I think we’re both familiar with the feeling of putting off what we’ve been meaning to do. In fact, the whole reason I’m writing this post is that I’m practicing the very thing I’m writing about today: how to get out of a rut and get into action. Right now, as you read this, I’m taking my own advice, and it seems to be working. I encourage you to try what I’m about to suggest if there’s anything at all in your life that you want or need to do but haven’t yet worked up the motivation to do.
“The most effective way to do it is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart
We’re going to keep it simple today. It’s best that we keep it simple because the more we think we need to do, the less likely we are to actually do it. It’s easy to push off a daunting task, but if we break it down into small steps—beginning with one small step—we can get unstuck and get moving.
I’ve been struggling to write today. It’s just one of those days where distraction has me feeling pinned in one spot, unable to extract anything meaningful from the ether or my brain. Inspiration seems to have bigger things to do today than feed me. These kinds of days are tough, but here I am writing, regardless of how the words are coming out.
Sounds too simple to be noteworthy, but the fact that I’m writing this without knowing if anyone is going to read it is a miracle—just a slight shift, but it’s a shift enough to get me out of a funk and back to writing. I have no idea how to make this a beautiful post (and that’s what kept me from writing it) but I’m trying something else: showing up anyway.
The key to doing it is to just do it without expectation.
If you want to get out of a rut, just do something regardless of the goal.
It’s all too easy to stay in the energy of wanting it and talking about it (whatever your it is), but it’s quite another thing to do something about it.
I’d like you to take a moment and think about what you’ve been putting off that you’ve been wanting or needing to accomplish. Maybe it’s a task on your to-do list, a lifelong dream, creating a product, creating an account on a dating site, making art, or something else. For me, it’s this blog post.
The way to getting past the overwhelm of beginning is to drop the expectation. Don’t do it for the goal of making money. Don’t do it to impress someone. Write the post without expecting anyone to read it. Make the jewelry with no expectation of trying to sell it. Do it just to do it, like nothing that came from it mattered all that much. Just put yourself out there with the action by taking away the expectation.“It's so fun and effortless and joyful to do without expectation.” @GabbyBernstein tweet this
The experience of just doing anyway gets you out of a rut, which is really stagnation, because it generates new energy.
Nothing has to be perfect. Nothing has to be first class. Nothing has to be crystalline, glowing, or life-altering.
It might help if you start things off by closing your eyes and visualizing how it feels to be at ease while you’re doing whatever you want to do. Visualize how easy it is to go one, simple step at a time with no strings attached. Right now, imagine that the only thing the universe wants from you is for you to be in action. You don’t need to control everything, impress anyone, or perfect anything; just show up.
A little movement in any direction makes life feel more liquid, more flowing and less rigid.
Dropping the expectations means knowing what they are.
In order to release the expectations that are keeping you tied to this safe little space you’ve been occupying, you need to know what exactly they are.
Mine? I’ve been distracting myself from writing this blog post because I didn’t know what to write. More specifically, I didn’t think I had enough material to write something worthwhile. Oh, wait, now that I think about it, the reason I’ve been stuck is that I didn’t think it would be good enough. That means I expect readers to judge whether or not my writing is good enough. Well, then, there’s my expectation: the opinions of others.
What are your expectations? Name them. Write them down. Make them known. Your expectation could even be “getting it all done in one shot.” Release that one too because it’s heavy.
Dropping a note in my “universe box” helps me surrender any expectations and grievances that are tying me down.
Now that I’m in the action of writing (I’m just writing on the fly, by the way, to get it out and get myself out of this rut) I feel better. I feel more on purpose. It’s not that I don’t care about the quality of my finished product, either: dropping expectations is not about giving up on quality; it’s simply about getting started so you can do something.
Letting fear keep you from action is easy, but stepping into action anyway is courage. The only way to grow courage is through practice. And courage doesn’t have to be a huge display; it’s usually that one decision to just show up and do something—anything—anyway.“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” – Walter Anderson tweet this
It feels good to practice courage.
Let me know:
What’s one small action you can take today to just start, without expectation? What expectation can you drop?
Please share what you’ve been having a hard time starting, one action you can take today to get out of that rut, and any stories of transition (even liberation!) with me in the comments.
Help someone else get out of a rut and send them this message. (They might really need it today.)
Keep it simple. Simple works.