They say that adversity builds character, life’s valleys help us appreciate its peaks and obstacles can be traction for moving your life forward.
But when you find yourself repeating the same patterns and spinning your wheels—in your relationships, career or with health issues—fear and indecision can immobilize you.
Our brains and nervous system crave routine and the sense of safety repetitive patterns give to us. But when the stress from the negative consequences of bad or unproductive behaviors outweighs the security, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Here are 5 common habits that steer us off track and some tips for getting back on course in your life.
1. You Procrastinate
Putting off exercise, balancing the checkbook or even putting away the dishes, although they seem like little things in the moment, time put off ‘until tomorrow’ has a way of creeping up on us. Delayed order has a cumulative effect that can result in greater chaos down the road.
Get in the habit of doing it now so you can enjoy the fact it’s completed the rest of the day.
2. You Ignore Your Body’s Signals
Pay attention to your energy level. Notice when you choose to tackle difficult or stressful tasks. Are you hungry or tired when you set out to do things that require a high level of concentration, like adding numbers or waiting long periods on hold?
Be sure you are fueled up before getting into a conversation that may lead to conflict, or require negotiation, strict attention to details, or anything else
3. You Don’t Write Down Your Goals
Write out your Wish or To Do list each day. The act of writing your goals shows your brain you are engaged, interested and optimistic about life.
Don’t worry if you can’t get to every item on the list. Simply taking one action toward a goal, like shopping for all the ingredients for that new recipe you want to try out even though you won’t have time to make it the same day, triggers a reward center in your brain.
Just embarking on the goal can feel as satisfying as achieving it.
4. You Set the Bar Too High
Go ahead, think big. But then reduce your goals and ideas into manageable pieces.
You don’t have to conceive, build and execute every project in one fell swoop. Allow yourself time to obtain new information, form different ideas and even let surprising turn of events unfold into the process.
5. You Stop Having Fun
Nothing stops you in your tracks faster than when a good thing turns into a burden. Remember to keep things light.
If you’ve stopped enjoying yourself, give yourself permission to review and rewrite your plans and goals. Maybe you’ll just make one dish for the potluck, or write just one page per day of your thesis instead of whole chapters.
Schedule in regular 'fun' breaks that reset your mind and recharge your creativity.