The beginning was super strong. You launched the project, calendared the deadlines, showed up to the meetings, created the mood board, completed the workout…You sowed the seeds of an ambitious new routine. But now one of two things is likely happening.
You’re stuck staring at the soil, tapping your feet, biting your nails, still waiting to see the real results of your labor. "Maybe I should try something else? “ Or…
You’ve seen a tiny sprout - the renewed productivity, the glowing of the skin - you got hype and now you’re thinking about taking a day or two off. “I just don’t feel like it today”
Don’t fall for it. It’s a trap. I know because I’ve been a victim so many times.
Yes…that was me killing it at eating clean, who looked in the mirror, saw the whisper of an ab and decided to celebrate by pissing the rest of the week’s planned disciplines away. A week became a month, and before I knew it I had self-loathed myself back into a corner with my old ways. Safely nestled in the comfort zone, but not where I wanted to be.
And yes, that was also me, who set up weekly writing sessions in hopes of getting more work done and conveniently forgot to reschedule when one of my collaborators cancelled last-minute. Soon after, I had quietly given up on maintaining a creative schedule because I felt like one too many factors were out of my control.
Our brains are so clever at keeping us locked into what we’re used to. After all, our egos have a deep-seated interest in keeping things the same. Sameness breeds comfort, complacency, and a sense of protection. What sameness does not breed is true growth, power, and abundance. If that’s what you’re after, you have to put in the work.
So let’s do it. Here are five tips I’m using right now to push through plateau-season and get to the other side of sameness.
Forgive yourself. Do what you can. After years of trying to follow every rule to perfection, I’m finally learning how to make adjustments to my process based on what actually works for me. It’s like cooking without strict measurements - season to taste. If waking up at 6 AM doesn’t work for me, I wake up at 8. If spending more than four hours inside the studio drains me, I’ll take a break. If I’m not feeling 500 words, I’ll start with 50. As long as I continue to show up every day, a muscle is getting worked. Consistency over everything.
Even though falling off the wagon sucks, it’s no longer an excuse to stay down. Some days are just off, and on those days I’m telling myself that half-assing is better than no-assing. Keep it simple in service of the bigger picture.
Visualize the new you. There’s a future me looking back at the current me saying “what’s good?” Future me has a new mindset. Future me is three months sober. Future me is detached from unhealthy relationships. Future me is using joy and the power of positive thinking to game the system. It may feel corny for current me to say it, but future me doesn’t care.
Double-down on the good stuff. Whenever I miss a few days writing in my accomplishment journal I make sure to go back and finish my entries - even if it means 4x the work. If I’ve skipped a workout sometimes I’ll put in two sessions the next day to catch up. And I’ll put an inspirational talk on repeat over and over if I’m really needing that message. To be clear, this isn’t out of guilt or punishment, but to remind myself that I can actually do more than I think. The confidence of being extra in my completion gets me back on track.
Connect The Dots. I’ve started paying attention to the lifestyle patterns that lead me closer to the things I want with ease. For example, when I’m in the kitchen eating breakfast over the sink it’s usually a great time to reach over and pre-heat the oven. Before I’m out the door, I will have already roasted up some vegetables I can use for that night’s dinner instead of draining my food budget with Uber Eats. When you can hack into some positive triggers and start intentionally placing those throughout your day it’s like engaging both the domino effect and the path of least resistance at the same damn time. And I love a 2-for-1.
Five-second rule. I’m painfully over-thoughtful sometimes when it comes to taking action, so I’ve tried to implement a five-second rule with certain decisions I need to make. Today I was in the middle of reading a book and it came to mind that I should call my manager for a quick question. I almost hesitated by running through all of the possible scenarios. “I should finish this page first.” “What if they don’t pick up?” “Should I text instead?” “Maybe after lunch?” “Maybe I’ll wait ‘til after the weekend?” Implementing the five-second rule allowed me to skip the drama and get to the point. Two seconds to put the book down. Two seconds to pick up the phone. One second to tap the call button. Done and done. I was back to the rest of my day in no less than 2 minutes and the best part is I didn’t have to carry the weight of this simple task around all day.
Now that I’ve laid out my inner dialogue for the internet to observe, how about you? How do you deal with plateaus in reaching goals when you’re no longer feeling the momentum?