All the way back in February, I talked about how to pull yourself out of a rut. It’s a discussion I’ve had with myself numerous times. Battling mental health problems is repetitive like that. You think you’re on a good path and it’ll be smooth sailing. But the truth is, like anything, self-improvement takes discipline, consistence, and perseverance.
A few months after that post, I bought a journal to help me focus on the next step. Often times, I get lost in the muck and mire, overwhelmed by the big picture. I sometimes feel I’m drowning in the details (the devil is in them, you know) and it all feels like too much. I feel like I’d rather give up than just try.
So I started breaking it down into doable steps in my journal. I have four major categories that I like to track: mental health, physical health, careers and hobbies, and giving and helping. For each one, I write a goal, and then, what the next step would be. It’s just a practical, simple way to visualize what you can do to achieve your goal.
For example, physical health.
Goal: make a workout routine
Next Step: research yoga channels and beginner videos.
Goal: Eat healthier, plan meals
Next Step: research foods to incorporate and those to avoid; look up recipes (For me, I’m going for anti-inflammatory foods).
Another example, careers and hobbies.
Goal: Secure more freelance work
Next step: check all my online resources for gig listings
Goal: Spend more time doing enriching hobbies/learning skills.
Next step: one lesson on Vocabulary.com, one lesson in Duolingo, two paragraphs of creative writing.
It’s all about the next step. Actually, it’s all about doing the next step because the idea is that taking a step toward your goal will help you feel more accomplished, fulfilled, and overall happier. The doing is the hard part sometimes though. I know some of the things on my lists have sat there for months. But if I’m serious about pulling myself out of the rut, I need to continue to look at the list and push myself to do a small part for one of my goals. I’ve been better about some of the steps than others.
I encourage you to think about your goals and what your next step would be to get there, no matter how big or small. All goals look the same size when you break them down into small steps.