When faced with big life decisions, it is natural to feel stuck, or paralyzed.
Dr. Cloud said “Don’t wait until you can get it all done to do something. Just do a little bit. Get started. Take one step.” Love this advice…but how do you do it?
How do you get started? How do we begin to make a big life decision if there are a thousand potentially good/right directions you could go? If you’re like me, you like all the things and often wonder how to you choose just one? Whether it is a career decision, a relationship decision or something entirely different, the amount of options we have in this country (while a blessing) can sometimes become paralyzing.
If options are limitless…if the world is your oyster, chances are, you have no idea what to do. Chances are you feel stuck.
The thing is, with only a few exceptions, those life-altering decisions will more than likely consist of hundreds of little choices—not one huge, life-changing decision. One little choice at a time is how big changes are born. One step in a new direction is really all it takes. And then another, and another, until before you know it—you’re headed down a new road.
But how do you get started? How do you make that first choice or take that first step?
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but one thing I’ve learned through the creative process is that I have to CREATE limitations to get unstuck. I know that might sound counter-intuitive, but we all need limitations, especially to be creative and step into new beginnings.
So the first step is to define your limitations.
For example, if you would like to live close to your family—that is a limitation when you are job searching. You can think of it like a filter. Filter out everything that doesn’t fall into that category and see how much simpler your decisions become.
If you don’t have any set limitations—make some up. It might sound a little unusual, perhaps, but I’ve learned to give myself limitations. If I have trouble knowing what to paint or how to begin, I will only allow myself to use 3 colors. That one little limitation is all it takes to help me get started.
So, my advice would be, clear your workspace (or mind) and set a limitation or two. It may be a natural limitation—like your abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Or it might be desires. Things like: proximity to family, future financial goals, career goals, family goals, relationship goals etc.
When you de-clutter your workspace or when you offer yourself less to work with entirely, creativity is at its best! Think about those fantastic outfits you’ve put together when working with the last remaining items in your closet before laundry day, or those incredible fix-it jobs you’ve done when you don’t have your set of tools with you. Ingenuity and creativity can flourish when we don’t have all the resources we think we need. So why not de-clutter a bit?
Perhaps it’s as simple as saying: What can I do TODAY (today is a limitation) that will get me one step closer to my goal? Even if it is a tiny simple thing—one step may be all you need to get you on track again.