You have a goal.
You know where you want to be and you’re willing to put in the work.
But for some reason, you just can’t get there.
Maybe you have a mental block standing in your way and you need to push through to be successful.
I’ve been there. As a matter of fact, I’m there RIGHT NOW! But I’m learning ways to push through and make things happen anyways.
In this post, I’m going to be a looking at identifying a mental block and sharing ways I am managing my own so you can manage yours.
Do you have a mental block?
Let’s start with the simple statement:
The answer to this question is almost always, “Yes.”
No matter what you’re doing, if you’re struggling with it you probably have ideas or notions that are blocking your path to success.
Let’s look at an example of a mental block that developed over time
I was an extremely active and healthy 20-something until I got sick one day and never got better. Over the course of the next 7 years, my weight ballooned and my physical activity sunk like the Titanic.
Every time I would attempt to become active again, it lasted for a day or two then got shelved because I inevitably ended up in pain.
Over time, my brain has learned that physical activity = pain.
And in part, it’s true. But that doesn’t mean physical activity can be ignored entirely.
But it’s extremely difficult to force yourself to do something once your brain figures out that it’s going to cause pain.
That’s the mental block.
Mental blocks don’t have to be rational
The example shows the development of a brain block that developed from a rational source.
But what when there isn’t a specific stimuli?
Being afraid of failure. Or embarrassment. Or the unknown. Maybe fear of starting a fight.
These are fears that may or may not have their basis in your personal experiences.
But they can keep you from moving forward and achieving your goals, regardless.
As a matter of fact, you could almost say FEAR is one of the biggest reasons people stay stuck. They are unwilling or unable to move forward because of their fears.
Be honest with yourself
Assuming what I say is true…that you almost definitely have a mental block standing in your way, how do you identify it?
You have to be EXTREMELY honest with yourself.
What is holding you back?
What are you feeling or afraid of?
And this is important. If you need to, grab a trusted confidant to talk to or a notepad to to take notes. Look at it from angles you’d never considered before. Be willing to disappoint yourself or others.
Because if you aren’t able to be honest at this point, you’re probably going to stay stuck.
It’s been years and I’m only just now willing to admit that my lack of physical activity is mostly health-related BUT ALSO partly mental.
Yes, Fibromyalgia and CFS keep me sidelined, but I’m possibly capable of doing more. And that’s a hard pill to swallow when I’ve spent 7 years telling myself I’m doing the best I can.
There’s been a lot of times I’ve wanted to give up, but I’ve had to keep going.
So how do you get beyond a mental block?
Identifying the block is step 1.
But as most things go, there are more than 1 step to success. There’s going to be 2 steps forward and 1 step back. And a little do-si-do.
This one is pretty simple, once you’ve figured out it’s there.
The problem comes in realizing that it’s not going to go away simply because you know it’s there.
It’s going to continue to rear its ugly head. And maybe even evolve over time into something slightly different and hard to identify.
It’s that thing where you finally feel like you’re moving along and then BAM!
You’ve hit another wall.
You need to keep your eye on it. Continue to monitor it.
And use some of the following tools to keep it bite-sized and manageable.
Tool 1 – Turn it into an elephant
We’re not talking about “the elephant in the room.” This big ‘secret’ that everyone knows is there and is unwilling to acknowledge.
This is the elephant that you eat.
One bite at a time.
If you are attempting to establish a new habit and hitting a mental block, break it down into small pieces.
What is the first thing you need to do. Then the second. Then the third.
Those small ‘bites’ of the problem are much easier than attempting to swallow the whole thing in one sitting.
Tool 2 – Stop talking to yourself that way
Do you know someone who consistently bullies you and tells you that you aren’t good enough?
Is that person you?
If you’re honest, you probably need to answer yes to those questions.
So don’t be that person. You probably have enough forces bringing negativity into your life. You don’t need to be one of them.
Maybe that means coming up with a mantra. Something you tell yourself daily to support you and your goals.
Or you write down ways that you are good enough and smart enough and gosh darn it people just like you.
Whatever the case may be, don’t be the person who drags you down and let’s that mental block stop your progress.
Tool 3 – Be open to change
If you’re driving in your lane and approach a road block, you’re probably going to leave your lane to get around it.
The same is true for mental blocks.
Be prepared to leave your lane (or comfort zone) to move forward.
Because sometimes it’s that comfort zone that is our mental block.
We are used to doing things one way and unwilling to try a different way.
You will be surprised how you can benefit from change, if you allow yourself to!
Tool 4 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Hopefully you have someone trusted you can turn to for help.
Wether it be a pep-talk or showing up when they’re needed.
But if you don’t, reach out to someone professional.
Don’t let the stigma of therapy or counseling scare you away from getting help when it’s needed. Your success is more important than someone judging you!
Bringing it all together
Start with the assumption that your brain is blocking you from moving forward. When you start there, you are better able to identify the problem.
Once the problem has been identified, you can figure out a plan to move forward. Part of that plan can use the tools described above to help you succeed.
The tl;dr list of ways to conquer a mental block are:
- Break a big problem into small pieces,
- Encourage yourself instead of tearing yourself down,
- Be open to changing your path, and
- Ask for help when you need it.
I hope you found something useful here. I’d love to hear about a time you overcame a mental block for success! Let me know in the comments below!
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