One of the great things I love about the work that I do is helping people get out of their own way and it’s one of the questions that I get asked a lot is how do you do it? What do I mean by getting out of your own way? Well maybe you have an idea, a goal, an aspiration or dream but you never seem to get going with it or maybe you know that you need to look after yourself more, lose some weight, get fitter – but you just don’t do it, you make excuses or find yourself reaching for the biscuit tin and ignoring your gym bag! No one is physically stopping you from doing any of this stuff, you’re simply not doing it.
Now it may be that there are a whole host of reasons why you aren’t doing it, it could be that other things have come up that you think are more important, you may have talked yourself out of it for other reasons, it may be you don’t think you are important enough, someone else is a priority, or maybe you think that you’ll fail or worry about what other’s might think; but I can guarantee that there will be some thinking that you are doing which is stopping you from doing whatever it is that you want to do (even if you think it is a fact!).
In many ways it is a bit like a bungee rope, we have a great idea or something that we want to do and it feels like we could really achieve it, this is like stretching us out of our comfort zone into somewhere unknown and there’s the rub, because it’s unknown we then start to think about it and it’s this thinking that often pulls us right back into that comfortable space! Why do we do this? Well, we’re not scared of where we are, in fact we’re quite used to it, it’s very comfortable, it may not be where we want to be but at least we know it well, we’re safe, we know the outcome. We don’t know the outcome if we do something different now do we?
So how can you get out of your own way more often?
First of all, recognise that that is what you are doing, we all make excuses or blame other people, but in the vast majority of cases, it’s us, our thinking that is getting in our way. One question to ask yourself when you make up that excuse or reason for not doing it, is ‘do I know this to be absolutely true?’ quite often the answer will be no, and then you’ll know that it’s simply a story that you are telling yourself and you’re getting in your own way.
Secondly, when we realise that our thinking is simply a story that we are telling ourselves, it gives us a bit of distance from it, a space if you like. Ask yourself ‘what is it that I really want?’ If the story or excuse feels strong think about the consequence of believing that story and ask yourself ‘is this what I really want?’ Recognising that we do actually have a choice can be a very empowering thing!
Finally get curious! Think about what would happen if everything went according to plan. How good would that be? Remember none of us know what is going to happen in the future so if you are going to tell yourself a story it feels a lot better when we tell ourselves a positive one!
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