Stuck in Neutral

Using SMART Goals to break mental stalls

Our unfortunate technical interruption has actually provided me with an opportunity for some introspection. My original plan was to write blog posts for the days that I was unable to access Misdirected – to get ahead, as it were.

Yeah, THAT went about as well as you are guessing.

Unable To Move Forward

I have found myself in a curious position the last couple of weeks. I have been rushing from project to project, but have been unable to make much headway in any of them. My weight loss numbers got a bit sabotaged. I have been stuck on week 4 of my C25K program for 2 weeks, unable to finish the final day. I have written fragments of several fiction and non-fiction pieces, but have been unable to actually finish any of them.

As I told Lor – I feel like I am in a car with the accelerator pressed all the way to the floor, with the transmission stuck in neutral.

Stalls Aren’t Just For Weight Loss

By now, everyone is familiar with the term “stall”. It refers to weight sticking at a certain point, no matter what a person does to try to lose it. I am discovering that stalls apparently apply to personal and emotional life as well as weight loss. Who knew?

There is simply an obstacle of some kind, preventing me from making progress in any significant area in my life. Attempting to overcome it is frustrating, exasperating, and maddening as hell. It does not appear to be a symptom of depression: I have been previously diagnosed with depression, and know what that feels like. I don’t think it is related to my seizures, or my diet, or major life changes. This is nothing more than a rock that I keep banging my head against, waiting for it to move.

The SMART Solution

So, instead of chasing my metaphorical tail, I will attempt to apply some new-found knowledge. My ACE Personal Trainer curriculum suggests that development of workout routines for clients must be based on “SMART” goals. This means that goals must be:


So, instead of saying “I want to lose more weight,”, I would instead say “I want to exercise 30 minutes a day every day this week.” This goal is specific, it is measurable, it is attainable, it gives both time and results expected.

Mind you, I already exercise 30 minutes (or more) a day, but this seemed like a good example.

In my case, I will stop flitting from project to project, and instead, will make a SMART goal for the week: “I will write 30 minutes a day on Chapter 1 of ‘Learning┬áTo Live In The Dark.'”

Specific? Yup, pretty specific.

Measurable? Yeah, I own several stopwatch programs.

Attainable? I could create 30 minutes a day just by not looking at Facebook and Huffington Post every day. ­čÖé

Results-Focused? I tend to write about 2,000 words an hour. 30 minutes a day, therefore, would work out to about 7,000 words for Chapter 1 of my book: almost an entire chapter.

Time-Focused? Yup, I have committed to doing this for 1 week.

The Proof Will Be In The Pudding

Will I manage it? Only time will tell. But I have to admit that even having a focused goal feels better that the chaos I have been creating recently. I will let everyone know how it goes.

Anyone else out there have any great tips for pushing through these mental stalls?

Ready To Get Moving,


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