Momentum is one of the most fascinating phenomena in life. It can make us feel invincible when it's rolling in our favor. The problem arises when we find it working against us. If you've ever had a stretch in which it felt like the universe was playing a practical joke on you, then you know what I am talking about. So, how do we break out of that rut?
1. Accept where you're at.
When you feel stuck, the first thing to do is to take a moment to stop fighting and accept your circumstances. Whether you feel that you made a mistake, or that someone else did something unfair, it's important to take a step back and accept reality in whatever form it happens to be.
This is very counterintuitive, because when we feel stuck, our natural reaction is to fight and resist. We don't want to feel like we're just giving up. However, acceptance is so crucial because it allows us to calm down and be able to start thinking rationally again. We begin to realize that we don't have control over the past or others' actions, and let go of the desire to try and do so. Now is the time to focus on what is within our own control right here and right now.
2. Get back to the basics.
Now that we've accepted where we are, it's time to get back to the basics. Untangle everything that's made life overly complicated. Take an entire weekend to get life back in order if necessary. Turn off the television. Clean up your living space. Do all of your laundry. Go food shopping. Get your email inbox down to zero.
Then, write an email to yourself with a giant list of every single thing you have to do in the near future. It's a major relief to be able to have a clear mind and living space, rather than trying to remember a million things to do when your mental energy level is already low. When you're ready, brainstorm all of the possible courses of action you can take from here. Or, if you're still in a lull, don't worry about that just yet. It will come soon enough.
3. Surround yourself with positivity.
Start off every day with something positive right away before negativity gets a chance to build up. Listen to a song you love. Watch an inspiring talk or video. Exercise. Call a friend who always makes you laugh. Feel grateful for someone or something that you love. Meditate. If it feels like nothing has been going right for you lately, it can be extremely powerful to have a small victory - any kind of victory - just to break the pattern.
Harness your self-discipline to break a personal record of some sort. Pick one new positive habit, no matter how small, and challenge yourself to do it every day for 30 days straight. Strangely enough, something as simple as drinking water or stretching every morning can give you the feeling that you are back in the driver's seat and get the ball rolling again, rather than feeling like a victim of circumstance.
4. Complete a random act of kindness.
Paying it forward is a great win-win scenario; it will leave both you and the other party better off. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, and see how it feels. If you'd like to be really unconventional, and you have the funds, you can get more creative. Try this: Get $100 worth of singles, and just hand them out to the next one hundred people you see. I don't think it's possible to make a hundred people smile without feeling happy as well. Or give $100 to one person who looks like they are having a really bad day. You just might change their entire life. It is amazing how much less your own problems will seem to weigh afterward.
Things do not always go as planned in life. I like to take on the perspective that no matter what happens, we either end up with a good outcome or a good story and lesson to learn from. Using the above methods, we have the ability to transform any setback into a great and inspiring comeback story.