Baby Step 3: Identify Barriers in Your Way
Barriers (or Enhancements). Here are some examples of things that can get in the way or even obscure the path so much that you cannot see where you’re trying to go.
- Self care. Not taking care of yourself (therefore you don’t feel good and can’t get it together). These barriers are on the order of not getting enough sleep or not eating well. This is the stuff your mom or your grandmother told you to do. Or, it can also be that your life is organized so that you are constantly experiencing enough stress to bother you way more than seems healthy.
- Really tough barriers that keep you from functioning as you’d like: for example, addictions, abusive relationships, diagnosed or undiagnosed psychological issues (like ADD or depression), or serious illnesses. For these barriers you need help from really good friends, programs, agencies, pastors, and/or health care professionals.
- Projects that you’ve been putting off. These can be personal or work-related. You feel like they’re in the way. Either they have to be done, like filing your tax returns, or they are optional, but you said you’d do them. Because you don’t want to be that person who says “yes,” but then backs out, you’re not seeing a reasonable way to get these projects off your plate except by doing them.
- Fixes or enhancements. These might be things you want to do that will have the effect of helping you to feel more together, like keeping up with recommended medical check-ups, painting the house before it starts to peel, or turning your reports in well before the last minute.
Make a List. You don’t have to show it to anyone. Include everything that you think is in your way. For example, someone might write a list like this (your list will vary):
I don’t feel like I have it together because…
- I don’t get enough sleep
- I’m depressed
- I have this big pile of projects to do
- I’m way too stressed
My personal list as I write this contains mostly two kinds of barriers:
- Volunteer Projects. A couple of things I said I would do (and feel I still should do). I’ve been putting these two projects off, and I feel like my life would be “more together” if I just got them done.
- Projects for Me. For example, the last little tasks in closing down a side business, rearranging my living room, and updating some financial paperwork. These (and some other things) are nagging at me, so I want to get them done.
Two weeks ago, getting enough sleep was on my list, but I recently fixed that little barrier (at least for now). I noticed that I wake up at roughly the same time every day whether I stay up late or not… so I applied what I already knew about getting to sleep early: turn off the TV, don’t play electronic games late at night, don’t drink caffeine too late in the day, and don’t eat too late. Voila! I’m getting 8 hours of sleep a night. I feel like a whole new person.
Before working on new goals or tackling just about any kind of challenge, it helps to figure out what’s in the way.
More steps to follow…