As an exercise and sports psychology specialist, I encourage my clients to move and stretch. Although my clients are moving and stretching their bodies, I simultaneously challenge them to move and stretch beyond any mental limitations or fears that may be holding them back from reaching their full potential. Most of us could benefit from applying this practice to our daily lives.
Do you often feel stuck? Perhaps, the feeling could be described as just going through the monotonous tasks of your daily routine? Or, perhaps you may feel as though you are not fulfilling your purpose? Many of us will answer yes to one or all of these questions, yet day after day will continue to remain stuck on the treadmill. To clarify, I don’t mean “stuck on the treadmill” in a literal sense. Allow me to elaborate. When one is exercising on a treadmill, they are moving fast, yet physically staying in the same place. The challenge with a treadmill is that you exert quite a bit of energy without moving forward. I believe that running on a treadmill is the antithesis of running free in an open space outdoors. Unfortunately, unless you are running in an open space you won’t cover much ground. The same is true regarding the trajectory our lives. If we run on a treadmill because it is predictable and we know the path ahead, there is a good chance that we will never cover any ground.
How do we walk into unchartered territory? One step at a time. Whether you long to become healthier, grow your business, or find the love of your life, you must step off of the treadmill. You must move and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Here are a few suggestions to help you step off of the treadmill and outside of your comfort zone:
- Step off of the treadmill and journal. Perhaps, you tend to enjoy your daily run on the treadmill in the bottom of your dark basement. Try going outside for your run. While you’re at it, bring a journal to write down some of your observations after your run. Studies have shown that journaling has many benefits. Journaling can spark creativity, evoke mindfulness, improve self-confidence, and promote healing.
- Step off of the treadmill and meet a friend for coffee to discuss dreams and goals. Sometimes when we are on the treadmill going through the motions, we forget our dreams and goals. Having an accountability partner (possibly a trusted friend or mentor), can help you to revisit old dreams and ignite your fire to make your dreams come true. Try to have these chats or coffee outings quarterly (at a minimum) to check in on progress toward making your dreams and goals a reality.
- Step off of the treadmill and become a lifelong learner. With modern technology, there are online courses to increase ones’ knowledge on any subject imaginable. Perhaps, you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook Greek food, how to salsa dance, speak Japanese, or revisit Statistics from college (hey – maybe one person out there enjoyed Statistics). Step off of the treadmill by signing up for a class that requires low commitment. During this continuing education, you just might find a path to your purpose. If nothing else, you’ll break up the monotony of your daily routine without the added pressure.
The next time that you feel as if you are running on a treadmill, or running in a hamster wheel, I challenge you to take a deep breath, step off of the machine, shake things up a bit, and explore all of the possibilities that await you!