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What to Do When You Hit a Plateau

It’s pouring rain, and in between pecking out these words for my column, I shovel handfuls of air-popped popcorn, sprayed with truffle oil and sprinkled with nutritional yeast, into my mouth. Yeah, I know it sounds like a weird flavor combo, but it really works for me…especially when I’m in one of these ill-defined, frustrating moods, plus it’s zero points on Weight Watchers! So, yay me for making a smarter choice, even though I feel like I could down an entire pizza, or a dozen Munchkins, or start smoking again.

what to do when you hit a plateau in life

Although I don’t often feel this way anymore, when I do, it tells me that there is something unresolved I need to look at, and I have a sneaky suspicion I know what’s going on with me after all. Today was “weigh-in” for Weight Watchers, and I have yet to break a 3-week plateau. Actually, the same can be said for just about everything in my life right now…I feel like I’m stuck in a cycle of no progress, at a crossroads, and don’t know which way to go. Ever felt like this?

Counselor and registered psychotherapist, Kristine Dewar, tells us… “the impasse represents our comfort zone; choosing a path is frightening. Turning back is always an option but most likely not a good one and standing in the same place puts you directly in the absence of growth”… and offers up 3 things that can help begin the process of choosing:

  • Find your direction. If you were lost, you would google map it. Get informed; find out as much as you can about what it would look like to take the paths in front of you. Curiosity is always one of the best ways to temper fear.

  • Ask for help. If you were standing there and a fellow wanderer came down the path, you may ask them about the best way to reach your destination. Use your loved ones as sounding boards; seek therapy.

  • Use your instincts. Let’s face it; you wouldn’t be at the crossroads unless something in your gut was niggling at you and telling you that some form of change was necessary to feel a difference.

In her LinkedIn article "What to do when you feel you are at a crossroads in your life," conscious leadership coach, Eva Eulenstein suggests following these 7 steps:

1. Reconnect with yourself and your inner core. Spend time alone. Find a place/location that gives you peace of mind to reconnect with yourself and turn down all the noise from outside.

2. Visualize yourself at the end of your life. This may sound melodramatic. Can be painful or the biggest eye-opener. It helps you to look at the bigger picture. What is really important to you? Which footprint do you want to leave?

3. Invest in yourself. Learn about yourself, your values, and what makes you fully alive and excited.

4. Connect with bold people who go for what they want. Talk to people about your ideas. You will meet people and new doors will open.

5. Don’t follow the conventional or “common sense” path just because everyone else does. Stop comparing yourself to your friends, colleagues, or social media. You are never fully in someone’s shoes. All choices come with a price. Which price are you willing to pay?

6. You cannot think everything through. If you take a decision once it doesn’t mean you will always be doomed to follow this road forever. We are constantly evolving, and so are our decisions.

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7. Don’t reminisce on your past or who you have been. Make a conscious decision about who you are now and who you want to become. Then act upon it.

Your life, your choice. Hopefully, there’s something here that resonates and helps you move forward. As for me, I need to remind myself not to forget that this is only temporary… that what I am experiencing is growing pains. And as we all know, No Pain, No Gain!

“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”

Amen to that, Marianne Williamson.

1 Comment

My favorite advice here is to be curious. I have experienced much crippling anxiety in my life and yet have had a life of huge adventure, and that is totally because my curiosity regularly overpowers my fear. It is a trait I am most grateful to have. It even gets me through cocktail party conversation because I am so curious about other people.

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