Are you unstoppable?
What does that even mean?
It means when you set out to do something you do it.
When you say you are going to complete something, you complete it.
It means when you run into obstacles you figure out a way to work through it.
It means when you fall you get back up. You know you only have to get up one more time than you fell to be a success.
Lately in some areas I’ve been unstoppable. I’ve done presentations. I’ve got work done on time. I’ve shown up and gotten up and picked up…and in others areas I’ve completely let myself be stopped.
I think that’s pretty normal…at least I like to tell myself I’m normal.
Can you relate to my latest struggle?
It’s probably been a month since I’ve done any physical exercise. My excuses are many – I’ve been busy. I’ve been working on a particularly difficult class that could have kept me in the books every waking minute and still not grasped all the concepts fully. So I let it slide. It was easier to not get up. It was easier to stay inside. After all I was working hard on a lot of other fronts right? I deserve to let myself sleep later. I deserve to catch up on the series I’m watching on Netflix. “I deserve…there’s those words. I deserve what? To not treat my body with respect? To stop looking after my most important asset? To forget my body is a temple?
To add to my lack of exercise, my eating goes out of whack. Sugar, my major downfall (and my first love, I might add) stops being an occasional treat and becomes a daily thing. Worse still it doesn’t stop there, its demands are never satisfied and I end up craving it more and more. I get embarrassed when I think about the amount of garbage I’ve consumed this past week as I’ve studied.
“But,” my inner voice screams, “you’re working hard, you need to pamper yourself.”
Really? I’m working hard so I need to fuel myself with empty calories that leave my body wanting more and more?
Seriously? I’m working hard so I deserve to not take the time to stretch out the cramped up muscles in my back and neck?
That’s the line my inner brat is going to try to use? I’m working hard so I shouldn’t refresh myself with a few minutes outside?
When I put it like that, it seems like craziness right. This isn’t how I want to be. This isn’t how I want to live. This isn’t how I want to treat my body. It has enough issues without me complicating my future by adding problems I can avoid. I want to treat my body with some measure of respect. I want to fuel my activity with life-giving food. That’s the kind of person I want to be – the disciplined, all-grown-up kind of person that stays consistent no matter what. The person who always lives in perfect alignment with her values.
I don’t do that. I’m not that. Sometimes I am, but right now I’m not.
So what do you do when we find ourselves in a slump like this? I know you know the pain or you wouldn’t still be reading! What have you let slide lately? In what area of your life is your inner brat screaming “You deserve…” This happens in all areas of life, whether you want to exercise, eat well, set personal or business goals, we all slump sometimes. Here are a few principles for you, then it’s time to take some action.
Principle #1: Expect Opposition.
If you are changing for the better, expect opposition. Expect it to come from within you. Expect it from outside of you. But expect it. It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s supposed to be there. You are living a great story and no great story is complete without opposition.
Steve Pressfield in The War of Art states that if you set to do something great with your talents you will meet up with what he refers to as “The Resistance.” He notes that if you were to give up your humanitarian efforts to take up a career in tele-marketing you wouldn’t face The Resistance at all. If you decide to invest your time in Netflix instead of exercise, chances are you aren’t going to face a ton of opposition. In fact if there is no opposition to what you set out to do, you should question whether you are on the right path!
Principle #2: Expect that You Can Overcome the Opposition.
Facing that opposition and overcoming it is completely within your grasp. You may have to learn new ways of fighting. You definitely will have to learn new ways of thinking. Don’t be surprised when anxiety or fear shows up. Instead say, “Oh you’re here! I was expecting you! I’m about to do this incredible new thing. Come along!” And like shouldering a heavy purse, pick up that anxiety, that fear, that opposition, that resistance, feel the weight and carry on.
Principle #3: Expect to Fail.
What?!?! Yah. It’s true. Part of being our best is facing an opposition that sometimes kicks our butts. It’s not the end of the world. You learn something and you tackle it again. The goal is improvement not perfection. And as I like to say, “You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.” Pick your awesome self up, grab your heavy bag and head toward the wall again.
Principle #4. Don’t Minimize the Importance of Small Battles.
In the small battles, you learn important skills. Like kittens learn to hunt and fight by wrestling with their litter-mates, the small steps you set out to take will teach you major skills in facing and overcoming opposition. Whatever “this thing” is, whether it’s a simple task like committing to exercise for 5 minutes or something great like producing your life’s Magnum Opus, you can overcome the opposition. The skills you learn in the small battles are the same skills you need in great battles, don’t minimize them, don’t give in. Win the small battles first.
Principle #5. Nail down why you want to do it.
Having a compelling ‘why’ is necessary to provide motivation on the days you no longer want to follow your plan. Why is this important to you? What will happen if you consistently stay inconsistent. Write it down.
Principles #6. You need help.
Just as you can expect opposition, you can expect that you can have help in overcoming that opposition. If shouldering that bag seems too much for you to handle, accept that you need help. We are so individualistic. We want to put self-starter on our resumes. We make heroes out of those that are lone rangers. Well guess what? Lone rangers are crazy rare and the reason we admire them is because they are an oddity. They are not the norm and you don’t need to be a super hero to make changes in your life If you are going to do something that is out of the realm of “easy” for you, you will benefit greatly from help. Someone to cheer you on. Someone who knows your ‘why’ and reminds you of it. Someone invested in your growth. Someone in your court that knows the difference between nagging and encouraging. Think about any accomplished athlete that rise above the competition, they all have a coach invested in their success. For you it can be a friend or a family member but it needs to be someone who truly supports you. But here’s a nasty Newsflash – not all friends and family want you to succeed. In fact many will try to talk you out of it. Many know that if you change, they have to change. Many don’t want you succeed because it makes them look bad for not being able to make their own change. Find support but find the right kind of support. This is where I make a pitch for a coach…but I’ll spare you because I know you are smart enough to see the benefits without having to spell it out for you.
There are many more principles but I’ll save them for another day. For now, you need to grab a piece of paper and do 4 things:
1. Set a goal.
What do you want to do? What is your goal? Whether it is consistent regular exercise, better food choices, commitment to steps in your business or whatever write it down. Be specific. Make it measurable. Set a reasonable time frame to accomplish it.
2. Nail Down your “Why?”
Beside your goal write why it is important to you. Does it relate to something you value? What are the results down the road if you don’t do this?
3. Who is going to help you?
Is there a friend that will check to make sure you are on track? Is there someone you know with success in this area that would be willing to check in with you? Can you find someone in an online group or forum that also is making changes and you can support each other? Do you need to hire a coach to keep you on track?
4. Listen for the excuses and prepare yourself to ignore them.
Yep, if your goal is a good one, it’s sure to be followed by excuses. Be ready for them and if you’re really seriously write them down when the come up and then write your rebuttal.
“I’ll start tomorrow. There are cookies I need to finish up first.” No, if you’re serious, get rid of the cookies or wrap the container in duct tape and put it in the freezer with a “do not open” sign and date.
“I’ll start on Monday…or the first day of the month…or…” Today is the best day to start. Right now.
Your brain is unique and creative. Just watch for all the crazy things it will say and marvel at it’s creativity…but don’t give in to it.
4. Just do it. Get ‘er done.
Contact the person or people who will help you get through your next slump. Have that goal written down and post it somewhere you can see it. Put it on your calendar and honour that commitment. It’s a commitment to yourself. A commitment to a better future. Because really, this is truly what you deserve!
Unstoppable. Not that you never let things stop you but when they do you know how to start again. You know why you are doing what you are doing. You have people who will support you.
Disclaimer: This was written for those of you in a small slump. There are times your slump is actually a “winter” season in your life or if it happening with regularly you perhaps need to dig to the deeper issues. You can find information on both those scenarios here:
I’d love to hear from you. What have you quit on? What do you need to start again? Can I help you be unstoppable?