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Feeling Stuck? 10 Steps from “The Now You” to “The New You”
By Dr. Ben Michaelis, Ph.D.
Author of YOUR NEXT BIG THING: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy
Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling unsure of where your day–or your life–is going? You wonder what else might be out there. You know you deserve more fulfillment from your life. You think to yourself: What’s next?
We’ve all felt that way at one point or another, but have you ever considered it to be your opportunity to create a life that will leave you more fulfilled? Attaining that life you desire is an exhilarating prospect. But where do you start?
Here are ten practical steps that will help you to better know your true self and look forward without fear–so you can achieve joy, passion, and purpose.
Step 1. Know Yourself. Take stock of where you are in your life and consider how you got here. Start by writing out the roles you play in your life (i.e., lawyer, mother, caretaker), your values (i.e., independence, love, security), and what brings you joy. You must know who you are before you can know where you want to go.
Step 2. Imagine Yourself. Picture a new horizon in your mind. Write down what you want your life to be like in six months and one year.
Step 3. Discover Your Purpose. Take your core values from step #1 and use them to develop a personal Statement of Purpose. Write this statement down. Refer to it often to guide your actions.
Step 4. Face Your Inner Critic. As you envision a new life for yourself, the voice inside of you that wants to hold you back will undoubtedly emerge. Remind yourself that this is a voice from your past, not your present or future. Accept that the voice is a part of you, but it is not all of you.
Step 5. Take Action. Give yourself specific and manageable (read: small) tasks every day to bring you further on your journey. Check these tasks off or cross them off a list. It will remind you that you are capable of action and that you have the capacity to change.
Step 6. Embrace Your Process. Envision your path as a process. Do not fear or avoid obstacles. Creatively approaching each one is actually essential for your journey.
Step 7. Defeat Procrastination and Perfectionism. Set a timetable for your actions and share this with those closest to you. When and if the actions you take don’t turn out exactly as you hope, do not despair. Recognize that in nature nothing is “perfect.” Perfectionism is a disease that comes from your upbringing. It holds you back rather than pushes you forward.
Step 8. Release Your Inner Hero. Spend time thinking about what is different and special about you. This is not about being arrogant. It is about being confident. Confidence is the key to putting you back at the center of your own life and moving forward.
Step 9. Live in the Now. Avoid spending time anchoring to the past or spinning about uncertain and unknowable future. Ground your thinking, feelings, and actions in the present. This is where you need to be in order to take action on your life.
Step 10. Share Yourself. As begin to take action towards your new life, you will naturally begin to connect your process with the journeys of other people. Think about the ways you can share yourself with those around you.
As you go through these steps, your vision for yourself will widen. You will see a path to a new future and take decisive action to make that vision a reality. These steps are the key to getting you from running in place to moving with purpose toward your next big thing.
Dr. Ben Michaelis is a clinical psychologist with an expertise in blending play, and creativity with mental health. Dr. Michaelis graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University (Columbia College) in 1995. He earned his Master’s degree from New York University in 2001 and received his PhD in 2004, also from NYU. Dr. Michaelis has been in private practice in New York City since 2005. Since that time, he has authored numerous scholarly articles and served on the faculty of Lenox Hill Hospital. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University. His writing has been featured on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.com, as well as many other popular websites and magazines. Dr. Michaelis has been a guest expert on various radio and nationally syndicated television programs. His first book, YOUR NEXT BIG THING:10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy, was released in December 2012.