It's January 2nd: the day all those New Years Resolutions get put to the test. I know because I just started Whole 30 this morning and went on a run for my upcoming half marathon. Ambitious I know, but a girl's gotta do what she sets her mind to do. Some of us are feeling motivated, though others may be dragging their feet into 2018 desperately looking for some forward momentum.
Not going to lie, I am a pretty motivated person. I'm a doer and am constantly self talking myself into the next risk or challenge. But there are definitely times I am less motivated. I'm currently coming out of one of those seasons.
I'm also a big believer in the concept of grace. A downside to being driven by nature is an over-critical view of self (at least in my case). If I'm not careful, I start to let shame run the show instead of allowing myself the grace to be exactly where I am.
So there has to be a middle ground. There is absolutely grace to be where you are RIGHT NOW, no matter how you got there or how long you've been there. But there is also grace to move forward. Though a lot of circumstances are out of our control, there are several things you can do NOW that are IN your control.
Below you'll find a few suggestions to help you create some momentum in your life. I hope these tools help you to feel less stuck, more motivated, and filled with grace to move forward to the next step.
1. Do something physical.
One of the best spiritual practices I learned in college was to move my body. As a freshman in college, I put on the infamous "freshmen 15" and by the time I was a junior in college, I wondered what had happened to my body. I transferred schools that year and decided to train for a half marathon. The experience of doing something physical with my body prompted transformation in so many areas in my life. Since then, I've tried to do something physical whenever I'm on the upswing of transition. I give myself space to be and then challenge myself physically so that my mind, spirit, emotions, ect have a chance to catch up. It gives me clarity mentally and helps me feel like I'm making steps forward.
2. Practice gratitude daily.
The concept of gratitude is nothing new, but I believe it helps us engage the present moment with fresh eyes. Whenever we pause to identify the specific things we are thankful for, our perspective widens and we step back for a moment to see the full picture. Yes, I may feel stuck and depressed in this moment, but I wasn't always here. Being thankful takes me eyes off myself and gives me the gift of hope to look forward.
3. Try something new.
Whether you go out to a new restaurant, visit a park you've always wanted to go to, or attend a new workout class, trying something new helps us get out of our normal routine. When I try something new, it helps me combat the feeling of being stuck, because I realize I have the power to change things for myself. I can bake a new recipe, try a new writing prompt, or take a new route on my morning run. Whatever you try, adding something new to your life can help create momentum and remind us we have the ability to change if we set our minds to it.
4. Check in with yourself regularly.
I find it helpful to set a couple mile markers throughout the year to reevaluate where I'm at and where I want to go. For me, this means I take two personal retreats a year. I try to practice healthy self-awareness so that I can take advantage of the time before me, instead of trying to escape and avoid my current reality. Even if you're not meeting your goals, setting aside time to check in with yourself is so helpful so you can get where you want to go. If you're interested in taking a personal retreat, you can visit one of my previous blog posts. I should also mention that checking in means having the courage to be brutally honest with yourself - not to stir up shame, but empower you to move through it. You can't move on from what you don't admit.
5. Be conscious of what you're putting in your body.
I don't know about you, but around the holidays I always let myself splurge a little bit extra. But I've realized the negative effects sugar and other foods can have on my body when I fail to monitor my intake. Try cutting something out or just making a few healthy choices a day to see if you can create some positive momentum for your body (and your mind). It's no secret that sugar, along with other foods, can impair our thinking and our body's processes. I'm a bit fan of eating what your body craves, but I also believe in listening to my body. Sometimes my body is craving water instead of more salted popcorn, I just have to pause and listen.
None of these ideas are rocket science; in fact, most are very simple. However, I've experienced significant breakthrough by applying these practices to my daily life. Wherever you find yourself at the start of the new year, I pray you give yourself grace and also think through what steps you can make today to start moving forward. Let us be people who keep showing up this year, even when we feel stuck.