Updated: Nov 17, 2021
I almost gave up on day 2 of my own 40 days of writing challenge. This is a post about how I didn't. (Yesterday I decided to push myself creatively by writing one new blog post each morning for 4o days. You can read about why and how I'm doing this here.)
This morning, however, I woke up and thought... "Eh." I laid in bed listening to the rain, the to-do list for the day slowly creeping in, and kept on thinking, "Eh, I don't HAVE to. I don't HAVE to add something else to my plate today. I chose to start this personal challenge; I can also end it." And on and on the self-talk of self-talking myself out of this went...
Me: You should challenge yourself to grow, create, and serve other better.
The big problem here was that once I got up to start my day, I had locked that idea into my head. Jeeze, are our thoughts POWERFUL things.
"I don't want to!" was left running through my head, and suddenly it started pertaining to everything. It went kind of like this:
I should get dressed: I don't want to.
I could work out: I don't want to.
Write that post: HA, I said, I don't want to.
Well then, work on something else from the to-do list:
PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one who can slip into a funk like this???
Luckily, I caught myself before it was too late (it was about 10:30am with a terrible risk of taking over the entire day) and began to rapidly employ a serious of small actions that I've learned over the years help me to "break the funk" and start fresh, kind of like a reset button. As I am now returned to factory settings, I thought I'd share those steps with you, in case any of them might help you, too. *and voila, day 2 post is here*
How I Break the Funk
1) Start to change the self-talk.
The stupid self-talk got me into this mess, so it's going to have to help get me out of it, too. I start telling myself new phrases, like,
"You don't HAVE to; you GET to." No one is making me write blogs; I GET to wake up in the morning, sip my coffee, and spend time writing about things that matter to me. That's a wild blessing.
"You don't have to want to; you just have to do it." My mom used to say this when we were kids, and obviously I did not love it then... but I relate to it a LOT, now. Some things are hard. Some tasks are less enjoyable than others. Sometimes we're tired. And that is all completely irrelevant - sometimes you have to do things anyway. Suck it up, buttercup, and just get it done.
"There are people who need to hear the things that you need to say." It's so helpful for me to remind myself that my words matter; even if it's only to a couple people, they could make a difference. Since making a difference in the world is one of my core values, this helps me show up even when it's difficult.
2) Phone in focus mode!
I have a Galaxy (and I love it just fine so don't @ me, iphone people) and right there in my settings along with flashlight, bluetooth, wifi: focus mode. It allows me to set up different kinds of focus (personal time, work mode, etc) and restrict certain apps from being accessible while in that mode. For example, right now I am locked out of Instagram and *gasp* I'm writing!
The first time I utilized focus mode, I was horrified at how many times I compulsively picked up my phone to check notifications, forgetting I was locked out. Talk about a reality check... Definitely give it a try. No matter what kind of phone you have, you have some kind of well-being settings you can poke around in. Your phone is a tool that serves YOU, so take a minute to set it up in a way that makes you more successful.
3) Start to change your body.
Stand up and walk around. Stretch. Roll your head from shoulder to shoulder to give your neck a break. Reach for the sky and touch your toes. Find a new seat if that one isn't working for you. Relax your shoulders. Wiggle your toes. Stretch your wrists. Bring some life, energy, and grace back into your physical self.
4) Check in with your other physical needs.
I can't tell you exactly what this will be for you, but for me today it was:
Switch from coffee to water (for now)
Take my supplements (which sometimes varies, but today was Complete Greens and a b-complex)
Eat a banana, because I don't work well hungry, and I knew that would give me an energy boost
Brush my teeth
Wash my face (which is always part of my morning routine anyway, except when the funk hits! currently loving this cleanser, 15% off with the code BEWELLWITHSTEPH)
5) Put on something you feel confident in.
6 year old soffe shorts & tank top with the hole? not confident
New fave workout leggings & tee that says "Strong like my coffee"? MUCH better
I also took an extra 5 minutes to comb out my hair and add a little makeup. Nothing fancy, just some tinted moisturizer and a quick coat of mascara (same discount code from above, if you're interested). Of course makeup isn't necessary, but it made me feel more inclined to tackle the day, and that's what this was about!
6) Organize your environment
Remove garbage, dishes, and clutter
Hide things that will be distracting to the task at hand/tempting to think about
Straighten items around you
Play music, if that helps (sometimes I like coffee house-style jams or low talking of some kind; today I chose to keep things quiet so I could write)
Identify 2-3 top priorities for the time you have: What will you feel the best accomplishing? What will give you the most traction in your work/life? What will serve the best? What has a sense of urgency? Those are the couple things you're about to give all your new-found focus and energy to!
And there we have it: I have my second post by noon today, and YOU have six steps for breaking out of your next funk! We don't always feel motivated. Sometimes we have to create our own focus and energy anyway.
Be mindful of your own self-talk. I hope you catch yourself when your self is getting in your way, and I hope you tell her something different. I hope you find my strategies helpful, and develop some of your own, too.
Until tomorrow, be well!
PS - This post inspired an episode of Be Well with Steph, The Podcast, if you'd like to listen to that: