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Stuck in an Unhappy Loop? Here’s how to Break out of the Circumstance Thinking Trap and Change Your Life: A Lesson from Groundhog Day

“Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?

Ralph: That about sums it up for me.” –Groundhog Day

Are you feeling stuck in an unsatisfying loop?

Do you wake up each day to the same depressing job, relationship, home, and financial problems?

Do you feel like you can’t change things until external circumstances change—circumstances that are totally beyond your control?

In other words, does your life feel like the movie Groundhog Day?


Don’t Wait for New Year’s—What to Do in December So You’ll Hit the Ground Running in January

We’re almost halfway through December—incredible, right? I’m finding it hard to believe the end of 2016 is in sight. The crazy all-over-the-place weather certainly didn’t help with the confusion; in Philadelphia, as in many places, this fall was a full-of-surprises game called “What Season Is It, Anyway?”

But there’s no doubt about it—here we are, closing out another year. And that means you have a powerful opportunity.

What you do in the next three weeks has the power to positively shape:

  • the value you gain from the past year (and yes, there is huuuuge value buried in there, even if it was a really tough year for you)
  • the momentum and energy with which you greet the new year
  • …and the focus, structure, and support you’ll have to get you where you want to go over the next year of your life.

Here are three concrete ways to set yourself up for a great 2017:


Getting Older Panic (Brought to You by They Might Be Giants)

Monster

Are you haunted by the Thirtysomething Panic Monster?

“You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older
And now you’re older still
Time
Is marching on
And time
Is still marching on
This day will soon be at an end and now it’s even sooner
And now it’s even sooner
And now it’s even sooner
This day will soon be at an end and now it’s even sooner
And now it’s sooner still
TIME is marching on!
And time…is still marching on!”

—They Might Be Giants, “Older”

There’s something very cathartic about hearing your tough experiences well-articulated. And I think this song articulates the experience of 3am-sit-up-in-a-sweat-OMG-where-the-hell-am-I-going-with-my-life Thirtysomething Panic pretty well. As well as the 3pm-sitting-at-my-desk-OMG-what-am-I-doing-here panic.

Did your heart rate rise a little just reading those lyrics?


Back to School for Grownups: Create Your Own Fresh Start

creative-writingWhen I was little, I LOVED laying out my school supplies for the beginning of a new school year. Fresh pencils (or, once I was in high school, pens—that transition from pencils to pens was how we knew we were cooler and more grown up)…

Spiral notebooks…

And the binders! Oh, the binders!

I LOVED the binders. (Yes, yes I am Leslie Knope.) Fresh new containers, ready to be decorated and filled, bit by bit. Empty, and thus paradoxically full of possibilities.

Do you ever miss it? That feeling of a fresh new school year? That clean-slate-fresh-start-anything-could-happen-this-year sensation?


Working on Labor Day (and What a 90something Badass Named Mother Jones Can Teach You about Thirtysomething Panic)

It’s Labor Day, a national holiday in the US, and I’m working. And feeling so grateful for that.

I considered taking the day off. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge believer in taking time off, in vacation, in rest and replenishment, in designing and maintaining boundaries between work and the rest of life that serve both of those arenas…and I took some gah-lorious time off this summer.


How to Be More Anything

MoreDo you wish you were more…SOMETHING?

More confident? More generous? More loving? More calm? More determined? More joyful? More courageous? More thoughtful?

Here’s a powerful truth I’ve found again and again in my own life and with my clients:


Are You Waiting Until You’re Comfortable?

Are you uncomfortable yet?

Are you uncomfortable yet?

Think about a problem, a question, a desired change, a toleration, or an unmade decision you’ve had in your life for a long time. (Hint: if you feel that nagging “UGH—still stuck!” feeling when you think of it, you’re on the right track.)

If you know in your head, heart, and gut what your next tiny or huge step or steps should be—if you have been contemplating forward movement for a long time, but not committing to action—ask yourself this powerful question:


On Not Liking Yourself Very Much Lately

A man is seated on the bed in a bedroom. He has his head in his hands and is looking away from the camera. Horizontally framed shot.

Do you feel not-so-crazy-about-yourself these days?

Are you seeing yourself acting again and again in a way that doesn’t line up with who or how you want to be?

When you start to recognize that it’s been a while since you felt good about yourself—like, since you thought, for the most part, yeah, I’m pretty great!—here’s a powerful turnaround for you:


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