Most of you will have very good intentions when it comes to exercising and keeping fit.
Some of you will have good habits and may be regular runners, swimmers or gym goers.
But I suspect that everyone reading with this will, at some stage, have fallen out of their exercise routine or got sidetracked by competing activities.
A busy work schedule, an injury or simply feeling lazy leads to several weeks (or months) without working out or visiting to the gym. Very soon you’re caught in a rut whilst promising yourself that “I’ll get back to the gym from Monday”- but Monday never comes.
The same thing often happens in our working lives and careers too.
You may well be focused on finding a new job, changing careers or achieving that elusive work-life balance. But it only takes a few busy weeks, a couple of set-backs or distractions and you find yourself doing pretty much nothing to progress your career (…even though you may be able to convince others that you’re “working hard” at it – when really, you know you’re not doing as much as you can).
Here are 3 simple steps to get out of a rut; three ways to get your career or fitness routine back on track:
1. Start small
If you haven’t exercised in weeks (or months), telling yourself that “..from Monday I’m going to run 30 minutes every morning” is pointless because you probably won’t do it. And if you do, you won’t stick to it beyond the second week (trust me, I’ve tried it!).
You’re more likely to start on Monday if you start small – a 20 minute walk or a light run a couple of times a week to get you back into the routine and build up your fitness levels and the habit gradually.
The same applies to your career. If you want to kick-start your networking or job search activities once again, then make it easy for yourself by committing to meeting just one person next week instead of five people.
Decide to call a warm contact rather than someone you’re slightly anxious about calling (regardless of how ‘good’ a contact they are). Register your details with one job site instead of all of them. And then build up gradually each week.
When you commit to starting small, you’re more likely to take that first step. And it’s that first step which gives you a small sense of achievement and begins to you give you momentum.
2. Stop Being A Perfectionist
When you start small, that voice in your head says “….you won’t get fit with a 20 minute walk – what a waste of time!” or “what’s the point of having a coffee with him? – he can’t help you get a move into the right role!”
But getting fit or accelerating your career requires you to take action on a consistent basis. Something you can’t do when you’re waiting to plan out the perfect exercise routine, do a ‘proper work out’ or wait for the ‘right time’ to have a conversation with a contact or follow up on a lead.
So quit trying to be perfect – and focus on being successful. Just get started – make that call, apply for that imperfect job, book that first meeting with your boss (even though you haven’t worked out what to say), send off that CV or resume (even though it’s not perfect).
Once you’re into your stride, you can then improve and increase your activity levels to create the results you want. Something you can’t do whilst sitting around being a perfectionist.
3. Create some accountability
In order to kick-start an exercise routine, many people require some kind of accountability to get started. A training buddy, a fitness instructor or team mates to hold them accountable to getting to the gym or going for that run (even when they don’t feel like it).
Similarly, with your career, you may need a colleague, friend, mentor or coach to keep you accountable in pushing through with the actions you know you need to take (but keep procrastinating about). To gently push you out of your comfort zone to ensure that you get the results you want.
Yes you can do it on your own, but often it usually takes much longer to make progress. And the longer you wait, the harder it becomes.
Whether you’re trying to get your body or your career into a healthy state, we all get into rut and need a gentle kick-start sometimes. But taking the 3 steps above will help you get back into the routine and start building momentum once again.
Are You Stuck In A Rut?
If you’re looking for some help in kick-starting your career and moving forward with finding a new role, shifting careers or being much more successful in your current role, drop me an email.
To set up a no obligation phone call to get acquainted and discuss how I can possibly help you moving forward much quicker than you would on your own, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.