3 Straightforward Ways to Stop Fighting Reality, And Start Working Towards What You Want

Woman in black workout clothes and black boxing gloves hitting a punching bag

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash

Fun fact, I had a completely different post typed up before this one.

I finished the first article then shortly thereafter decided that I hated it (which does sometimes happens, not a big deal).

But then I fell into the very trap that I’m here to warn you about.

My usual modus operandi goes like this — I write something that I feel super good about, then I go back to edit it the next day and think “Actually, this is crap. How did I even think it was good?”. But then I mess with it for a little while, get back into the flow, and make it work out.

Not this time.

This time I spent the next three days spinning in thoughts like “This shouldn’t be so hard. I don’t even want to write this anymore. Nothing is working. This is stupid”, and then I would go eat a snack, make some coffee, and binge cooking shows on tv.

I was fighting the reality of having to write a blog about fighting reality.

I’m a firm believer that life is a balance of emotion, positive and negative, and that we’re not supposed to feel good all the time.

The question is, why do we choose to prolong our time in the negative?

I don’t know if anyone loves their job 100% of the time, but usually we can get back into it and remember why we signed up in the first place. The same holds true for trying to live healthier or manage our finances, we have times we’re in flow and times that we aren’t.

The problem comes when we start fighting our circumstances. Naturally the thoughts I was stuck in, “This shouldn’t be so hard”, and “I don’t want to work on this anymore” are going to make me feel crappy. And when I indulge in those crappy thoughts long enough I end up feeling depressed and resentful.

Have you ever tried being productive when you’re feeling depressed and resentful? (0/10, I don’t recommend it).

It’s easy to blame work, our health, or our finances for our unhappiness. But by blaming our circumstances — something that’s outside ourselves — we give away the power to make ourselves feel better and improve those circumstances.

The way to take back that power is to change the thoughts that are keeping us stuck in that negative loop.

Here’s how to get out of that rut and start moving toward what you want:

Accept where you are now

Let me clarify, I’m not suggesting you paste on a happy thought and force yourself to love your current circumstance (in fact I will never give you that advice). Acknowledging you’re not where you want to be is a sign that you’re ready to start thinking about moving forward and leveling up your life.

What I’m offering is for you to accept you are where you are right now, make it a neutral circumstance — you have a job, you have a body, you have a bank account. Accepting your current circumstance doesn’t mean it will always stay this way.

Instead of spending your time and energy fighting it, spend that same amount of time and energy getting curious about what you might want to do instead.

And just a heads up, when you try to ask your brain what to do next it will automatically answer “I don’t know”.

Never let your brain stop at “I don’t know”.

Instead ask a better question, such as, “What if I do know, what would it look like?”. Or, “If I could make money doing anything at all, what might that be?”.

Understand the benefit of staying stuck

Holding onto the thoughts that are making us unhappy has net benefits.

When we stay stuck in an unhappy situation we become the victim of that situation and we give up the power to change it. When we give up the power to change it we also abdicate responsibility, which saves us from having to take scary actions like trying something we’ve never done before and risking failure or embarrassment.

Our brains are so tricky like that.

They’re designed to keep us safe, and keeping us safe means keeping us comfortable. But being comfortable and being happy are not the same thing.

We’re comfortable with something because it feels familiar, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we enjoy it. This explains why most of us will spend years stuck in a job we don’t like, we may not be happy but the work is familiar and we don’t have to risk failure by trying something new.

How to move forward anyway

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but: You don’t have to have all the answers before you get started.

You can be unsure, you can be scared, and you can even be wrong (okay, chances are you will be wrong, at least a few times), but you can also do it anyway.

None of us were born knowing how to walk, run, drive a car, or write a blog, every one of us had to learn by doing.

For some reason, it was easier when we were kids. Maybe because we didn’t worry so much about failing back then? As adults, when we start thinking of doing something new, our brains are wired to tell us it’s too difficult. It will automatically answer “I don’t know how”.

Never let your brain stop at “I don’t know how”.

The “how” is, you research the thing, and you take the first step. There is no right or wrong answer here, there’s just one decision or another. You pick one thing and you try it. If that doesn’t get you the desired result, then you try something else. It’s really that simple (notice I didn’t say easy).

Once you’ve committed to your decision on how you want to move forward, put your blinders on and go for it. Decide you will try it for at least “x” number of days or weeks (or longer) before you change it up and try something else.

You may not achieve your first goal, but then again, you might. Or what if you end up doing something completely different, something even better than you could imagine?

You may even discover that you’ve become a better person along the way.

Key takeaways:

Accept your current circumstance/reality. You don’t have to like it but you’re wasting time and energy by fighting it.

Understand that staying stuck will seem easier than changing your situation because it requires no risk and no commitment, but you will be miserable in the meantime.

Ask your brain productive questions about what you might want to do next or what the first step might be. Then let your brain surprise you by coming up with answers you never thought you knew. And don’t panic! You don’t have to execute every idea, just go into each one with curiosity.

Once you’ve decided what you want to do, commit to one action that will move you forward. Then enjoy the person you’re evolving into while overcoming obstacles to get you the life you want.

Discover What’s Possible.

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