The Major Reason You are Stuck: 4 Ways to Break Free

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It was my fifth day lying in bed, my worse bout of depression yet. The movie reel of my life’s woes played on repeat. I transported back to my childhood experiences with a drug-addicted mother; I relived the pain of failed relationships. One horrible memory played after the other. As I wallowed in my self-pity, a clear and crisp voice said, “Get up, you are not a victim.”

The declaration evoked a self-truth: I am a fighter. At that moment, I chose to battle for my life. If you are a personal development junkie like me, you may have heard of this success principle: Take 100% responsibility. Jack Canfield in one of my favorite books, The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, provides a useful formula to illustrate this idea:

Event + Reaction = Outcome

There will be aspects of our lives that we cannot control: an illness, a loss, or an unexpected setback. However, one item always under our control is our response. Those two factors combined, the event & our reaction, impact the outcome. And the outcome determines if the situation negatively or positively alters our lives. Meaning, Does the situation tear you down or does it foster growth?

Within three months of adapting this mindeset, I improved my moods and shed 30lbs. Most importantly, I felt like my old self: Strong, Beautiful and Unstoppable. You can have this success. These four steps will help you reclaim your life:

1) Focus on what you can control

You may not be able to control the event, but there are aspects of your situation that you can influence. Learning new information or seeking help from your network are two resources (information & people) easily at your disposal. Here are few suggestions for common situations.

If you have a health concern, read related books to understand your problem and the best remedies for your symptoms. If you are dealing with emotional dilemmas, find a therapist to help you through it. If a home situation overwhelms you, ask a good friend or family member to babysit.

Take Action: Make a list of three resources to help your situation. Within the next week, implement one of them.

2) Remember Your Strengths

When we face setbacks, we often fall into victimhood. Something is always happening “to” us. Victims are powerless; they are helpless. Undeniably, something has happened to you, but you don’t have to succumb to it. To move past victimhood, tap into existing skills and strengths. Many times we’re unaware of our skillsets. One solution is analyze past victories to discover personal strengths. So, choose a recent success and ask yourself, How did I fix that problem? How can that skill help me now?

Take Action: Make a list of your top 3 skills and strengths; describe how they can help you now.

3) Forgive Yourself

Inevitably, as we think about overcoming our setbacks, they remind us of the causes. Like me, you recall the poor choices, and  as a result, you’re a failure. However, negative thoughts reduced self-confidence and resilience- which is the ability to bounce back from setbacks. Understand this, those choices are not who you are. Yes, you thought they were in your best interests. Know this, if you focus on the past, you deny your present. Also, ruminating on negativity leads to depression.

The alternative is self-forgiveness. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know how to do that. Self-forgiveness begins with extending kindness to your self. It’s simple, but requires dedication.

Take Action:Make a list of three ways you can love yourself this week (i.e. Make a list of your 10 best assets; take a warm bubble bath; participate in your favorite activity)

4) Follow Your Intuition

With all the mental clutter in our daily lives, it’s difficult to clearly hear our thoughts. To counter the noise, find a quiet place. Then, sit still and focus on your breathing. As you mind clears,  ask specific questions to guide your meditation. For example, How can I love myself today?  Your spirit will guide you to the correct answer. Our spirits resembles a still small inner voice; it appears  a small whisper or a clear thought. Trust yourself to when a given direction is best. What a hint? It will create  inner peace and joy.

Take Action: Write down what your intuition is telling you in this moment.


Implementing these steps will build your resilience. As you work to conquer this setback, you will create a recovery method for future situations. Taking 100% responsibility is the first step to reviving your life. What step will you take today?




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