Now that we are in a New Year, many people are looking to form new habits and develop new possibilities. During this process, we may notice areas of our lives where we feel really stagnant or stuck. Discovering areas of dormant energy during a process of change is incredibly common. Why? Because when we take steps to transition towards new endeavors, we often need to confront the old patterns and beliefs that once organized our lives.
January is not only a great time to make goals, it’s also a great time to ride a wave of fresh perspective to actually get those wheels in motion. So, for those of you who are feeling motionless within a particular career path, or are contemplating whether or not to make a big change this year, here are five helpful steps for getting in gear.
1. Values Check
As obvious as it may seem, many people who find themselves stuck forget to acknowledge what’s most important to them. A great place to start freeing ourselves up is to check in with our own values by making a list of what makes us most happy in the areas of: 1) career & profession, 2) family & friendships, 3) health & fitness, and 4) spirituality.
Highlight the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves, and then rate how successful you feel about the current performance of each value on a scale of 1 – 10. Pay particular attention to the must-haves that you rated low, and take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate all of the values that you rated high! Ask yourself what’s stopping your must-haves from getting rated at a 9 or a 10. Be honest with yourself — getting out of a rut requires a genuine self-awareness.
2. Goal Alignment
Take a contemplative look at your list of values and ask yourself what you really want out of life — now and in the future. Devise a list of goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable, and time-bound (SMART); these goals should also correlate directly with your values and be fueled by passion. You can gut check your passion levels for each goal by noticing any sensations that arise in your body when you state the goal out loud.
For instance, if the goal makes you feel good in your heart or gut, then it is aligned with your passions. If it only makes sense to your analytical brain and doesn’t get you excited, then you may want to write a new goal. Make sure all of your goals are stated in an affirmative manner, because the mind doesn’t understand negations. In other words, always state what you DO want, versus what you DON’T want. Affirmative goals connect directly with values, while stating what you don’t want actually derails you from pursuing your passions and fulfilling your goals.
3. Situation Assessment
Spend some time assessing what aspects of your current work situation have the possibility to drive your goals, and make a list of them. Also take note of the things that bother you at work, and ask yourself what role you can personally play to convert each problem into a potential goal-driver for yourself. Notice how empowered or disempowered you feel when you think about how you can leverage your job to achieve your life’s goals. Could your current job be the perfect means to a larger purpose? Or, is it possible that you could create better goal alignment by simply shifting your focus from your current work environment?
4. Course Correction
If you feel powerful and purposeful about your current job’s ability to support your goals, then you may just need to approach it with a different filter. Make a list of the things that you can personally do to improve your work situation and rate each item on a scale of 1 – 10 in terms of how committed you are to put forth the effort. Circle anything you rated above 7.
If the majority of your list is circled, then stay where you are and get excited by the idea that your current work situation is purposely supporting your passions, goals and core values! It’s just up to you make the necessary adjustments that will make you feel truly good about your day-to-day.
If you feel disempowered and disengaged by the idea of shifting your perspective to make changes in your current work situation, then it’s probably time to move onto a new job that is more supportive of everything you want and value out of life. Remember that a lot of possibility and opportunities always lie beyond fear. Give yourself the space to try something new and recreate yourself. As Lao Tzu said, "when I let go of who I am, I become who I might be."
5. Thought Transformation
Your thoughts are the most powerful tools you have to create the life you desire. Do whatever you can to exercise that brain of yours and create self-supportive thoughts that affirm your goals. Know that if your goals truly align with your core values, then there is no reason to doubt your ability to achieve them. When you are true to your highest purpose, your higher self will do everything it can to support you in achieving whatever you want. The most foolproof way to create genuine belief in yourself is to regularly recite a statement in your mind that assumes you’ve already achieved an end goal. For instance, “I am successful” or “I am the Director.” When your thoughts clearly steer your goals, they generate positive feelings that lead to productive actions and outcomes.
Nina Cashman is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.