What to do when you feel BEHIND in life
We’ve all felt it in life: BEHIND! Behind on our goals. Behind other people. Behind the curve.
And the feeling sucks! Let’s be honest.
It can make you feel flat, stuck and sometimes even completely demobilised as in: “I’m so behind on everything, what’s the point in doing anything?”
Oh the amount of times I’ve heard those words come up in my head.
So in this blog, I want to share some super practical ideas to help you get that fire back in your belly and make a case for doing one small thing today.
Focus on what you want
One of the biggest reasons we feel behind is because we start to focus on: (1) How much there is to do, (2) How far ahead other people are or (3) What we don’t want.
And number 3 is the worst! It’s like wishing for something awful to come true!
The key to getting that motivation back for acttttionnnn is to focus on what you do want and why it matters so much.
Questions I like to ask include:
- What am I working towards?
- How do I want my life to change?
- What do I want to be free to do in 12 months time?
- What impact am I trying to have?
- WHAT DO I WANT
Honestly? I find asking those questions and sitting with the answers for even 5 minutes a day (while I enjoy a cuppa!) really helps to lift me out of a funk. It gets me excited about what’s possible. It takes me forward in time, beyond the challenges I’m facing right now. It helps me generate the feelings and emotions I want in life. And from that place, I can take better, more inspired action.
Try this today!
Write down how far you’ve come
Oh how harsh we are on ourselves! Beating ourselves up for what could have been. Berating ourselves for what we haven’t done. Calculating what we’ve missed out on because of inaction or emergencies out of our control.
It hurts so much to do this and it can be so damaging!
If a 10 year old kid came to me and said “Lisa, Lisa I’m so nervous about my summer project. I need to do X, Y and Z, but I’m stuck…I don’t know how to get started and I’m scared I’m going to fail…what should I do?”
I WOULD NOT REPLY:
“Jonny…You NEVER finish your projects!! I’m not surprised you’re stuck because you’re rubbish. What’s the point? Jonny – LOOK: have you seen how far ahead the other kids are? You are literally so far behind there is no hope for you. I would just give up now!”.
Can you see how hurtful that would be? How demotivating? How damaging? And yet we say things like this to ourselves ALL THE FRICKIN’ TIME!!
Instead, I might say something like this:
“Hey Jonny, so cool. That sounds like a fun challenge! Well don’t worry – you’ve faced challenges and tough projects before, haven’t you? And you’ve always made it through. Just think of all the new things you’re going to learn in order to finish this project. It might feel like a mountain now but we all climb a mountain in the same way: One step at a time. So what’s first: What’s the first small step we can take together today?”
How you talk to yourself matters. What you focus on matters.
When faced with a new project or challenge, don’t think about how far you have to go. OUCH!! Instead, think about how far you’ve already come and even write down what you’ve already achieved.
This might be tough times you’ve overcome before.
It might be skills you’ve developed that can help.
It might be progress you’ve made that you can build on.
Be specific not generic
I always remember someone saying to Alice in a training session: “Thinking about your business is always more taxing than working on your business”.
I mean we humans do have a skill for building up problems in our mind! But have you ever found that when you settled down to do it; to face the challenge that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought?
People say “I’m stressed”, “I’m depressed”, “I’m stuck” and they take that emotion and, like a paintbrush, they wash it allll over their entire life.
I like to ask: What in particular is causing you stress in this moment? Can you outline the problem specifically?
When you isolate the problem you can begin looking into options.
I like to remind people: “You’re not depressed. You’re experience feelings of depression in this moment and that can change in an instant. What normally gives you energy? What would make you smile today? What one small change would you need to experience a small shift? What can you do today to feel just 1% better?”
When you realise you ‘are not’ the emotion, you’re just feeling it, you can see it’s possible to feel another emotion. Because ’emotions’ are not you.
I like to say: “Stuck? Cool, did you know synonyms of that word are fixed, fastened, attached, glued, pinned? Let’s use another word: What do you need in order to become unglued? What attachment do you need to let go of to move forward today? What specifically is pinning you down and how can we lift it off you?
When you change the words, it changes your whole perspective!
Cut out negative influences
Why, when we’re feeling down, do we take to scrolling on social media, watching shit on the TV and meeting up with that one naughty friend who’s going to get us in trouble?
If you’re going to ‘waste your day’, waste it well!!
Replace the news with a trip to the cinema. You might as well enjoy the down time haha.
Replace a big night out with a family bowling trip.
Don’t scroll on social media – search out ‘motivational video’ on YouTube, try to find five cool quotes on Instagram by searching #quoteoftheday.
I always remember Gabbie Bernstein saying “You can’t ‘stop’ a habit that no longer serves you, you must replace it with one that does!”.
So update: Don’t try to ‘cut out’ a negative influence…replace it with a positive one. You’ll soon feel that boost.
Sometimes we get so lost in our own thoughts, we need nothing more than something realllly physical to bring us back down to earth.
Putting your feet in the sand or grass.
A nice big pub lunch.
Get out of your head and back into your body.
And if all else fails…DRAMATICALLY extend your timelines
If you said you were going to lose the weight by Christmas? Make is Christmas 2019 and let it be a longer, more consistent, less painful journey.
If you said you wanted to quit your job next month, why not make it next quarter and give yourself more time to line things up for when you leave?
If you said you’d love to write a book this year? Why not say by Summer 2019?
I know this might go against the whole ‘hustle’, ‘push it’ ‘grind’ mentality. But hey, wouldn’t it feel better to make just a little progress today, and tomorrow, and the next day rather than hold yourself to deadlines that are so unrealistic they’re demobilising.
Be kind to yourself today.
And do one small thing.
It will get you back on the path and momentum will build from there.
A final word…
Can I add one more thing? If you’re going through a particular intense period of change – maybe you’re changing something big in your life, maybe you’re pursuing a major goal, maybe you’re getting your business off the ground – it’s important not to get caught up in the hype!
It’s quite easy to change your diet for a week.
It’s quite easy to make your first vlog.
It’s quite easy to win your first customer.
And the high you get from that (fairly) easy win is disproportionately high. IT FEELS INCREDIBLE!!!
“Wahoooo. I frickin’ rock. I’m a CHAMPION!! People make it look so hard but look at me winning!!!”
(Haha, probably something I’ve thought before, ahem, don’t judge.)
Energy and anticipation will get you started but DISCIPLINE will help you finish.
Don’t focus exclusively on the wins or the highs and certainly don’t rely on them – you’ll never make it. Focus on who you’re becoming. Focus on how you keep getting back up. Focus on the resilience you’re building. Focus on consistent practices. Focus on your morning rituals. Focus on what helps you perform. Focus on how much you can already teach!
It can take years to change your life or build your business. So give yourself time. You’ve got time.
You’re not behind. You’re on the journey. This is it my friend. Welcome to the grind. Let’s master it so we can lead the way for others.