Does Your Reinvention Feel Stalled?
Does your midlife reinvention feel stuck someplace? Is there something holding you back from taking that next step to getting a fresh start in your personal life or your career? You might be surprised to find the problem – or the “glitch” – could be a something small. Or maybe it’s not a glitch but a piling up of a bunch of small things.
Little Tasks can Overwhelm You and Stall Your Goals
Here’s my story: Last week I got two things done that I’d been putting off. Two things doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? Not only was it just two things, but neither one was a big deal. In fact, I’d call both of them mildly important and neither one had a real deadline – so, frankly, I wasn’t overly motivated. The first one required resending a Christmas card. I sent it in mid-December but put the wrong address on it. It came back a few weeks later. I could easily have just forgotten about it, but I always send Christmas cards – it’s sort of my holiday “thing” instead of doing gifts. Also, by the time it came back, I had news for the recipients, so I wanted to add an extra note. So I put it in “my pile” – the stuff I’m going to get to doing at some point.
The other task was cancelling a subscription. I delayed cancelling it because only part of me wanted to cancel. I could have let the subscription ride and cancelled it next year. But doing either made me feel bad. So it, too, ended up in “my pile” of to-do stuff.
A week went by…then two…tree… And I just wasn’t getting them done.
Have Your Midlife Reinvention Plans Stalled? Are You Feeling Stuck?
You know…you aren’t sure what to do, so you do nothing …but then can’t get away from it, so it’s always on your mind? Somehow doing nothing weighs on your mind. It’s like they nag at you…making you feel like a slug and putting a guilt-shadow over your whole mind.
That was me. In the month I delayed taking action, those two little thing nagged at me. Every time I went through the pile, I saw them…and put them back…always with a feeling like I was screwing something and disappointing someone (me!) and, of course, that made me feel bad. Every time I did it I felt a twinge of something – indecisiveness…guilt…something that didn’t feel good.
Reinvention Solution: Block Out Time for the “Little” Tasks
One day I got so annoyed that I blocked off an hour in my daytime to do it (yes, really…it just took an hour). First I made the phone call. I was half-hoping that person on the other end would have talked me out of it, but he didn’t. So it got cancelled. Done!
Next I typed up a short note, cut it to fit flat in the card, signed it, found another envelope, put them together, and sealed it. Took me about 30 minutes. I put the letter in the mail pile. It would go out in the next day’s mail.
Whew! Those two little things that nagged at me for over a month were finally done. Yayyy!
What Happened Next is the “Big Secret” to Achieving Your Midlife Reinvention
Once both things were done, I went back to work. What surprised me was how different I felt – like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Or like I could breathe some wonderful fresh air for the first time. I noticed that felt more relaxed. I found it kind of amusing…until I started to getting some good ideas for a project I was working on – ideas that simply hadn’t been coming, no matter how hard I tried to inspire my creativity.
Then I remembered…
Little Tasks Weigh on our Minds, Stifling our Creativity & Motivation
A while back I learned about something called the “Clean Sweep” program. I did it while I was in coach training class. It’s an old, but tried and true method developed by the late Thomas Leonard for [what was then] CoachU. The idea behind the Clean Sweep is “that by strengthening the accompanying 100 items in your life, you will reduce stress, increase your energy, and attract better people and opportunities into your life.” When I used it regularly, I got more done , more easily, with less stress. That was because all the little nagging things weren’t slowing me down or holding me back.
What’s Hanging Over You?
“I’m going to [lost weight, start exercising, go back to school, start my business, return to teaching, get a divorce, or whatever] – as soon as I [get through the holidays, when winter is over, organize my files, catalog my crafts/writing/courses, get enough money, find the right school, digitize my pictures]. Then you don’t. Every day or week or month, and every time you feel down or read about someone who is doing what you want to do, it nags at you. It’s lowers your energy level, zaps your creativity, and pushes you in front of the TV for some mindless viewing.
Do You Need a Clean Sweep to Get Your Midlife Reinvention Back on Track?
Give this a try, it can’t hurt and you might just find it really helpful! Here’s what to do:
- Set a goal for yourself – something related to your reinvention
- Do the Clean Sweep and input your scores.
- Decide how often you’ll repeat the Clean Sweep. Once a month for the 1st 3 months is good. You can lengthen or shorten the space depending on what you need.
- Pick a couple things to get started with and do them.
- Notice what happens – mentally, emotionally, physically.
- Keep track – file your clean sweeps, keep a journal, or get an accountability partner.