It's a strange thing, don't you think, that we often avoid doing the things that bring us joy, that light us up, that make us happy?
Have you ever wondered why that is, and what you can do about it?
In this post, the second of my Guide Series, I'm going to share my secret to moving through the stuck, dealing with Procrastination and getting down with the things you enjoy most.
If you're reading this, chances are at some point in your lives you'll have had a great idea for a painting, a craft project or a once in a lifetime experience and then thought 'Later, I'll do it later'. And you go away and do some chores, or clear out a cupboard or something equally distracting and file the idea into the depths of your mind where it feels safe and comfortable, and where it can be percolated upon for the next several years.
Don't worry, you're not alone. I've done this too.
The problem with dreams and ideas is that they can sometimes feel overwhelming or a bit scary. They're often easier to deal with when they're just thoughts floating around in our heads - we get the pleasure of the buzz from our idea but don't have to share them with anyone. If we take the step of doing something about them, it means opening ourselves up to possible criticism or other people's opinions which we might not want to hear. There may also be difficulties to overcome, hurdles and obstacles that feel 'too much' so in the end we just don't bother.
When we put off taking the next step to making our thoughts actionable, we are procrastinating! 'Procrastinate' literally means to defer action, and the thing that makes us defer our action, is fear.
Fear can inhibit our path to happiness; it has the power to postpone joy, and it can create bitterness and resentment over time. Sometimes, the enormity of what we want to achieve can debilitate us, our goals seem insurmountable and we tell ourselves we need more time to plan for our creative endeavour. So we take the time to plan, and five years down the line we still haven't picked up a paintbrush, our needle and thread, our cameras or our pens. We haven't opened our café, gallery or book shop and we haven't been to India or South America.
It's because sometimes, it all just feels TOO BIG and where do you start anyway?
Fear of beginning, of taking action, of it not being good enough, of it being too expensive, of it being too hard...it all adds up to the same: Procrastination.
So here's where I'm going to help you, by sharing my tools with you to overcome these problems.
1: Write down your idea
Eg: Id like to go travelling to Thailand
Seriously, write it down - by putting your idea on paper you are releasing it from the confines of your mind and this is a very positive and powerful thing to do. You've made it real.
2: Whatever your dream or idea is, be it something big like travelling the world, or something smaller like completing a hand sewn gift, write down the FIRST THING you need to do to make your idea actionable.
The first thing I need to do is research which resorts I'd like to visit.
3: Make your idea actionable using small actions
I can't physically imagine booking this month long trip to Thailand just like that - it would be way too overwhelming. I make a list of small actions that will eventually lead to the trip becoming a reality. Taking small actions are much less scary than leaping into one huge action (as in just booking the trip right off). Small actions move us forward in a gentle way, it helps us grow into the feeling that our idea is possible and do-able without overwhelm or fear:
- Research resorts
- Find out how much it will cost
- Arrange to raise some extra moolah by selling some unwanted stuff on Ebay/car boot sale etc
- Organise a passport
4: Give yourself a time schedule in which to achieve your actions by
This is a useful thing to do, because it helps to keep you on track with manifesting your idea/dream. If you don't do this then chances are, you'll end up putting it all on the back burner again.
By the end of August, I'll have researched resorts I'd like to see, worked out how much it will all cost, ordered a passport and organised my finances.
By the end of September I will book my dream trip.
Your time schedule will differ, depending on what it is you're wanting to achieve. Starting a craft project might be achievable in a matter of days, if it's just a case of sourcing some materials and making time to begin, but it's equally important that you schedule in your small actions and make a date to actually physically start it.
And it really is that easy.
You can use this system for anything in your life that feels hard to do, for the smaller things as well as the larger ones. I use this system myself, when I'm avoiding beginning a painting or for organising a family trip to France.
But what if you get stuck in the middle of your Small Actions?
If you feel that you're stuck again, take a look at your action plan - can you make the one that's holding you up smaller? Can you break that one down into gentle, achievable actions that will help to propel you forward? It might be something as simple as being held up by this:
Organise a passport.
Break it down into smaller steps:
Go to the post office and get the forms.
Fill in the forms.
Get photographs taken
Post the form to the passport office.
Don't forget to schedule these in on your calendar!
I really hope this post helps you to move forward with your wildest dreams and ideas! Why not let me know if these tools work for you?
Love J x
PS ~ you can discover more ways to live a creative life in 'Bloom ~ grow your creative life' the ebook: