We’ve grown up with a lot of instant things. Coffee, food, and information. We are used to having it all right now. When we don’t get what we want right now we freak out.
Building your life from scratch requires a certain amount of planning that does not lead to instant results. Sometimes this gets really frustrating. Especially when you feel like you hit a roadblock.
When I have a roadblock moment it is usually because I start obsessing about all the things I need to do. I think about everything from the laundry I need to wash, to the e-mails I should be sending. I feel like if I am not doing something NOW, I am not pushing myself to accomplish my goals, however big or small they might be. Combine that with the fact I live in NYC (the impatient capital of the world), and I am no stranger to having to feeling extremely anxious about my future.
During these moments I work hard to remind myself of three major things:
Slow down and look at the big picture
Obsessing over all the details can raise the anxiety level because a lot of times the details you focus on in this situation are all of the “I can’t,” “I shouldn’t and I wouldn’t” thoughts that can really get in the way of you dreaming big. When I was deciding to move to New York in the Fall of 2008, a lot of my thinking was wrapped up in pondering why moving was a bad idea. (Hello, recession!) But then I had to stop myself and look at the big picture. Sure, I could move to NYC and fail, or I could spend a chunk of time wondering, “What if?” Cementing your goals in big picture form can help you get unstuck when you need to keep the planning going.
Think of the things I have accomplished so far. How did I do it?
So far I have managed to tuck a few accomplishments I am really proud of under my belt. And I’m sure if you give it some thought, you can think of some things you have done that really make you proud. They don’t have to be accomplishments in the traditional sense of the word, just things that make you smile with pride. How did you make it happen? How can you do it again?
Write down a master to-do list just to get it out of my system; set up a deadline to do the top three.
Have you ever taken a sheet of paper, and written down all the things you have in mind that you need “to-do”? No? Try it. Writing them down does not mean you will accomplish them all in one day. What it does mean is now you are free to focus on other things. And if you decide to start tackling some things on your list now, go for it. You just might discover that some of the things on your list are not as important as you hyped them up to be in your head.
Have any ideas for ways to deal with motivation-stealing anxiety? I would love to hear them!
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