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5 Steps To Getting Out Of Your Own Way

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Have you ever felt like you get in your own way? That, when working toward your goals, your path always follows the frustrating sequence of one step forward, two steps back?

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We all get in our own way at times, particularly when it comes to the areas in life that we struggle with the most. Getting in your own way can make it difficult to take the actions that will improve your situation.

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For example, if you struggle with your weight, you likely get in your own way by not exercising regularly or eating well. If saving money is the problem, you likely have adopted a mindset that isn’t conducive to creating long term wealth.

Whatever your struggle is, getting in your own way suggests that you may not have a healthy relationship with yourself in that area of your life. As such, taking action toward the goals that you set will feel difficult (at times, impossible), and you’ll often struggle to find the motivation necessary to get things done.

Below you’ll find five suggestions for getting out of your own way. Commit to improving in one of these areas, and you will likely upgrade the others as well. Self-growth is a whole process, greater than the sum of its parts, and improvement in one area will lead to transformation in another.

1. Eliminate negative self-talk.

 You’ve probably heard before that negative self-talk can inhibit your ability to achieve a goal. There are many reasons this is true, but here’s one of the most important.

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All human behaviour is the result of you choosing to either avoid pain or seek out pleasure. Think about any behaviour you engage in regularly, and you likely can deduce which one it is for you.

It’s important you understand, then, that negative self-talk is painful on a level that only we can create for ourselves. When you demand perfection, or when you berate yourself because things didn’t go perfectly or how you imagined they would, your brain associates these negative feelings with your experience.

This could be why you avoid the activity that will help you reach your goals. Show more compassion to yourself and remember that achievement is a journey. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you will experience failure at some point, but failure is necessary for growth and, as such, should be embraced rather than feared.

2. Take a new approach to stop doing things you know you shouldn’t be doing.

Have you ever found yourself doing the thing you had, just moments ago, said you wouldn’t do? Most of us are all-too familiar with this scenario.

If that’s the case, I encourage you to flip your own script and take control in another manner. Instead of focusing on the things you shouldn’t be doing, focus on the things you should. Begin referring to these things as your “non-negotiables.”

For example, if your goal is to build a business, your non-negotiables each day might be:

  1. Cold call or cold email five prospective clients
  2. Spend one hour developing or growing your business
  3. Write one new blog post for your social media outlets

In this scenario, you take the focus off the minutiae that you sometimes get distracted by or caught up in — checking social media, answering emails, improving your website, etc. — and place it instead on getting your non-negotiables, the things you SHOULD be doing, done first. Whatever happens after that happens. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you moved the needle and advanced yourself on that day.

Apply this to any area of your life and watch how this shift in focus destroys your tendency to do exactly what you think you shouldn’t.

3. Wisely choose the people in your life that you spend time with and take advice from.  

It’s a simple solution, but if you feel like you are getting in your own way, take a look at the people closest to you. If you find that your social circle enables you to make bad choices or live in a manner that is out of alignment with the vision you have for your life, you need to change that. Going out several nights a week or doing things that violate your values or beliefs for the sake of convenience is not doing you any favours.

While I’m not suggesting that you dramatically delete anyone from your phone who isn’t helping you reach your goals, I do recommend you start consciously limiting the time you spend around them. As with suggestion #2, your goal is to achieve peace of mind. What level of exposure to your friends and family will give you peace of mind and keep you effective at the same time?

Like it or not, the people that are closest to us influence our moods, beliefs, and actions. The people around you can help you reach your goals or can be a major reason why you never get there. Only you can decide what is right for you. Just remember, when it doesn’t feel right, it’s time to make a change.

4. Negatively perceiving your past failures.

 A surefire manner of getting in your own way is to believe that the future will be just like the past. When you think about it, it’s kind of a dumb belief. If we were all doomed to repeat our mistakes, why would we ever bother trying to improve ourselves?

Deep down, you know it might be similar. There’s a good chance you’ll struggle with the same one or two things that beat you up last time. But the outcome can always change. Achievers understand that failure is a form of feedback. When you fail, you’ve learned another way that isn’t going to help you reach your goals, and that it’s time to move on and try something else.

Make it a goal to give yourself a clean slate for your new journey every time you start something new. Stop associating past failures with new ventures. If anything, look deeply into what went awry last time and seek solutions that are specific to those problems before you get started again.

5. Getting ‘unstuck’ from the cycle of stress and self-doubt.

This last one is for people who have chronically struggled with something — weight loss, making money, breaking bad habits, improving their personal lives, etc. If it’s been years and you still haven’t gotten results no matter how hard you’ve tried, you might understand what it’s like to feel like you’re in a “cycle” of failure.

  Typically, the cycle goes like this:

  1. Something external motivates you to get started again.
  2. You make a grand plan that you’re sure is going to be the solution to your problems.
  3. Day 1 comes, and you’re confident in your abilities and excited to get moving.
  4. Day 3 hits, and you’re not as confident as you were when it started. Things get hard.
  5. Day 4 comes, you fall off the wagon, slip up, or don’t take any action.
  6. Days 5-7 are typically spent feeling depressed, upset, or stressed. For some, they are also the times when you binge.

 Wash, rinse, repeat. Three to four weeks go by, and you start the cycle all over again.

The solution here is this: Break your pattern by taking bold action toward your outcome. What could you do that would prevent you from turning back? Book a spot at a workshop? Throw out all the junk food in your pantry? If excuses were not allowed, what would that action be? Leverage that understanding and do all that you can do make it happen.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you realize that the old cycle you were stuck in no longer seems as inevitable.

Final Thoughts

While getting out of your own way can’t be solved overnight, it can be eradicated over time if you strive for small advancements in the areas you struggle most. Consider it a win if you catch yourself before falling into old habits even once.

Be objective with your experiences and don’t get upset, even if you’ve never seen anything other than nominal success followed by failure. The truth is, you are entirely more capable at this point than you’ve ever been before because of what you’ve been through. With that in mind, strive for continual 1% improvements each day. You’ll be surprised how quickly the transformation comes.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to have the difficult conversation with yourself that will serve as the catalyst for progress. Don’t be afraid to pull up the hood and look for the problems. For all of us, that’s the start of getting out of our own way.

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Consciousness

How To Have Your Own Personal Zen Master Around Anytime You Descend Into Stress

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

When you look at a true spiritual master, guru or yogi, one of the most remarkable things you might notice is that they don’t seem to experience stress. You might conclude that they arrive at this state through meditation, fasting, prayer, or other such disciplines. This is only partly true. Those spiritual practices can certainly contribute to stress reduction, but their ultimate effect is to support the maintenance of ONE KEY THOUGHT that spiritual masters hold in their minds (and bodies) with unfailing certainty.

Granted, this key thought is not easy to grasp, hold as truth, and then deeply embody within yourself. Throughout history spiritual masters have done their darndest to articulate it for those hoping for inner peace and harmony. The limitations of language, of all human languages, is woefully revealed in these attempts. But if you are ready, open, and genuinely seeking–an ‘aspirant’ as they say in yoga–then it becomes possible for a certain expression or turn of phrase to begin to activate your deeper inner knowledge of the state some call samadhi, enlightenment, Christ consciousness, or what I like to simply term presence. Are you ready?

Stress-Free Perception

In a true state of presence it is impossible to feel stress. Impossible. That is because stress is predicated on our seeing the world as dualistic. In a state of presence we embody a perception of singularity. The apperception of the world as whole, as unified, is truth unmasked.

From a perception of unity there is no past or future, there is only now. Note that human experience is only ever experienced through the now, past experiences were only ever experienced in the now, and the same will hold for our future experiences. Having the experience of presence helps us get a glimpse that time itself is a fabrication, a ‘program’ that helps our intentionally limited minds have a particularly lush and interesting kind of experience in the physical world.

How We Create Stress

But let’s get back to our everyday time-bound consciousness. For those of you who earnestly seek to dissolve your stress, and are open and willing to let go of anything your mind is clinging to in order to achieve it, I will try to explain the one key thought.

The experience of stress is the experience of the tension or dissonance between two things: how your world IS in any moment, and how you think it SHOULD BE. You create stress by carrying in your mind an image of how something in the NOW—yourself and others, the presence or absence of things, the weather—is NOT OK as it is. That puts you into a self-created adversarial relationship with the only point of contact you have with life.

Fortunately, your emotions alert you to this crazy confabulation, by making you aware of internal discomfort you label as STRESS. This STRESS is nothing more than an urgent signal from your higher intelligence to return to presence. But in a state of stress how can you possibly return to presence?

The One Key Thought Into Presence

You need to get into the habit of using your awareness of your own stress as a trigger to align yourself with this one key thought: everything is perfect as it is. It’s like having your own personal Zen master around any time you descend into stress asking you the well-worn koan, ‘What, in this moment, is lacking?’

It works. Trust me.

But it only works to the extent that you are willing to let go of the past (and future), along with all your judgments, grievances, ‘shoulds’, hopes, and fears that arise out of a dualistic perception. If you are truly willing and able to deeply hold this one key thought as ULTIMATE truth, above ALL other beliefs and opinions, you will start to feel it working.

Spiritual Context

If you have doubts about this one key thought representing ultimate truth, allow me to provide the spiritual context I work with in which the statement makes perfect sense.

A common thread at the heart of all great spiritual traditions is that we are all immortal souls who are currently having a ‘human’ experience. The circumstances of this life experience were chosen by us to facilitate our soul’s evolution. So any time you feel stress, you can see it as the universe prodding you to take an evolutionary step. That evolutionary step is to see the perfection in everything, if only for a moment at first. If you’re game, these brief moments of clarity add up quickly to a more permanent step up.

An Example

Let’s say for example you’re stuck in traffic, and realize you are going to be late for a meeting. Maybe it’s even your ‘fault’, because you left late or didn’t check your GPS. If you’re feeling stressed about it, realize it’s because things are not how your mind thinks they should be. Your mind thinks you ‘should’ be at the meeting on time–to get some important information, perhaps, or because your reputation as a reliable person is at stake, and you will be judged by others at the meeting in a way that may impact your future success.

Now, you can continue to be stressed in that moment (and subsequently for the entire drive to the office), or you can take ALL that very reasonable blather of ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’, roll it up in a ball, and drop it into your faux-ashtray. You will be able to do this if you reach for presence, if you remind yourself that there is only the present moment, and in the present moment you can choose to experience stress, or choose to experience peace. If you choose to be fully present you accept the present moment exactly as it is, realize there is nothing you can DO in that moment to remedy the so-called problem, and take the evolutionary step of seeing everything as perfect in this so-called ‘stressful’ moment. There is no problem now–and you will deal with the ‘problem’ when the ‘problem’ arises. You are simply in a car driving. You will then start to feel relief, and gain confidence that if you maintain presence through your arrival to the office, your late entry into the meeting, and your conversations afterwards, the ‘problem’ will never arise and you will literally breeze through the whole experience. You will be ‘ok’ with whatever happens.

Common Fears About Presence

FEAR: If I go into presence I will lose my mind.

Maybe-but only in a good way. Lol. Seriously, presence is not losing one’s mind, it is aligning one’s mind properly, with the timeless ‘true mind’ playing the role of master and the time-bound ‘false mind’ (ego) playing the role of servant, allowing the true mind to interface as it pleases with the time-governed physical world.

FEAR: If I go into presence I will stop trying to make my life better.

Perhaps. After all, what is better than presence, where everything is perfect? But there is more to it. You may be surprised to hear that a state of presence does not thwart action, it only thwarts reaction, fear-based, ego-sponsored drives to alleviate doubt, fear, insecurity, stress. In a state of presence the true mind decides on action, the best action for the situation, which is then carried out in perfect flow with the environment.

FEAR: It’s too hard to do and I’ll ultimately fail.

Failure is impossible. Patience, though, is required. The evolution of consciousness might seem like waves rising and falling on the shore, but the high water marks accumulate and eventually produce a stable higher state of awareness. Remembering and forgetting presence is natural, but with persistence it is remembered more often, maintained for a longer period of time, and eventually becomes part of your normal, base perception. With this as your base perception, then, it is truly possible for you to experience a life free of stress.

 

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

Are We Well Adjusted To A Profoundly Sick Society?

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Following up on a classic quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti, what does it mean to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society?

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

Continue Reading

Consciousness

How To Ground Yourself: A Simple Yet Powerful Technique

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Mental health challenges, depression and even physical illness, are all on the rise. All three are believed by emerging research to be linked to trauma.

Thankfully, nervous system health and trauma are becoming a big part of what people talk about as it seems people are looking to get to the root of these issues more now than ever before.

After coming to my own realization that I was traumatized from experiences I had, I began studying trauma to not only help myself but to see how I could further improve my own media work – which has been, in essence, trauma-informed, since 2009.

What I’ve come to feel is that trauma affects almost all of us in some way, while there is not much data to back that up, I truly believe this to be the case. Learning useful skills to work through that trauma is becoming important in order to take our health into our own hands.

In the video below, I talk a bit about how events going on in the world can make us feel anxious and worried, and how that affects our bodies, minds, and health. I also share a simple yet powerful technique for sensory grounding.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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