Ceasing stagnation

Stagnation is not a country filled with male reindeer. It is where there is a lack of movement, such as your life going nowhere. This can be due to not doing anything, or doing the same things in a closed circle repeating loop.

It is all well and good finding that you have stagnated, but how do you break it? How do you start moving when you have stopped, and how to you find a direction so that you no longer travel in small circles?

The answer to this is to find a goal you want to achieve.

Let us pause to understand the goal. The point of the goal is to head you somewhere other than where you are. To achieve this goal, you will have to change those habits that have lead to stagnation, those aspects of your life that have lead to immobility, and probably some or all of your friends, who enable this lack of movement.

So this goal must be pretty impressive to make you want to put all this work in.

To find an impressive goal, an inspirational destination, it is important to include emotional elements in the goal. Each of us has a key emotion that we are trying to find – love, comfort, joy, safety, self importance and so on. The goal must be a physical means of attaining this emotion in abundance. Often when we talk about goals, it is things like “get a job” or “move out” or “be around more people”. These are often given to get people off our backs and look like we are doing something. Sometimes these are goals we actually want, but we don’t know why we want them.

To examine the goal “get a job”. What is it about the job that you want? Is it going to a work place? Is it the money? Is it the structure? Is it… and what about those aspects contains the feeling you are hoping to get? If it is the going to a work place, is it because you don’t want to be home? This may mean aspects of safety or discomfort. If it is the money, does money represent freedom, status, power…?

Understanding the emotion behind the stated goals can help us understand why these goals are important to us.

For some, there is no clear indication of what we might want. That is fine. Instead of working backwards from the goal to the emotion, we can start with the emotion and work forwards to the goal.

To begin this process, consider what you have now and it will tell you what you want. Part of this assessment includes physical things, such as shelter, availability of food, physical health and other very basic needs. There is little point talking to a dying person about there relationship with their mother when you should be putting pressure on a gaping wound! So addressing these basic needs is fundamental, but should not be the only focus.

The next focus in understanding where you are is to look at the people you rely on and those who rely on you. This can give you a good idea about balance, give and take, and if you actually like this part of your situation.

Once the shape of your current physical and social being is known, the next things to focus on is your current emotional being. I don’t mean current as in right this second, I mean as a trend over time. Consider the basic questions of “are you happy”? If you are happy and content, why change?

The odds are though, especially if you are reading this, you aren’t happy and content. You itch to change, and something is up that prompts you to do this. So look at yourself and work out what emotion is the dominant one. Do you feel safe? Do you feel loved? Do you feel worthy of receiving good things? Can you accept compliments? There are a whole stack of questions that can help elicit the fundamental emotions behind your current state of being. There is a fair chance that a negative emotions is dominant. It may even be hiding behind depression or some other confounding state. It is important to figure it out.

Once you have established the dominant emotion, this gives an indication of your goal. For example, if your dominant emotion is fear, then your goal is safety. If it is grief, then your goal is securing joy in what is here. If it is anger, then it is to change the status of power. If it is sadness, then your goal is to re-discover joy.

Sometimes it is hard to find a dominant emotion as there are no emotions. That is okay. Your goal is quite likely to be to find your emotions.

Once you have a basic idea of what your goal needs to feel like, you can start to create physical representations of those goals. That is, when I am safe, my world looks like… When I feel joy in what I have, I am … etc. This gives the basis for something to aim for, something to gauge the changes you are going to make. After all, if you want to change your life, you need to make changes in your life.