If only you were less stressed, had more free time, felt better in general or with respect to a certain life area—what changes would now you make in your life? In my practice as a psychologist, I frequently hear people talking about waiting until they feel better, for example, to do something they’ve been wanting to; such as beginning the process of a career change or dealing with a glaring relationship issue. What do you tell yourself you’d do or change if only some ongoing state in your life were different? Perhaps you’d start dating or redo your resume, but believe that now isn’t the right time because you’re feeling down. Maybe in your case, you’d try a new hobby or take on a home project, but instead you postpone it because you’ve been feeling too anxious or overwhelmed. If any of these things resonate, ask yourself this simple question: “If not now, when?”
This is a fact: What you have the least direct control of are your feelings and emotions. What you do have control over are your behaviors, or the things you choose to do. In other words, if you wait for an emotion to change before taking some important action in your life, you could be waiting a very long time!
So the best question to ask yourself is why won’t I do it now? What beliefs do you have that are holding you back and keeping you from making a change or doing something you’ve been wanting to do? Maybe you’re thinking “I can’t do it,” “I’ll wait until it’s easy,” or “I must be certain I won’t fail.” Perhaps you’re believing “I must do it perfectly,” or “I need others to approve of my new life choices.” Such beliefs, however, are not helpful. All they will do is keep you stuck in that rut. If you don’t try taking piano lessons, you’ll never know how much playing the piano could have added to your quality of life. If you wait until someone else pushes to you to go on a date, you may miss a potential long-term opportunity with a great person, or even just a fun night out.
The time to break out of the rut is now! So begin by choosing that one thing you’ve been waiting to accomplish and make an irrevocable commitment to start doing it now. As a bonus, once you do what you’ve set out to, it’s very likely that the positive emotions—which are now eluding you— will follow. Nothing can beat the rewards that come when you take control of your life and make the decision to move forward. Today is the day to stop holding yourself and just go for it!