12 ways to get through life’s roadblocks


July 16, 2012

When we get stuck acting like a Perplexed Planner, it means our usual approach to doing something isn’t working. It could be a relationship that has gone awry, an unexplained drop in business, or a weight increase despite a regular workout routine.

To clear the clutter that’s blocking our way, we need to change how we feel or think about or act in the situation. Here are dozen different ways to expand your possibilities. Try a few and create your own winning combination of tactics to help you overcome.

Feel differently

1. It’s easy to feel that a roadblock isn’t our fault, but blaming other people or things won’t solve anything. Instead of focusing on what other’s will or won’t do, consider what you can do.

2. When we’re stuck, negative thoughts can swirl in our heads. Try to counterbalance these by imagining the very best outcomes for your situation.

3. Give your emotions a reality check. Sometimes we feel worse about a situation than it really is. Talk to others to gauge what’s actually going on.

4. Reluctance to try something new is completely natural; we don’t want to fail. But it’s also and a sure way to stay stuck. Summon your courage to be adventurous, if only a little.

Think differently

5. If you’re the agreeable type, even if you don’t always want to be, consider saying “no” on occasion. You might be amazed by the positive results of declining a request from time to time.  

6. When you think you have no new ideas, let your imagination go wild. Solid solutions can come from the nuttiest notions. We like this technique used by the writer William Faulkner.

7. Think about what’s different in the situation compared with how it’s worked before. Once you’ve identified the difference(s), consider why. Understanding the root of an issue often turns up solutions. 

Act differently

8. Stop multitasking so much. By concentrating on just one thing at a time, you’ll think and perform better.

9. If you’re overwhelmed, break down the situation into small pieces, then systematically take on one piece at a time.

10. When everything is important it can be paralyzing. Or you try to do all of it at once, which usually means nothing gets done well. Here’s a helpful way to prioritize.

11. Ask for help. Put aside the pride, insecurity, or shyness that stops you from delegating and you’ll be surprised how willing—and helpful—other people can be.

12. Step away from the situation and tackle something else. The sense of accomplishment will boost your confidence and may open your mind to solutions for that issue you’re stuck on.

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