Overcome feeling stuck and overwhelmed by using these 5 steps.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you are trying to learn something new, or accomplish something you’ve never done before?
Over the past 29 years, I have done a pretty decent job at never seeing anything through to completion. Once the project gets hard, I usually find some way to deviate or change course altogether. The only pattern I’ve maintained is letting the overwhelmed feeling stop me in my tracks.
I generally have not been someone to push forward. There have been a few hard hikes, a couple term papers, and maybe all of university in general, but I’m talking about the important things, those desires that come from my soul, like starting this blog.
If you read my intro post, you will know that I have never done anything like this. I have called myself a writer for decades, but I’ve only completed maybe 20 pieces in total. (And that includes the two-stanza poems.) I have wanted to make an impact and create a legacy, but I shied away from almost any opportunity where I would really have that chance.
A big part of avoiding accomplishing anything comes from letting that overwhelmed feeling win. Things get hard, complicated, there’s a question I can’t answer, and I convince myself I don’t really want this anyways.
But the whole point of giving ourselves permission to fail is overcoming that feeling when things get difficult.
Permission to fail is about not letting the doubts or the fears overpower your desire to succeed.
It is about knowing that it’s ok to not know the answer to everything, especially when it is something completely brand new to you. It is about trusting in the process, and knowing that if you keep pushing forward there is no other option, literally, than to accomplish whatever you want. And it is about trusting your intuition; it will guide you exactly where you need to be.
I thought I was alone in this for the longest time, but then I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and she talks about how she always goes through a stage where she wishes she never engaged with the idea at all. And she’s an actual, successful published author. So no matter how frustrated you feel, how overwhelmed you may be, or how completely in your doubts you are, remember that we all go through this when we’re really pursuing greatness.
And in the end, it comes down to how badly you really want whatever it is you are working towards, and right now, I really want this.
Because of that, and this pushing forward concept being something entirely new to me, I have been tightly holding onto some strategies that help keep feeling overwhelmed at bay.
5 Ways to Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed
Overcome Overwhelm Step 1: Don’t Give Up
Sometimes this is easier said than done, but just think about it logically. If you give up, there is literally no chance you will succeed.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”Theodore Roosevelt
If you keep learning and keep trying, then the only possible outcome is that you will learn more. I know it sounds repetitive, but it’s just what happens. Be kind to yourself when you are in this moment.
Take a break if you need to, but remember that if you really want this, your only option is to move forward. Unless you don’t want to succeed, but I don’t think you would be reading this if that were the case!
Overcome Overwhelm Step 2: Break It Down into Small Steps
If you don’t already have an outline of your goals, make one here. Once you have an action plan developed, take the step you are at, and break it down to even smaller steps. No matter how clearly you might have your steps laid out, you can only tackle so much at once. If you feel overwhelmed break those steps down.
The Book Example
When you write a book, you don’t just sit down and write one large paragraph all at once. You write it chapter by chapter. You probably even outline it first, and maybe write bits of chapters before finishing each one. Each chapter usually has some sort of introduction, middle, and conclusion…once you put it all together, you have a chapter. And then that chapter is just part of a book you are writing, and the next thing you know, that book is done.
Just like how my daughter still has to crawl up the stairs (no matter how hard she tries to take them two at a time), we sometimes have to take tiny steps forward.
And hey, tiny steps are better than no steps!
Overcome Overwhelm Step 3: Listen to Your Intuition
I’m going to shout this one because it is that important:
To do lists do not have to be numbered!!
If you are at the next step in your process and it is just not aligning, put that step to the side and work on something else. It will need to get done at some point, but maybe now is not the right time. Let me be clear, this isn’t avoidance. When you put it to the side, you are not walking away from it. Make clear that you know that step is important, and you are willing to put in the work, but you are not able to give it your best work at this present moment.
The Book Example, continued
If we continue with the book example above, your next step might be to complete a specific chapter. Instead you can’t find your way past it, you keep deleting everything you write, rethinking everything, and you just cannot find the right words.
Rather than driving yourself crazy, tell that chapter you’ll be back. It’s not ready for you yet. Maybe you just got a brainstorm for your epilogue. Switch gears and focus on what is flowing for you right here, right now.
Give yourself the space you need to adjust. Reevaluate, shift perspectives, and forgive anything that you might be using to hold yourself back.
Overcome Overwhelm Step 4: Trust Your Why
This step always seems to come up, doesn’t it?
Without your why, you wouldn’t even be here in the first place.
Check in with yourself, let your intuition speak, and know that even if it feels hard right now, you are doing this because it is a part of your soul that needs to be heard.
Ways to Check In With Your Why:
- Go For A Walk
- Talk to a close friend or partner
- Pray (to whatever is your guiding force)
Overcome Overwhelm Step 5: Ask for Help
I know for me, one of the biggest reasons I felt overwhelmed and would walk away from something is because I never once considered asking someone for help or advice. We have the entire internet at our fingertips.
Finding help is as easy as typing into google.
And I promise you, I have googled everything, including “how to not feel overwhelmed.” So, if that’s how you found this post, I feel you. And that’s amazing that you took a step to ask for help!
Other Ways to Find Assistance:
- Take a class, or an online course
- Ask someone you know who is experienced in what you are trying to do
- Find Facebook Groups
- Read a book related to your goal
- Shout your problem out into the universe, you never know what might come back!
You can do this!
Feeling overwhelmed when you are trying to accomplish something new can be a hard feeling to get past. But, we know that we will never really experience growth if we don’t push beyond what we have already mastered. Try out these strategies, and one day you will look back and barely even remember how that felt hard for you in the first place.
How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed?
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Did any of these steps help you move a little bit past it? What have you done before, or are you like me where pushing forward is a relatively new concept?