Have you ever struggled with being at peace with the “meantime?” You know that long length of time between when you decide to go for something (a goal, a new habit, a big change, etc). and when you actually reach the finish line? That’s the meantime.
Lately I’ve been asking myself how we can manage the feelings, fears and doubts that come up when we’re in the midst of the journey between idea and manifestation. Here are 7 ways that I’ve found to be helpful:
1. Remember why you decided to go for this goal in the first place. When you’re working things out and climbing over obstacles it’s easy to forget why you decided to set out on this journey. “Why am I doing this again?” is a common question in the meantime. That’s why it helps to write down your reason for taking this leap. What did you hope to get out of it? What was the motivation behind starting? Write it all down and put it in a place where you can see it and refer to it often.
2. When fears and emotions get the best of you, sometimes it’s helpful to just let yourself “have a meltdown.” I took this advice from my interview with Louise Watson. She said, “I think sometimes you need to have a bit of a meltdown before you can start to think straight. Just get it all out of your system and then get on with it.” It takes a lot of effort to hold your feelings in (I’ve always liked the visual of a dam holding back a body of water). Sometimes when things get too intense, it can be helpful to just let go and release those emotions and then move forward.
3. Keep a running list of what you’ve done. It’s easy to feel like you’re spinning your wheels or if you’re like me it’s also easy to convince yourself that you haven’t done anything. Having a list can help you remember and build up your confidence in yourself and your abilities. And it doesn’t have to be complex to work. I keep track in my daily planner and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the end of the week and felt like I didn’t get anything done and then take a moment to look back through my planner and realize I did way more than I thought I did. I almost immediately feel better when I reflect.
4. Find ways to make the meantime fun and/or enjoyable. Life is short and the journey is about 99% of life. That number is arbitrary, but it comes from my honest observation. Just think of someone running a marathon. How much time is spent crossing the finish line versus running the whole race? Probably 99%, right? Don’t save your enjoyment for when you reach the end of the line because you’ll spend most of your life being unhappy.
5. Be mindful of whether you have your worth tied up in the end goal. I used to do this and it definitely makes the journey unnecessarily stressful. The pressure! This is a subtle trick you can play on yourself and if you’re not sure one sign would be to ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t reach your end goal. If you answer something along the lines of “My life would be over!” “I would die!” “I would hate myself” then it’s likely you’re measuring your worth by what you do instead of it being an unconditional state of your being alive. The more your worth is tied up in what you achieve (or don’t), the more likely it is that you, and your journey, will be miserable.
6. Don’t recreate the wheel. Look to examples left by people who have done what you want to do. Do this for inspiration, but also for another perspective of what may happen during the journey. Yes, there are likely exceptions and people who didn’t have to wait long, but if you really look you’ll likely find that there are others who felt like you’re feeling and see how they handled it. You are never alone and there are so many great resources out there in books, blogs, and even just asking someone you admire to share some of their journey with you. Note: This does not include social media stalking. While people do show their journey on social media, a lot of times looking for inspiration here can do more harm than good and cause you to compare yourself to images that may be more of a positively spun story than day to day reality. If you can do it without comparing though, browse away.
7. Count the good things. Daily gratitude lists help to remind you of what’s good in your life. It can help to change your perspective and bring some contentment to your day. Yes, you may not have reached your goal yet, but there are definitely good things in your life, even if the only thing you can think of is something basic like being able to breathe unassisted or having clean drinking water. If you don’t implement anything else, this is the one I would suggest the most. Just writing 10 things you’re grateful for each day can transform your outlook and help you to enjoy the journey.
And if you have another practice you use to make the most of your meantime, please share it in the comments section!
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5 Ways to Make Your Fear Worse & How to Turn it Around
Can you Be Grateful for Fear? Here Are 7 Reasons Why I Am.