Confidence is a wonderful attribute. Being clear with your plans and aspirations is also a good thing. In the midst of living life and serving God, there are seasons of “not quite knowing.” This does not mean that you have lost faith, or you feel hopeless, or that you are backslidden. What it means is that you are unsure of the next step you are to take. For many, we live with the constant bombardment of choices. There seem to be many ways to go and many different avenues to arrive at our destination. What do you do when you seem unsure or even ‘stuck’?
Make sure that you are not falling victim to “perfectionism.” Here is the dictionary definition of the word: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” Everything does not have to be perfect, most things just need to be done. Certainly, I am not attempting to tell you to do less than your best, but making perfection your goal will be a prescription for major disappointment. Sometimes people feel stuck because everything was not done perfectly. If you set that as your goal you will go through life sorely disappointed. Attempt always to do your best and seek to be constantly getting better. Never set for your goal: perfection. Life happens, you will miss a day at the gym, you will eat some cake at a Birthday party, you will miss work because of illness and so on. Do not beat yourself up, as much as possible get yourself back on track and realize you are human and every day is not perfect. Get over it and get back on track.
Another thing that causes us to be stuck is the fact that we have not determined the next steps. Goal-setting is a good exercise to stretch us and capture our imagination. In order to get from where we are today to where we desire to go there is a large gap! What are the ways we will identify and implement to go from where we are today to our goal? What steps will begin moving me toward my desired goal? The longest journey always begins with a single step. You will get stuck easily if you have not thought out and written down a plan to move you toward your goal. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight and get healthy, you may have identified the amount of weight you would like to lose. Start with small but important steps that can be worked into your daily schedule, and that will not overwhelm you and cause you to quit! Let me give you an example: 1. Put your workout clothes out the night before. 2. Declare that you will go to the gym for fifteen minutes each day for five days a week. 3. You will get on the treadmill. 4. You will eat four servings of fruits and vegetables this week. 5. You will write your food intake in a journal. You could keep going but it may start to get overwhelming. At the beginning, you want the new habits you are trying to start to be easy and not overwhelming. As you reflect on how you are doing you will begin to add to the tasks or lengthen the tasks. For instance, after you are up and already at the gym you will say, why not add something else to my exercise regime since I am already here? Write down your next steps. Do not go into any day without knowing what action however small you are, going to take to move you toward your long-term goal. This can be done with any goal.
Another factor in being stuck can be the fact that you have set too many goals and the result is counterproductive. Concentrate on 2 or 3 major goals and certainly never more than 5. In order to achieve a goal, you will have to be focused. One cannot focus on a lot of items at one time. If you do, the result will be that sensation of being absolutely, totally, overwhelmed. When we start to set goals we have so many things we would like to do or accomplish that we can fill a page or two with the things that need to be done. Look at the goals or potential goals that you wrote down. Ask yourself what 2-3 things, if I were to accomplish them, would make the most difference in my life? Through this exercise, you will be able to narrow your list down to the few things you need to attend to over the next weeks or months. Start with things that will impact the lives of you and your family: spiritually, financially, socially, professionally, relationally, and physically.
Doing something is always the best choice! Start small and watch how over time a series of little actions create a big impact.