Feb 12, 2014

Do You Feel Like a Hamster Running in a Wheel? 4 Steps to Stop the Running

Person inWheel Running
Do you feel sometimes like you’re a hamster running on a wheel and never seeming to be able to to get anywhere?  It’s exhausting, isn’t it?  That feeling of not being able to get caught up.  That feeling that you know of things that need to be done or the fear that you’re that you’re not remembering something that needs to be done.  That feeling that you’re just part of some mad scientist’s experiment.  Is there a solution to this way of life?  If so, what is it?

Here are four things you can do to rid yourself of constantly “putting out fires” and running on “the wheel”.

What you tell yourself must change.

When you use words like, should, shouldn’t, must, mustn’t, need to, have to, and supposed to, you instantly create stress.  Where there’s already stress, it’s exacerbated by using these words.  Think back to a few times where you thought something must be done.  Now, as you think about those times, how many actually had to be done in the timeframe you thought?  People who are Type “A”, “driven”, “over-achievers”, or whatever other label you want to put on them are notorious for this behavior.  This type of person needs to be the best, be recognized for accomplishments, and feel that they are in-control (if there is such a thing).  So, you can start changing your stress level by changing the words you use.  If you tell yourself that a particular item must be done and you are stressing over it, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this need to be done because someone else wants it done, or am I putting stress on myself to get it done?
  • What will really happen if it’s not done in the timeframe I, or someone else, think it should be?
  • Can the timeframe be negotiated?
  • Are there options to getting it done?
  • Can help be enlisted?

If you are a Type “A”, some of these questions don’t resonate with you.  Why?  Because you should, must, have-to-be the best.  Which brings me to the second way to help take pressure and stress off.

Decide what’s really important

When I ask my clients what’s really important to them, I usually get the standard answers: family, friends, personal time, etc.  If that’s truly what’s important, then why is the person behaving the way they are?  Their behavior is so loud that I can’t hear what they’re saying!  It’s like people who say that they don’t have the money for (you fill in the blank).  People will always find the time or the money for something they sincerely want.  Let me give you a couple of examples.  I charge a fair price for my services considering that what I do is dramatically change people’s lives for the better.  Sometimes when I tell someone what I charge for a session for smoking, they tell me they can’t afford it.  It costs them a minimum of $10,000 per year to be a smoker than a non-smoker.  And, they have a high likelyhood that it will kill them.  So, what’s really important?  Their behavior tells you.  One more example.  People say they want to lose weight.  The price to admission to have a lean, strong, healthy body is eating right and exercising.  But, for many, the cost is too high.  Their behavior is so loud that you can’t hear what they’re saying.

The same is true of being stressed about getting things done.  If your family, friends, personal time, etc. are important to you, then why is work, or whatever you’re preoccupied with, always on your mind?  Why do you bring it home with you?  Why do you yell at the husband/wife and the kids when you get home and create a growing chasm?  Remember, they’re the most important things in life to you.  The very thing you say is most important are the things you’re driving away.

Make a to-do list and prioritize it

I know you’ve heard it before, but the question is, do you do it?  “Sure.  I make a mental list and…”  Stop right there.  That’s a very typical answer from a Type “A” person.  Type “A’s” don’t have time to make the to-do list, let alone prioritize it.  They’re in too big of a hurry being stressed!  I’ll make this guarantee to you:  If you make the list and prioritize it, your life will instantly become much more strategically managed, which means you will feel a sense of control in your life.  I’m not going to get into how to do a to-do list and prioritize it.  There is plenty of “time-managemt” information available.  I do want to cover one more item and it may very well be the most important.

Create Values, Mission, and Vision Statements

Business people regularly create statements of the values they hold important, the mission (reason for existance) of their company, and the vision of what their company will accomplish in the long-term future.  Most individuals don’t.  As I work with clients, one of the first things I have them do is to go through the process of creating a personal statement for all three areas.  Why?  Because it helps them to get to know who they are.  Who they really are.  No one else looking on to judge.  No fanfare to cause them to make the statements something they’re not.  The exercise is, in itself, a journey of introspection and enlightenment.  You see, many people, maybe even you, don’t know who they are.  They don’t know what’s important to them (Values).  They don’t know their purpose and reason for being here (Mission).  They don’t have a clue beyond what they think they want to possess as to what they want their future to be (Vision).

By actively using each of these four items, you will see dramatic and massive changes happen quickly in your life because you will know who you are, what is truly important to you, why you are here, and where you are going.  The congruency and alignment this brings about will put you back in control and stop the “wheel” from spinning out of control!