Have you ever hit a mental wall? The kind of wall where you slump down in your chair and procrastinate on work for hours by scrolling social media? Where you let things stack up and avoid sorting through them? I recently hit that mental wall and as I got out of it, I was able to bring with me some steps to getting past it.
I started the New Year, of course, with lots of energy and motivation. Woohoo! I was rocking each day, getting all sorts of random things accomplished, feeling inspired for blogging, yada, yada.
But then…(and we all knew this was coming) I hit a wall on January 5 (not even five days into the new year). I got none of my key priorities accomplished, I was feeling tired, and I had a headache (which was from a separate situation, but still didn’t help my overall mood). Some things got done, but only minor goals. Plus, my Internet was being iffy, so I couldn’t really do some of the goals I had hoped to accomplish. I was basically bummed out all day.
And you know what happened next? You can probably guess. Once January 6 came around, same thing happened. My head was feeling a little better (not great) and I was honestly so unmotivated. I did some cleaning work that needed done and worked on a couple key things, but overall I felt like it was a bit of a bust also.
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I knew that if I didn’t stop this new pattern in its tracks, that January 7, 8 and beyond would follow this same lazy, unmotivated, tired energy. And I’m sure you have dealt with this kind of block in your life. You start off great, things go well for a bit, then you trip over something or hit a wall, and everything falls off the rails (I feel like I’m mixing my analogies around, but you get the point).
I was able to find five steps to take to get past that mental wall and back on track.
1. Recognize what’s happening. So you had a bad day. Maybe two. But seriously? 3 or more? You need to recognize that in most (but not all) cases, you probably had a small issue in your mind that derailed you for the rest of the day. Recognize that this is what is happening. Not the world suddenly got harder to deal with, your kids seem to be screaming more or your computer has slowed to a crawl. Recognize that while some things are difficult, most of it all originates in your mind. How you perceive the situation, your motivation and what you’re going to do next. If you don’t see it, you can’t fix it. Then…
2. Take inventory. Sit down, make a list, make a plan, do a brain dump, whatever it takes to get you refocused on what you want to get done, what you need to get done and when those things need to happen. If you don’t know where you are, you can’t tell how far you have to go. Plus, this is the foundational action plan/blueprint that you can use to bounce back from whatever tripped you up in the first place. Next…
3. Take a break. Recognize that you need to take a break, if something big happened. Often, we push and push and push ourselves, but we never take a break or celebrate the small wins with some sort of reward. You could take a break or get something you enjoy. Just a small thing can put a more positive energy into our work and remind us that each small step is leading us towards great wins in the future. After that…
4. Figure out what caused the mental wall in the first place and how to change it. Honestly, the issue for me is having such a detailed plan that if one thing gets shifted around or an emergency pops up, everything gets thrown into the wind. I have to recognize that I need to focus on having key goals (especially the having top 3 goals works incredibly well for me) and then they can fit in around everything else. That way no matter what external factors come into play, I am still accomplishing the critical goals.
5. Understand that this will happen again. Yay! You made it this far and figured out what caused this issue in the first place! Great, now know that you will hit a mental wall at some point again, but from a different direction. That might bring up panic for you, but remember, you have these five steps now. So when walls come up, you can deal with them quicker and be back on your road to greatness in less time than this round. You have tools, so use them in the future and be excited for your goals to come into fruition.
A fantastic book I read that deals with the blocks and walls that come up when we are trying to make things happen is Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way. Highly recommend that book and the harsh-but-true words that he shares to help get you through the blocks and onto a greater level of success and achievement.
How do you deal with the blocks life throws at you? I would love to hear your tips in a comment below!