Sunday, June 17, 2018

How to get yourself back on track

     Getting stuck. Not a single one of us is exempt. 
     That thought occurred to me the other day when I reached into my pocket and found a crumpled slip of paper with a Chinese fortune. 
     “You’re stuck in a rut.”
    Chinese proverbs appear to be timeless. 
     By the way, for you social media buffs, see what #stuckinarut conversations are trending, 
     Don’t feel defeated. Look on the bright side. 
     Your inner self is telling you, “Shake things up a bit. Get off the treadmill.” 
     Which reminds me, did I ever write a column about the missing hamster that miraculously turned up days later – thank goodness - in the basement during a Mr. Roger’s kiddie television show?  
     Here’s a dose of advice from someone who has lived a few years and been stuck in numerous ruts along the journey. 

     1. Realize that you are stuck.  
     Until you recognize that important fact, you are going nowhere. 
     Often it is your own adult children that question you. 
     Oh, I’ve had that happen, and I sputtered a very unconvincing reply like I’d been caught red-handed in the cookie jar and needed to talk my way out. That was role-reversal in its finest hour. 

     2. Question yourself. 
     What is the worst thing than can happen if you do make a change? 
     Do you have all the right motives? Is this the right timing – if there ever is the right one? 
     Then again, change for change’s sake, is not the best way either. 
      Often, it is wise to stay the course. 
     Whatever way works – lists, a mental debate with yourself – exert the brainpower and get it out in the open. 

     3. Come up with an action plan.
    Successfulleaders usually have a plan before they launch their project. They have it down to the minor details and ask trusted individuals for their opinions.
     Use that same technique. 
     Beware: Don’t overkill, though. You can get stuck in the thinking process and never move forward. You and I know people who never “launch” and only dream big. 

     4. Take it a little at a time. 
    Easy does it, the old saying goes. Please, don’t expect miracles. 
     After all, look how long you were engaged in the first place. Besides, anything worth doing takes a lot of effort. 
     There will be steps forward, and steps backward. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

     5. Thank all those who helped you, and don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back, too.
Share your gratitude in appreciation for someone’s wisdom. They might never know otherwise.
As for yourself, you are smarter than you think, and you deserve a standing ovation. 

6.  Move forward.
     Don’t second-guess yourself. Make the decision and do not look back and wish you hadn’t proceeded with your plan.  
     When I signed the paperwork for retirement - it was an option I had to make in two weeks – 3 of us went on a hike on the Genesee Valley Greenway celebrating and I never revisited my choice.    
     Enjoy the results of your new actions.