When recommitting isn't enough

Last week, we talked about reviewing, refreshing, and recommitting to your plans for this year. I know what a great feeling that can bring, and there’s real power in renewed excitement.

But there’s also a danger to it. If you rely solely on the excitement of planning to drive you forward, you’ll find yourself turning to the recommitment process way too often…and get trapped in a cycle of planning that doesn’t really help you move forward (or keeps you from moving forward as quickly as you’d like).

To get where you want to go, you’re going to have to do more than plan. (Sighhhhhhh.) You’re also going to have to take action.

I have lots more to say about taking action, but today, I want to talk about a natural byproduct of taking action: getting stuck.

It’s inevitable—it’s simply part of the creative process, part of being a human. But staying stuck doesn’t have to be.

I think how we deal with getting stuck (and getting unstuck) is a big part of the reason we keep having to turn to that shiny-new feeling of planning to keep ourselves moving forward.

Think about it. How many times have you just sort of…drifted away from an idea or project or goal? You need to make a decision, or you need to do some serious brainstorming, or maybe you realize you need to rework a lot of what you’ve already done. You tell yourself you’ll just take a little break, you’ll keep thinking about it, you need a fresh perspective—but then you never return. You don’t know exactly how to push through, or you feel like it might be too hard, and you just kind of avoid thinking about it until your guilt convinces you it’s too late.

Hmm…not the best way to pursue our dreams and plans, right? I can say for sure that it’s not—because I’ve been there, over and over.

So now that you’re aware of it, what do you do about this problem?

I’ve been thinking about this for years, honestly. Back when I was doing one-on-one content work, I thought a lot about what was holding people back from getting their ideas out there. And a big one was getting stuck while writing.

As I worked with clients, I mapped out a series of ideas that I could offer for getting unstuck (take a break, consider the opposite perspective, and so on). But while I shared them with clients here and there, I never really did anything else with those ideas.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about how much those ideas could help all of us get moving again—and not just with our content.

So after I finished getting Explore ready for you (a new round will start April 1, by the way, and registration is open now!), I felt the pull to go back to those ideas for getting unstuck. So I did. And now...

I’m putting the finishing touches on something I’m calling Stay Unstuck: A Guide to Awareness and Action.

In this guide, I’ll help you do two things:

First, create a well of resources that you can turn to when you feel stuck. These are tactics that you know (or believe) will work, so that when you’re totally stuck, you don’t have to then also spend energy thinking of ways to get unstuck. You have a built-in way to get moving again.

And second, work on building awareness. This part is harder…which means it’s really important (isn’t that always true?!). You want to create a connection in your mind between being stuck and recognizing you're stuck, and then recognizing you're stuck and doing something about it.

I believe that if you can do these two things—create a well of getting-unstuck resources and work to build awareness around when you’re stuck (so you can take action and get moving again)—you’ll find greater ease around completing in-progress creative projects and tackle new creative projects with more confidence and excitement.

In short, I think that if you put some effort toward getting and staying unstuck, you can put your work and your ideas out there in a stronger, more confident way—and make a greater impact on those who need your help.

I’ll be back soon with more and with the finished guide. Until then, start doing a little thinking around where getting stuck has held you back and the ways you currently deal with it. There’s a worksheet in the Connection Library (you can sign up to gain immediate access right here) that can help you look at how you get unstuck; I used this as a jumping-off point for one of the sections in the Guide, so it’s a good place to start.

I’d love to hear when you feel most stuck and how you deal with it (or don’t) if you have a minute to share!

With much love,
Erica


One great way to work on getting unstuck?

Intentional writing. The next round of Explore starts April 1, and registration is open right now! When you sign up, you'll get immediate access to a welcome guide that will help you set a powerful intention for the experience. I'm doing the March round of Explore, and I shared my intention on Instagram if you're curious.

You can always reach out if you have questions, and if you're ready to dive into intentional writing, you can sign up for Explore right here!

Review, refresh, and recommit

I read recently that most people give up on New Year’s resolutions by mid-February.

I don’t think of us—that’s you and me!—as resolution-setters in the traditional sense, but I know many of us spend time in December and January thinking about what we want the coming year to hold, so I think this applies to us as well.

It’s pretty easy to dream big when thinking about all that a new year could hold, but as we move away from the shiny excitement of that planning and dreaming phase, we often start feeling…discouraged or unmotivated.

The more disconnected you feel from your goals, dreams, and plans, the less likely you are to work toward them.

And as you continue to lose steam, you then get discouraged about yourself—which means you’re even more unlikely to do the things necessary to move forward with your dreams and plans.

So I say let’s celebrate being past the mid-February slump by reviewing, refreshing, and recommitting*. Here's how.


Get all your dreams and plans into one place.

Pull out anything you wrote down or mapped out—a list of goals, a word of the year, a plan of how you saw the year unfolding, a quote you put on your wall to inspire you.

Read through it all.

Do this with an open mind and heart. Don’t immediately get discouraged by what hasn’t come true yet or what you haven’t taken action on. Imagine that you’re coaching someone else and you’re simply gathering information about what they have in mind. No judgment; just review.

Write down your victories.

Start from a positive place. Write down all things you’ve done to work toward those dreams so far. Yes, the little things count—even surfing Pinterest for inspiration. Moving in the right direction doesn’t always look like taking major, life-changing steps. Sometimes a good Pinterest session is the right place to start.

Now look at everything honestly.

What’s still relevant? What can you let go of? What needs to be changed? Try to balance that coaching-someone-else-objectively feeling against the whoa-I’m-so-excited-by-all-the-shiny-possibilities feeling. The most realistic and sustainable plans will come somewhere in the middle of those two!

Simplify whatever you can.

At the beginning of the year, I had a clear picture of many things I wanted out of this year. But I got too specific, breaking everything down into a bunch of different categories. I recently went back in and realized that I could simplify everything down into about five areas, which I feel much better about looking at on a regular basis. Too much detail can be overwhelming!

Take some sort of action!

After we had Nathan, I read over and over that sleep begets sleep. Well, I also think action begets action. So take action now. Schedule time to work on some of your plans, or jot down ideas that came up as you were doing this exercise, or do a little research that feels fun—get going and do your best to keep the momentum going!

Repeat this process as often as you need. Signs that it might be time:

  • You start feeling a little fuzzy about your vision.
  • You start feeling unmotivated or uninterested in what you’re working toward.
  • You start spending a lot more time scrolling through Instagram, feeling a little aimless.
  • You start sketching out all new plans…instead of following the ones you’ve already made.


It's never too late in the year to review your dreams, refresh your plan, and recommit to what you want! 

I’d love to hear what comes out of your review, refresh, and recommit session. You can do this!


*Note: I made this into a checklist, which lives in the Connection Library. If you'd like access, just sign up below (you can learn more about all that's inside the library right here!). You'll also get semi-regular emails from me. I'd love to see you on the other side!

How intentional writing can help you


Psst...Guess what? Explore will be open for you next week!

You can learn more here. Then keep an eye on your email!


I think there are three big things you can get out of intentional writing:

  • space (in your mind and in your day)

  • ease (around writing and around pausing to reflect)

  • wisdom (that is, access to your own inner wisdom)

But I know sometimes it’s hard to imagine what those intangible things could do for you.

Intentional writing is a pretty open book. The point is simply to explore whatever's on your mind, and there's no telling what will come out of it. That's a good thing, but can also make intentional writing a little hard to pin down.

Explore brings a bit of focus to the process. In Explore, you’ll be answering a different prompt each day, based on your past, present, and future. But...I can't tell you where those prompts will take you! It'll depend on the intention you create, what's on your mind each day, how the questions make you feel, and so on.

So I can't really tell you what intentional writing will do for you. But what I can do is show you some possibilities!

So here are just a few things I think you could get from intentional writing (whether you choose to do Explore or not), in the three areas I talk and think about most—content, business, and life.


Content:

  • Discover new things you could share with the people you know you can help (stories about your past, dreams for the future, beliefs that you hadn’t quite found a way to express just yet)
  • See connections between some ideas you previously thought were separate things, sparking a post or email that helps your audience understand even more clearly what you offer / know / etc.
  • Realize what your “voice” looks like when you’re not trying or writing for anyone but yourself, and have concrete examples to use as you try to bring more of your real voice into your content
  • Feel less stress around the entire process of writing, and give yourself permission to just get it all out on the page before trying to make it ready for others


Business:

  • Discover (or rediscover) truths about why you started your business in the first place
  • Connect the dots between some ideas that have been floating around in your mind, and use this newfound sense of clarity to do any number of things (create a new offering, stop offering something that doesn’t fit in, work more or less or differently, and so on)
  • Give yourself permission to keep on pausing and digging deeper into your ideas, knowing that a bit of time spent exploring can make a big difference


Life:

  • Shine a light on some things you hadn’t realized you were struggling with (and that you can how begin to work on)
  • Highlight things you’re grateful for
  • Rediscover an old interest that you hadn’t thought about in a while Rediscover an old interest that you hadn’t thought about in a while (reading, painting, hiking, or whatever!)
  • Give yourself permission to spend time on yourself because you see what a difference it makes
  • Gain a habit of pausing each day to reflect on something—whether that’s how your day is going, an idea that came to you on a morning walk, or the way the light is hitting the floor beside your desk


If you’re intrigued, try out Explore Day to Day—my free intentional writing guide. You can download it right now from my free Connection Library*.

Inside, you’ll find a super-simple writing process (no excuses not to get started!), seven prompts to use in situations we all face often (like when you feel distracted, you’re working through a big idea, or you’re trying to come up with content to share), and an easy way to sort through and use what you’ve written.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

And keep an eye on this space (or your email)—Explore will be here next week!

And rumor has it there'll be a discount—but only for a short time!

Until then,
With much love,
Erica

 

*Don't have access to the free Connection Library yet? Sign up below! You'll get instant access along with (fairly) regular emails from me. I'll see you on the other side!