Moving forward in life is not taught in school. So how are you supposed to know what “being in your way” even looks like? A lot of the time life seems to “just happen”.
But if we look more closely we often can see some holes in our thinking. Or perhaps we can already recognize our “weak spots”, such as overspending, or dating the wrong guys.
Sometimes we make decisions around what’s “easier” or more “accepted” by others. Often decisions may come from what’s popular at the time.
What all of these patterns have in common is the lack of consciously recognizing and following what works best for us. How many times were we talked into something we “knew” at some level didn’t fit us or wasn’t something we believed was healthy. But we did it anyway.
No Blame – Sometimes A Move Forward in Life is Really About Getting Out of Your Own Way.
This is about the humanness in us. But you always have a choice to go on another path that works better for you. A road that truly makes you feel good about yourself and more in control of your life. It’s knowing you are on a path that leads to things that you will enjoy and value.
It takes time to make positive changes. You first have to recognize that something doesn’t work for you. Then you have to figure out what will work better. Next, comes all of the times you practice doing those new things. Eventually, it gets easier because it’s a new habit, and then…you’re on your new path.
So let’s look at how moving forward happens.
To Get There, You Have to Know Where You Want to Go
Is it making better decisions in dating choices or behaviors? Or perhaps it’s feeling financially secure and on top of your bill-paying habits. Sometimes it’s just not that clear for us in the beginning.
If it’s about not being clear yet, it’s ok. First, try to think about those situations where you feel down, disappointed, stressed, etc. Realistically, what would make you feel better? For example, not worrying about money problems? Or coming home from a really good date?
If you turn around the situation to its opposite, you may have your answer about what you would like better. For example, with your bills, you want to feel like you are on top of paying them on time. Or in dating situations, you want to have better experiences in dating, but you don’t know how to make it happen.
If you feel you don’t have a clear idea of what needs to change to move forward, consult with friends who’s heads are on pretty straight already. Sometimes, they’ve gone through similar issues and found what worked better for them. Or don’t be afraid to consult with your bank to get a free consultation on money issues.
Next, Identify Those Things That Already Work For You
Moving forward in life is also about recognizing your strengths and what already works. Are there certain areas of your life that work better for you than other parts?
This is a great first step.
We don’t usually think about this in our busy lives. Often, we just continue doing what we know to do. But there are actually patterns we’ve developed that turned into habits we don’t even question.
So, begin to look for those things that you do well and that already work. For example, the habits that keep you on track, such as paying your bills on time or using auto-pay.
Also, look for those things that with a bit of tweaking, will work better for you. So, you’re starting with things that are already good, or need just a bit of adjustment. Maybe, most of the time you meet the deadlines to pay your bills.
What can you do to make it easier for you to always pay on time? For example, setting up auto-pay. And what needs to be in place for that to happen?
The goal here is to develop habits that are healthy and easily work for you. The easier they are, the more likely you are to continue using them.
Now, Determine What is Not Working for You
I know this can be uncomfortable. The alternative is to not move forward in a way that feels better and gives you a sense of being in control of your life. So let’s move forward!
To do this, you need to identify those things that do not have a good ending. For example, not meeting work deadlines. Or perhaps you are often late in paying bills. Maybe you are feeling so discouraged about finding the right mate, you are considering not dating at all!
Before you give up, take a breath and see what your options might be. Knowing there are options out there is comforting, even if you don’t yet know what they are. You can always ask others who are already making it work.
Once you’ve identified the things you already do well or that are getting better, you just need to identify those things that really need changing. When you’ve done that, you are ready to create new patterns that work well for you.
For examples of what really works in life, you can check out the article about what successful people have in common here:
Questions to Answer Before Taking Action To Move Forward
Before diving into the change process, here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do I have a good idea of what I want as an end result with an issue? (for example, dating practices or finance issues).
- Am I clear with what already works for me and I need to continue doing?
- Are there certain habits that could work better but need some tweaking?
- Do I have the knowledge that it takes to fix it on my own?
- Do I need some help with this area of my life? If so, do I know how to get assistance? Is there someone I need to ask?
- For example, maybe you can find a system of paying bills automatically or put the due dates on your calendar that you often check. Regarding the better dating goals, you can check out my articles that have a variety of topics on dating “how-to”s. (by the way, the link is here: )
Once you have your answers you’ll have a better idea of the next step in this process.
How Change and New Patterns Develop – Making the Change
New habits develop over time. When they have repeated over and over again at some point they become a new habit.
After you’ve figured out what was not working, and found what will work better for you, you’re almost at the finish line. Now you’re ready to make the change or new patterns to put in place.
Here are some things that will increase the chances of you continuing your new habit:
- Think about what could be in the way of really doing the new habit. For example, you find yourself tracking your expenses on an ongoing basis. However, you find you’re not consistent with this. Action: Remind yourself why you needed to do this in the first place. How will you truly benefit from doing this? Then, how will you feel about yourself when you accomplish this?
- Next, identify those things that might not be working in your new system and need to be tweaked. With the example above, what can you do to be more consistent with the new behavior? Perhaps it’s as simple as each Saturday you check on your current spending data. You likely would have had a budget in place so you know how much to save and how much you can spend.
- Whether it’s your finances, or dating or other issues, it’s all the same. It’s recognizing and accepting that something is not working for you. Then it’s being willing to do something about it in a positive way. If something is in the way to do this, figure out what that is and fix it. For example, you worry that you won’t maintain the new habit and will be disappointed in yourself?
- One technique some people use is to have a “change buddy”. This is someone who will make you accountable for making the changes you desire. They keep you on track.
- It’s normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes with changes. If you feel you can’t do it on your own, seek guidance. No shame in asking for help. To me, it demonstrates strength in you that you believe you don’t have to know everything on your own.
Moving forward in our life can be daunting sometimes. It’s okay to ask for help. I believe the stronger we are inside, the easier it is to get help. Moving forward in life means recognizing something is not working. Then being willing to learn a better way, and finally, doing the new behaviors consistently.
Seeking professional help from a psychotherapist is a great way to move forward, especially it this task feels daunting. It’s a gutsy thing to admit we don’t know everything and need some help along the way. That’s absolutely a strength in my book!