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Stop Waiting, Start Doing

The past few weeks, I have started feeling so sick and tired of waiting, and I have also been hearing from my clients that they feel the same way. Waiting for things to “calm down” or get back to “normal.” We have all been putting things off because of the pandemic for 9 months now. And then I attended a virtual conference this past weekend that had the theme of “Stop Dreaming, Start Doing” and I knew it was time. Granted, there are many things that are still unwise to do in the midst of a pandemic. But I realized that there are so many other things that CAN be done, and that we can start now. The truth is, it isn’t just during a pandemic that we put things off until later. Whether it’s waiting for school to start, or until after the holidays, or until after the new year, or when school gets out, it seems like we are always waiting for a better time, when everything will align and all the lights on our journey will be green all at the same time. This green light mentality is not only completely unrealistic, it can also be the thing that keeps us from ever truly living and experiencing all that we want to in life. 

So now the question is, how do we stop waiting and start doing? One of my favorite sayings is that imperfect action beats perfect procrastination, every single time. Which tells us that the first step is simply living in the present moment and acting now, no matter the circumstances. Don’t let the present slip away and become the past, as it does so easily. Make time to stop, be still and practice mindfulness. The beautiful thing about mindfulness is there is no real goal, other than to just be in the moment. It’s ironic that in order to do, we literally need to stop doing. But whenever you find yourself feeling anxious or worried about the future, or preoccupied with the past, that’s exactly what you need to do. Stop and just focus on your breathing. Don’t let those negative thoughts define you. Get centered and breathe, and you will see your happiness, sense of security and self-esteem, and even your empathy and relationships improve. You will also see a decrease in depression, anxiety, compulsive behaviors and attention issues. It truly is amazing what interrupting those destructive thought patterns can do, simply by stopping them in their tracks and bringing yourself back to the present. 

Another important mindset shift is becoming proactive and observant versus reactive and on autopilot. When you stop to take that breath, start increasing your awareness of how you perceive, interpret and react to your own inner thoughts, and also what’s going on around you. That will help you to identify those limiting beliefs and thought patterns that are holding you back. Take a few moments to truly notice what’s going on around you, and be a neutral observer, without judgement. Mindfulness in this area will help to increase your self-control and self-awareness, which in turn will help you to change those unwanted habits and build new ones that support your goals and get you moving instead of causing you to freeze. 

While you are increasing your awareness, it’s also key to give yourself grace and practice self-acceptance. We are our own worst critics and can be terribly judgmental of ourselves, even going so far as to have feelings and judgements about our feelings! For example, you may say to yourself, “I really wish I wasn’t so anxious,” and then follow it up with the thought that, “I hate being anxious!” That constant judgement of our own feelings keeps us stuck in the emotion rather than allowing us to process and deal with it. Think about a time when you’ve gone through a loss, such as a breakup of a relationship or the death of a friend or family member. Many times we try to avoid the heartbreak, and move away from those negative emotions without giving ourselves the time to move through the grief and deal with the loss so we can heal and get through to the other side. Rather than running away from our emotions, it’s important to be in the present moment, and find gratitude for the good experiences you were able to have with that person, and the lessons you learned along the way. 

Dealing with our emotions can be challenging, but it’s truly the best way to get out of your own way and move forward. Stop waiting for all the lights to be green, for everything to be perfect, and just start along the path to wherever you want to go. And if you need help navigating along the way, please reach out for support as this is one of the key issues I work with my clients to help them through. You may also download my free Guide to Mastering Mindfulness here to help you along your journey.