Have you ever been excited about a new idea? Then you start the project and thoughts start creeping in like:
“I’m already bored” “This is too complex” “This will never work” “This is too hard” “I’ll fail just like that other thing I tried” “No one will like this” “I don’t have the right equipment” “I don’t have enough money” “My family will criticize it” “My friends will think this is weird.”
Then you try to ignore and fight through these thoughts and you feel exhausted and burnt out with no desire to return to the project.
Or you immediately fold like a wet cardboard box and go straight to Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube, the news, video games, Netflix, online shopping, the food pantry, the vape pen….take your pick of flight responses.
Then you hate yourself. Or the universe hates you. It starts to feel like you’re being pulled by strings.
Here’s the rough truth: You are being pulled by strings.
Your thoughts are the puppets and your body is the puppet master. Your body hates change. This cheeky new idea and it’s ghastly new actions are yanking your body out of homeostasis.
So the body produces pangs in your stomach, chest, throat, jaw or skull.
The brain notices the body throwing a tantrum and produces the above thoughts that hault all action.
Now you’ve successfully placated the crying baby.
And…you’ve failed to get any closer to your dreams. You remain the same distance from them as you were yesterday. As you were a month ago. As you were 2 years ago.
Here’s how to handle these pangs, unstuck your life, and stop wasting precious time:
- Pause. Put down the work for a second and inhale a deep breath.
- Note. Notice which precise part of the body you feel the sensation. Describe the feeling. Give it a name and write it down.
- Set a Timer. Set a short timer for how much more work you’re going to do today. Stop when it goes off.
- Next Step. Write down the next date/time you’ll pick the work back up.
This works because you’re not ignoring your body and hammering away at the work.
That would be like flooring the brake and gas pedal at the same time. Can you smell the burnt rubber?
Of course this leads to project burn out.
Instead you’re acknowledging how your body feels and the thoughts it’s producing.
You’re politely saying, ”Thanks but no thanks.” Or “I feel/hear you, I’m just going to work 7 minutes longer, sound good? Cool.”
Now go chase your dreams tiger.