Stuck in a rutWho would have thought that Jamie Lee Curtis, the funny and sexy actress in the movie A Fish Called Wanda would be handing out clues for how to live a meaningful life. During a recent airplane flight I picked up an article about Jamie that got me thinking about how to shed ill-fitting, old ways of being and shift toward a juicier life that could lead to making a bigger impact on the world.

Jamie is a woman who has had both successes and failures in the first half of her life. She’s evolved as an actress during a 30-year career, struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and now enjoys her relationships with her husband and children. Jamie acknowledged that in reaching her 50’s she’s facing physical and psychological changes and that she wants to live the next phase of her life in as fulfilling a way as possible. She feared that she would become a “creature of habit” and “calcify”. Through introspection she’s learned that what’s most important in moving forward is to challenge her old ways of thinking and constantly evolve.

stuck in the mudImagine what it would be like for you to get unstuck from your habitual ways of viewing of the world that no longer serve you … and to do it with a sense of adventure for what today might bring as well as what’s new down the road ahead!

Are you feeling calcified? If it’s time to get unstuck and shed those old ways of being, here’s a few clues to get you out of that rut and back on the road toward a new direction.

  1. Introspection. Like Jamie, first take a look at the part(s) of your life where you’re stuck and get clear about what’s important.

  2. Do One Thing Differently. Big changes can start with small steps. The key is picking something that’s juicy and has meaning. Here are some places to look for new, more passionate activities.

    • Change Your Routine. Let’s say you’re looking for more sparkle, more joy, more playfulness in your life. Pick one time in your daily schedule and do something different that has the quality that you want to bring in. One good place to look is how you begin or end parts of your day.I recently found myself craving more joy and inspiration. Instead of picking up the newspaper with my morning coffee I’ve started spending that time in the garden, observing what flowers have bloomed, checking whether the hummingbirds have returned and plotting out what plants will get my attention on my next gardening day. I find that making this small change shifts me into a positive, creative frame of mind that carries into the rest of my day.

    • Be of Service. A good friend once told me, the best way to get out of your own way is to do something for someone who is in greater need than you. Maybe it’s time for you to experience more meaning in your life through taking actions that will contribute and make the positive impact you want on your family, your colleagues, your community, the environment, or another part of the globe. How about writing a letter to that elderly relative who taught you a love of gardening, letting her know how important it has been to you? Perhaps it’s time to share your gratitude in words to your coworkers, clients or a colleague who is always available for advice or consultation. Or maybe you’re concerned about the greenhouse effect and there are some steps you can take that will contribute to reducing or reversing your carbon footprint.

  3. Schedule it! Set a time frame for taking the action and schedule specific time(s) when you’ll act.

    • If you’re creating a new habit, remember that it takes between 21 and 30 days to make it a new routine. Commit to yourself to take on that new practice for a month and evaluate what you’ve gained.

    • When choosing a new meaningful activity, whether it’s setting an energizing new routine or being of service, set some times aside that will allow you to focus on them. Make sure to hold their place in your schedule in the same way as any other important activity. Use the tools that you know work for you, such as a day timer, calendar on your cell phone, or other time management tool.

Watch how taking on a few consciously chosen steps increases your aliveness, creates more meaning and even more impact on you and the world around you.