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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Feeling Out of Place in Life? 5 Ways to Get Back on Track

Feeling Out of Place in Life? 5 Ways to Get Back on Track

If you have ever felt like a square peg being shoved into a round hole, then you know what feeling out of place is. You experience an overall lack of alignment—the feeling that you are actively wasting time, energy, and resources can be almost paralyzing.

I know this because I’ve experienced it first-hand—the anxiety, self-doubt, and worry that takes over, the way your mind can be suddenly flooded with negative thoughts and the curiosities about what could have been if you had made other choices. 

Recognizing that you feel out of place can be scary, but like everything in life, it doesn’t have to be permanent.

Here are 5 steps you can take when you are feeling out of place.

1. Acknowledge That Your Feelings Are Trying to Communicate Something IMPORTANT to You

As a Spiritual Advisor, Yogi, and Coach, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the different ways that humans receive messages. Some people can pick up on the subtle and quiet messages whispered to them by the universe, while others have to be virtually bopped over the head with the information.

In the latter circumstance, the Universe will make sure the message is amplified until it cannot be ignored. You may feel conflicted about what your feeling.

For example:

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You may have a stable job that you are good at but still feel off track and unsatisfied. You feel lost but it’s difficult for you to acknowledge that you are unhappy at your work and perhaps, you need to explore other options to feel fulfilled.  

OR

You are in a relationship that is unhealthy or toxic. But you are more afraid of being alone and having to put yourself out there, so admitting that you need to separate from that person is too difficult.

These realizations may be difficult and can take time. Release any embarrassment or shame you have around your confusion or fear. Humans are creatures of comfort.

It is not abnormal to experience some internal resistance when you realize that what your spirit wants and what is comfortable at the moment are out of alignment.

Recognizing that you feel off track is an important first step to getting back on track. It requires bravery and honesty to acknowledge that you may feel lost or confused. Give yourself credit for taking this incredibly important first step. 

2. Take Time to Meditate on When You Started to Feel Out of Place or Off Track

Everything has a root, a cause, a starting point. If you are going to be able to move forward, it’s important to know where you are moving forward from.

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Journaling is an incredibly helpful tool when used strategically. I’m not referring to the common and cathartic freewriting you usually associate with journaling, but instead, “prompt journaling.

Prompt Journaling allows you to direct your attention very efficiently as you explore some questions.

Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • I feel safe when…
  • The last time I felt confident was…
  • I want to feel…
  • I deserve…
  • I am worthy of…
  • I noticed a change in myself when…
  • The activities that make me feel good are…
  • I feel joyful when…
  • I feel full of life when…
  • I enjoy…
  • Write a letter to yourself a year from now.
  • Write a letter to yourself 2 years ago.

Studies have shown that journaling can help manage anxiety and reduce stress because it gives you a healthy way to express yourself when faced with overwhelming emotions.

The act of physically writing helps you to get clarity by giving you space to prioritize your fears or concerns and providing an opportunity for positive self-talk as well as a judgment-free zone to recognize negative thoughts and behaviors.[1]

3. Check in With Your Support System

Support systems are essential in helping you identify how, when, and why you got off track in the first place. Sometimes, it can be helpful to have an objective and external source to help you process some of the things you are discovering and realizing about yourself. It can be a lot.

Consider talking to your trusted friends and close family or people who you feel safe talking to and know will be objective yet honest with you.

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The goal is to enlist the help of someone who can help you acknowledge the things that you may be avoiding. In some cases, it is best to do this with a trusted professional, such as a therapist.

In other cases, what you need is someone to help you organize your thoughts and create an action plan. In that case, you might enlist the help of a reputable coach or experienced mentor.

Having a support system that will hold you accountable and create space for you to go through the process is critical to you getting back on track. This will greatly reduce the negativity of feeling out of place.

4. Be Grateful

Gratitude is a balm for the soul. It can be the thing that gives us respite from the troubles of the mind and worries of the heart.

When we practice gratitude, the alchemy that happens in the brain is incredible. Studies show that spending time focusing on the things that one is grateful for can lead to increased optimism, feeling better about one’s life, organic desire to exercise, and reduced doctor’s visits.[2]

Let me be clear. Gratitude is not about ignoring what is bothering you or sweeping things under the rug. Instead, gratitude asks you to become innately aware of the world around you and your current experience so that you can identify anything—no matter how small—that you feel grateful for.

It can be as simple as a sunny day, a delicious tangerine, water, or waking up. The thing you express gratitude for doesn’t need to be magnanimous. It can be simple, small, and unique to your experience. The goal is for you to reorient your thinking so that you can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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5. Visualize Where You Want to Be

Once you have taken time to acknowledge how you feel, get curious about when it started, check in with your support system, and be grateful, the only thing left to do is to start to visualize where you want to be.

There is no point in doing all this work if you don’t know where you want to go from here. Get bold, dream big. Think (or journal) about where you want to be in a 1 month, 6 months, a year.

Draw how you want your life to look. Create a vision board. There are a lot of different ways you can give your vision life. 

The reason we want to externalize these ideas is to give us something to easily refer back to when we get overwhelmed. At the moment, it is easy to forget what we are doing and why we are doing it. When you have access to an external representation of your goal. it is easier to have it anchor you when things get rough.

When you have a clear vision, it is easier to create a plan of action. Ultimately, that plan of action will help you take the action necessary to help you get back on track.

Final Thoughts

There is no shortcut to getting back on track when you feel out of place in life. You have to take a hard look at yourself and get really curious about what lead to these feelings.

You have to want to shift your focus and truly desire to reconnect with yourself.  There must be a willingness to do the work. You have to believe that YOU DESERVE peace, happiness, satisfaction, joy—otherwise, visioning the life you want will be impossible.

Feeling off track is not the end of the world. In fact, it is more of a right-of-passage. Remember that it is not permanent, and the process can be sped up if you are proactive. You can do this!

Read These If You’re Feeling Out of Place

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] URMC: Journaling for Mental Health
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: Giving thanks can make you happier

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Awilda Rivera

Success Coach - Author - Speaker - Yogi - Advisor

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Last Updated on April 9, 2021

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is learning how to stay motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task at hand serves a greater goal.

It’s impossible to expect your motivation levels to remain at 100% all the time, but there are things you can do to maximize your stores of motivation and push forward. Here are 5 simple yet effective tips for staying motivated.

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first, but if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it, it’s time to find your good reasons.

For each goal you set, there needs to be a reason behind it. If you don’t nail down your “why” when you begin, your motivation will soon falter, leaving you miles from achieving your goal. This isn’t the way to learn how to become motivated.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

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  • Rewards: This may come in the form of money (a salary or a raise, for example) or some kind of award.
  • Personal Gain: You will learn something new or improve yourself in a certain way.
  • Accomplishment: Achieving a feeling of accomplishment and recognition for achieving a goal can be a huge motivating factor.
  • A Step Closer to Bigger Goals: Even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to increasing motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, and others will love it[1].

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and enjoyable when we begin to lose motivation.

Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some, yet others love being in that environment. For those that hate going to the gym, finding a team sport in their community may serve them best.

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and others?
  • How can I make this task the best part of my day?

Expecting a task to be enjoyable is one way to learn how to stay motivated. Most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, so looking for ways to have fun while working is a great habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach and Don’t Give up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach if you want to learn how to get motivation.

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You may be doing everything correctly and efficiently, but such an approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach that will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common—if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one that will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

If you can’t find the right approach, you may need to go back to motivation basics to find your motivation style. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style?

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most big or long-term goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities, but to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it. Tracking is merely taking note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at the bigger picture and realize where exactly you are and how much more you have left to do.

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For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until everything is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive progress made. This is how to keep yourself motivated in the long-term.

5. Reward Yourself

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on a particular task? Hate the whole idea of working?

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables that will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way. This creates external motivators to help you feel motivated in the long run.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself to dessert.

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For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to see a movie, taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

The more you reward yourself for making progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques, and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right away. Mix different approaches, and match them to your task for the best results.

Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to help you feel better, and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Learning how to stay motivated is as simple as finding what works for you. If you need a reward, schedule one. If you just need to find your “why”, take time for introspection. Do what you need to do and start tackling those goals.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Positivity Blog: How to Get the Boring Tasks Done

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