There have always been those times when we get “lost” regarding what we’re supposed to be doing, our next steps, and so on. These days, in particular, have us reevaluating what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. You could hardly be blamed for hitting a point where you’re tired of going against the tide, questioning every decision, and wondering if you’re on the right path.
We don’t always have someone to bounce these difficult questions off of. When we’re “lost,” it’s important to touch base with ourselves. Here are some handy tips to help find that direction and “spark” again.
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank, Diary of A Young Girl
Don’t wait until you have a big chunk of free time to start journaling. Sort out the mess in your head as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be a big hours-long event — and it doesn’t have to be a daily practice (although that can be helpful).
Simply take out some paper and write down your string of thoughts — without a filter. No one else will see this. Scribble it all down until you feel clear-headed.
You may find that you wrote some ugly things. That’s okay; your mind needs an outlet for the flood of confusing emotions. Just write. You’ll be surprised by the feeling of relief that follows.
FOLLOW YOUR NOSE
“Like a plant bending its head toward the sun, you’ll ultimately find yourself growing toward what you love.” – Barbara Sher, I Can Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was
Often, our enthusiasm for something dies because we attempt to implement a rigid structure onto the goal(s). We use our minds so much that we forget to tune in to our natural instincts.
Instead of trying to “reason” out every single detail with logic, turn your gaze inwards. There’s a sure, quiet solution in your heart, waiting to be discovered. Take some time to sit and reflect. Just sit and see what insights or feelings arise within your body or intuition.
Then, trust in where your instincts lead you.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL SELF
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” – Sydney J. Harris
During challenging times, your instincts are probably telling you to take better care of yourself. We search for solutions to be happy while neglecting the physical aspects of our health – which is frequently the root cause of much of our unhappiness.
How long has it been since you looked up at the night sky or enjoyed the sunshine? Take a break. Step outside for a quick walk in nature or mini-sunbath (the pandemic has forced so many of us inside, so we’re missing out on healthy Vitamin D). In the evening, put away your phone, gently wash your face, put on your comfiest PJs, and tuck yourself in for an early bedtime. Do the “little things” to nurture your physical body. They will go a long way towards helping your mental health.
“If you are to be a positive influence on the world, you need to forgive yourself.” – Avatar: The Last Airbender
When we make mistakes, we feel we somehow failed to uphold a promise to ourselves. We become angry, disappointed, and sometimes, ashamed. So give yourself the gift of forgiveness. Mistakes are not permanent; climbing up from unavoidable pitfalls leads you closer to your calling.
“Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” – Winnie the Pooh
Once we get an idea, most of us tend to make a plan to implement it from A to Z. Heck, you’re likely even thinking about it a few seconds before falling asleep.
But after a time, your enthusiasm may be replaced with a sense of disconnection. We keep pushing and pushing, but experience diminishing returns against our artificial timeline.
To mitigate the pressure, add time to your schedule to simply do nothing. Put down the checklist, stop obsessing, or planning your next step(s). Unexpected ideas and creativity come when our minds are most relaxed. And that can add some really potent juice to achieving that goal.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
“Don’t be impatient. Eat when it’s time to eat. And move along when it’s time to move along.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Harboring determination to achieve a goal is powerful. But when The Goal is still far away, the weight of “wanting” can over-exceed your target and drag you down.
You can’t force a seedling to grow into a tree within a week. What you want to do takes time. So nurture your goal, help it grow and mature. But always remind yourself: “one step at a time.”
REVISIT YOUR CHILDHOOD
“Love and imagination can change the world.” – Barbie
I began sewing at 19 years old. I wanted to upcycle old clothes so they wouldn’t be yet another contribution to landfills. My family was surprised because no one sewed. However, the 6-year-old me once hand-stitched a flower onto an old denim pencil case, pricking my finger along the way but determinedly completing the project. That childhood experience helped shape a future interest.
Whether it’s a song, hobby, or film from your early days, revisiting those “kid” times is a wonderful reminder that the fun and fire of your past can still exist in the world you live in right now — and help us reconnect with what we need to keep going.