Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting Unstuck

So many people know what they should do but can't motivate themselves to get started.

Getting unstuck is alchemy, an often irrational combination of one or more of these:
  • Some confidence-building wins, even if in a seemingly irrelevant arena. For example, an IT guy who liked his field but couldn't make himself look for a job got motivated by winning a ping-pong tournament, writing a song he liked, and getting a second date from a woman he liked.
  • Hitting rock bottom. Another client hated his job for years but did nothing to try to find a better one. Then he got fired and immediately started looking. Other people have to fall even further--One client became homeless and was drinking a half bottle of vodka every night. Only then, utterly sick of herself, she started to look for a job.
  • Rigidly scheduling the task. Let's say the task would probably require 10 sessions of work. Think of it as though it were ten sessions of a class--Chances are, you'd go to all (well most) of the ten sessions. Love yourself enough to keep those appointments with yourself.
  • Having a cheerleader to encourage you on.
  • Having a slavedriver, yelling and guilt-tripping you into action.
  • Going all the way: Instead of tackling the task as an add-on, in drips and drabs, totally immerse yourself in it. When it was time for me to start writing one of my books, I moved out of my house for a week. I rented a cabin in Bolinas, just took my laptop (and my portable music synthesizer for recreation), and wrote for eight hours a day for a week. At that point, I was so into writing the book that it wasn't hard for me to keep writing when I got home.
  • Someone telling you "You can't" or "You're a loser!" Your anger fuels you to prove them wrong.
  • Prayer. Many people are motivated by the thought that a higher power is watching over them.
  • Stress reduction: via exercise, staying in the moment, minimizing stress-causing activities or interaction with stress-causing people.
  • Adversity: for example, an illness, a car accident, losing a loved one
  • Affirmations: Some experts believe that repeating positive affirmations changes the brain's neuronal structure, leading to more positive behavior.
  • Falling in love.
Okay, what's going to get YOU unstuck?


Grace said...

You can get unstuck by, as someone once said, "throwing your hat over the fence." Create an environment where you have no choice but to act.
Sometimes you can do this by simply telling others your plans.
My cousin once told me that he had a novel that he really wanted to write. When I last saw him, I asked him how his novel was coming. His response: "Damn. I should never have told you. Now I actually have to write it."

F.S. said...

A change of venue often works for me. I have a nice home office, but for the last couple of days I've worked down in the kitchen and have been super-productive. The library also works well for me. Coffee shops don't -- too many distractions -- but I know other people who think they're great. I guess one has to experiment a bit to find what works for them.


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