Stop Striking the Air and Get to Work

You’re stuck in a rut. Like a mobilized hamster on a wheel, you rise with the sun to reiterate your old, run-down to-do list. After scurrying to check things off, you relax, pat yourself on the shoulder, only to drown in self-loathing and despair.

Been there; done that.

Life in my neck of the woods has been an endless loop, a vicious cycle of paralysis that doesn’t serve my purpose. Plenty of items plotted on my calendar, unfinished goals pampered and esteemed in countless planners, and concepts running wild in my cranium, waiting to burst forth from its caged lair. Innumerable hours spent striking the wind; a life of self-sabotage rendered me unfulfilled, unproductive, and weary.

Digging myself from the mire was a Herculean task but 2020 needed to be a different year. Transformation needed to happen, so like a sledgehammer, I started knocking down walls, barriers that kept me chained, and traversing unchartered areas, miles away from my comfort zone.

You can relate to my struggles, can’t you? The battle seems insurmountable, and you’ve likely fallen flat on your face, too many times to count. Defeated and knocked down you are, but the tides can change.

I am still a work-in-progress, but the ruthless determination to make my blows count is what imbues me with fire. To make the transition, various changes were necessary. Nothing is wrong with making adjustments to attain those goals. A few things are needed, in fact, and I share them with you here.

An Honest Self-Evaluation

Take a hard look at where you are. The first step to any transformation is realizing that change is needed and wanting that change to happen. Be brutally honest with yourself. No sympathy, no hogwash, and no excuses.

You’ve lounged far too long on that couch soaking up the latest episode of your favorite TV show. You’ve procrastinated to the detriment of new opportunities and embraced that “pussyfooting around” attitude like no one’s watching. An honest self- evaluation should determine why your blows are striking the wind.

Ask yourself: why am I not achieving my goals? Are my goals as clear as day? Am I doing anything daily that could equate to self-sabotaging? What are these “things?” Am I stuck in my comfort zone, afraid to try new things and take risks? Am I doing all the wrong things? Do I cower in fear, afraid of what others might think of me? Do I need to be constantly validated by others, waiting for them to give me the green light before proceeding with a decision?

Stay true to you. Only after honestly evaluating those questions and matching them to your situation (not someone else’s) can you begin the process of change.

My blows struck the air because I allowed people’s perception of me to cripple my goals. My avoidance to “doing” was evident in my longing for validation. My brain told me that I was good enough, but my heart bled with feelings of inadequacy and doubt. Once I realized that opinions couldn’t pay bills, and the people around me lived their lives without my approval (or opinion), I started ‘doing me’.

Deep introspection led me to realign my goals and to analyze where in my life strides and ripples could be made.

Your Determination is Nothing Without Passion

Can you tell how passionate young children are about finding suitable answers for their never-ending questions? Why is the sky blue? Where are babies from? Why is this black? Why…? And the list continues.

If we’re determined to find our passion as children are in asking questions, how calculated we’d be in making our blows count! Your passion is your greatest desire. What is it that you want more than anything else?

Whether you’re looking to make your blows count in social interactions with others, your business, secular employment, family life – whatever the situation, you have to hone in on your passion.

It’s one thing to be determined, but yet another to develop determination for the wrong things. When you find what you love, you’re in a better position to stick to it and work hard to breathe life into your ideas.

The truth is, you’ll be jaded without a passion. Even with intrinsic motivation, dissatisfaction will overwhelm your desire to act, and you’ll be left unfulfilled. Doing the things you love won’t be a piece of cake, but it’ll sweeten the journey.

Get Off that Hamster Wheel

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you’ve traversed this road before, but can’t arrive at your destination, how about changing routes?

Don’t be afraid to stir the pot, change the status quo, and jazz up the journey to suit what you’re trying to accomplish. Changing a strategy could mean kicking an unhealthy, self-sabotaging habit to the curb.

My ‘insanity’ was being inconsistent. I could lock on to an effectual strategy, a way of doing something that was fruitful, but my inability to follow-through, or show up made me unproductive. My hamster wheel was giving birth to a pattern of inconsistent behavior of ‘not doing’. Boy was I crazy to think that doing nothing could make my blows count. Foolish!

Don’t fall for this foolery. Maybe you’re consistent with what you do, but is stuck doing the wrong things, things that won’t mature into positive results.

It’s time to change things up. Take note of what you’re currently doing and throw out what doesn’t serve you. This could mean dropping like hot potatoes the people who don’t believe in your journey or goals.

Maybe You Need to Talk to Someone

Inexperience could be your undoing. Maybe you need to talk to someone for guidance. Or, instead of trying to learn everything on your own as I did, why not consult books or solicit assistance from a coach in your specific area of interest?

To get a hang of being productive, it was necessary for me to seek advice from books and individuals in my specific area. Reading Susan Jeffers ‘Feel The Fear And Do it Anyway’ was a game-changer for me. To overcome my fears, I had to embrace the exact thing that infused fear within my bones.

It could be that a lack of motivation, or even depression, is sabotaging your goals. Perhaps it’s best to seek solace in the wisdom of a therapist or someone in a similar profession. Whatever you need to do to get results, do it. We all could use a bit of guidance, especially when we’re novels at what is being done.

Change the Way You Think

“If you do what is easy, your life will be hard. But if you do what is hard, your life will be easy.” – Les Brown, American Motivational Speaker 

Change your mental process. I’m a thinker, which means I could easily spend the entire day ruminating. Don’t get me wrong, ruminating has its perks, if you’re a cow, that is. A cow ruminates to extract nutrients from its food, but when it touches on human psychology, ruminating means harping on negative thoughts and emotions, instead of fostering positive ones.

The mental process I’d develop to solving my problems meant pondering on the negatives for hours, even days. Harping on negative thoughts impeded my judgement and rendered me paralyze, unable to gather the ammunition and army needed to deal with the boulders life threw at me. When I rewired my approach to problems and the negative views tied around my neck, my drive to push toward my goals heightened, and things started looking up.

Whenever your blows fall flat and strike the air instead of its intended target, and the desire to throw in the towels dangle around your neck, recalibrate your brain. Change your thinking process. To keep stabbing at your heart with statements like ‘I can’t do this’, ‘no one will like me’, or I’m not good enough’, is a vivid indication that you won’t get far, or even put out the effort to try

Learn to go to work on yourself. Once your mental faculty is fortified, it’ll take more than an army to tear down the positive results you’ll reap.

Believe me, your goals are just around the corner. There’s no need to continue striking the wind when you can do an honest self-evaluation to determine where change is needed, and give in to the things you’re passionate about. Running on that hamster wheel does no good, either, so get off and talk to someone who might just be the break you need to make better decisions and get your engines started. Sometimes you may even need to change your thought process. Don’t be afraid to ‘think’ differently and, more importantly, conjure-up positive thoughts.

Get those arrows hoisted and aim for that target, not the air.

Written — April 12, 2020

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