it all depends on what kind of distraction it is because some are good." Well I'm talking about distractions that get in your way, including yourself! These are the distractions that stop you from doing what you should be doing in the moment. Things you said you were going to do but then, low and behold, you look back hours, days, weeks, and/or months later and realize...Oh S$%T, I just got bamboozled with XYZ (DISTRACTIONS) and didn't get ABC (Tasks/Goals) done (SMDH)! Happens all the time to us doesn't it? UGH! So annoying! And the worst part is that in the moment, we don't always know we're being bamboozled by the distraction because it just feels so right in the moment hence we get distracted. Like with me, if you read last week's blog, you know that I've been distracted by dating and stopped writing/blogging.
Want a more relatable example? Okay! Here's one for ya. Our DAMN crack-o-phones. Yes! I just made that up. YEP! Our DAMN PHONES! They are one of THE biggest distractions in our lives because like crack, most of us get/are addicted to them from using too much! I will admit that I'm still a recovering addict but here is what I've done over the last 5 years to kick the bad habit/crack:
Turn off all notifications except for the important ones like Ring and Home Security Monitoring apps, for example. Yes that means messaging and social media app notifications. They don't distract me by tempting me to check "what's new/what's up". S$%T! That's not important and can wait. I control the technology from my phone, it doesn't control me. I don't even have my work email notifications on. I'm controlling my time and how I spend it versus getting caught up by something else that is trying to interrupt my plans/goals and hence, take up my important time with stuff that can wait until I choose to engage/check it (email, messages, social media, etc.)
Put the phone on silent and vibrate (or not) when you don't want to be distracted like when you're trying to read, work, study, and go to sleep. Hell, your phone doesn't need to be anywhere near you other than to track the time, if applicable, and I'm sure you can find another solution for that. When you're done doing what you need to do, look at/retrieve your phone to check whatever it is you need/want to check including phone calls you may have missed.
Delete apps that SUCK up your time if you don't have discipline such as games like Candy Crush or whatever the latest game craze is these days. You know I've never played that stupid game (no offense to those who do play it). I don't play because I know I'll get distracted and eventually addicted and not do what I'm supposed to do. When you accomplish your goals for the day, week, month, etc. reward yourself with a play by reloading the game. You know you can reload a deleted app at anytime, right?! The key is to delete it again when you're done until the next reward time, if that is how you choose to reward yourself. I like to play brain trainer/teasers. I deleted Hulu off my phone recently because it was distracting me from doing what I was supposed to be doing during the day like reading, studying, making calls or reading before bed. Streaming on your device is just as much a distraction as being home and streaming on your TV or watching cable. STEP AWAY from that and pick when you will reward yourself by watching/streaming once you've accomplished your tasks/goals. #discipline #structure For me, I focus on watching/streaming on the weekends because I can find and watch anything that came on during the week!
#3 Listen, Watch and/or Read Motivating Material
Now, speaking of watching, listening or reading. My root cause of not staying aligned with my goals that, ultimately, get and keep me stuck is when I stop watching, listening AND reading material that helps me move towards accomplishing my goals versus away from them. I love influencers, successful business owners, and motivational speakers, including coaches like Lisa Nichols (my virtual mentor), Tony Robbins, and Les Brown. Staying connected to them keeps me on track. Sometimes I like to listen to coaching podcasts to keep me posted/informed and watch TedTalks. I love a good motivational speaker!!!!! I can just eat them up! Well, not literally :) My ultimate go to for consistency though is reading. Reading! Reading! Reading! It's something I can do every day, anywhere and anytime. I focus on reading something that helps me develop more knowledge and/or skills like the book I mentioned in last week's blog that I'm currently working to finish The Wisdom of the Whole: Coaching for Joy, Health and Success by Linda Bark PhD RN MCC. I love it because I'm learning a lot including new tools/techniques and incorporating them into my coaching practice. Yes, I'm totally jazzed, motivated and more, importantly, UNSTUCK, in my mind and actions! I also like to treat myself with leisurely/fun reading books. It's not all about enlightenment all the time. I do like to be entertained about 10-25% of the time ;) so I'm also reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, New York Times Best Seller and Noble Prize in Literature. Gotta love that combo! It is a very interesting/enjoyable/fun read!
My one issue is that I have the hardest time reading one book at a time. I guess I'm a tad bit impatient but here's my secret, when I read books, I set a goal of by when I want to finish the book and I divide the number of pages of the book by the number of days by which I want to finish the book and I get how many pages to read a day to reach my goal. It's very motivating because I even have a goal in reading books. The reward for completing a book is being able to open and start a new one. Okay, maybe I'm a little bit of a geek but this is how I enjoy spending part of my time which is very productive, practices self care by providing me nourishment because it's enjoyable, calming, and motivating to me. I read before I go to bed during the week and fit it in during the weekend if not also at bed time. Lately, I've been going to Starbucks to write and read so being in an enjoyable place to work on your goals is also motivating. Your environment matters!
#4 Ask For Help
Of course I had to include this one because it's so obvious but the most obvious is often ignored. Sometimes we wait until we are sick and tired of being sick and tire (stuck) before we ask for help because we want to figure it out on our own. But sometimes the smartest thing we can do without working harder (work smarter) is to ask for help from someone who can really help you get unstuck and moving towards your desired results. Someone like a Life Coach. I'd love to help you get unstuck and you can see that it's pretty normal to be stuck and I've shared it happens to me and more often than I'd like but it's part of all our journeys and I'd love to help you along yours. Decide to have a Free 60-Minute Discovery Consultation Session with me by clicking here: Work With Me | Life Chapters Coaching.
I hope my 4 keys to getting unstuck have been helpful for you to learn. What motivates you? Will you start or continue to read, watch or listen to things that motivate you? Will you eliminate whatever distracts you to get/stay unstuck and stay motivated to accomplish your tasks/goals? Will you clear some clutter to make way for something new? Will you ask for help if you're just not getting to your desired results on your own?
If anything I've shared resonated with you or you have blog topic recommendations, I welcome you to leave a comment below.
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