can often lead to a HUGE difference in moving our lives forward.  When we find ourselves at a crossroads, stuck, clueless, and confused, we often freeze and feel paralyzed in our situation.  A frequent crossroads in today’s world is the need to analyze available information to make a decision—what to eat, which school to attend, what job to pursue, what car to buy, etc.  We are absolutely inundated in this society with information.  There’s a podcast for anything your heart desires.  Knowledge is at the tip of our fingers through internet search engines, and Alexa, Siri, or some other voice-activated assistant is ready to answer our latest queries.  While this on-demand access can be advantageous at times, it can also leave us swimming in a myriad of options.


We all experience crossroad situations in life. Sometimes, a good and wise move is to stop, slow things down, and try to integrate our thoughts and feelings to evaluate where we stand.  Sometimes we need to press forward on the current path to reach the goal.  Other times, we need to reset, change direction, and take a step on a new path.   The following three exercises are helpful to focus the brain on the vision you seek to embrace and to help you make at least ONE MOVE from indecision to direction.  


Embrace the Opposite 

When you are in a space of feeling prolonged feelings of sadness*, bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, etc., challenge yourself to experience and feel the opposite.  If you have been sad for a long period of time, try to be happy for yourself (or for someone else-if you initially resist being personally joy-filled).  If you are jealous, make an effort to genuinely admire something in yourself or others, or practice being content with what you have. 


Ask yourself the following questions:


1)   How much longer do I need to feel or express this sadness, bitterness, anger, resentment, or jealousy?

2)   How can I release some of this negativity and embrace more positivity? 

3)   What of this baggage am I willing to release?  What can I gain by releasing it? 

4)   When I let go of the negativity, what do I want to allow in? 

5)   What is ONE step I can take today to embrace the opposite of my negativity?


Identify What You Do and Don’t Want and Leave a Legacy

Our family has had a particularly trying year, and my husband and I have wrestled with how to move forward from it.  Countless times, I can recall my husband asking me, “What is it that you want?”  I toyed with the idea of a move, a trip, etc., but that wasn’t at all what I was really desiring.  It took some time to really focus on what I value, what I don’t desire in my life, and what I hope my legacy will be.  


Sometimes, we can more easily identify the things that bother us or we “don’t” want to continue.  In my coaching work, clients often report what troubles them in their workplaces or relationships.  For example, “I’m tired of being underappreciated.”  “I’m sick of feeling exhausted, and I’m bored with the lack of challenge.”  When this happens, we reframe the situation to visualize what the client does want so the brain hears what is desired and not what the client seeks to avoid.  So, an important next step once the problem is pinpointed is to verbalize the solution and new vision in the affirmative. For example, “I seek a relationship with mutual appreciation and support.”  “I desire energy and excitement for my work and my family, and I require appropriate challenge in my life to continue to learn and develop.”    


Move from “I’m tired of being underappreciated.”   TO


“I seek a relationship of mutual appreciation and support.”


Move from “I’m sick of feeling exhausted.”   TO


“I desire energy and excitement for my work and my family.”


Move from “I’m bored with the lack of challenge in my life.”  TO


“I require appropriate challenge in my life to continue to learn and develop.”


Although a bit morbid, it is also helpful to think about what you want people to say when your life is over.  How did you live on this earth, and what legacy do you seek to leave?  After a year filled with fear and fatigue, I desire a legacy that includes our family enjoying many more meaningful and fun moments together!



1)     Name 3 things that I DON’T desire in my life.


(e.g.) Worry about things I haven’t done yet





2)    Reframe those 3 things above to the affirmative to note what I 
DO desire in my life.

(e.g.) Be grateful for what I have accomplished and focus on one thing I feel very motivated to complete this year.





3)    Name 3 other things I DO desire for my life.





4)    In one sentence, what is my desired legacy?  



5)    What is ONE thing I can do TODAY to support the things I DO want in my life?


Pay Attention to Things Outside of Yourself

Overthinking often results when we are stuck, and this can lead to isolation and analysis paralysis.  Sometimes the best antidote to resetting ourselves is to look outside of our personal worlds.  Make it a point to connect with a friend or family member, compliment a stranger, pray, help out someone in your community, or walk in nature and be present.  When we feel pressure and urgency for something to change, we can sometimes artificially inflate its stress and importance. By investing in someone else and their current situations or being more present in the moment with ourselves or God, we can often come to our own challenges with fresher eyes, new insights, and clearer perspective.


1)   Take a walk.   Life is often busy, and many people have no time to really hear themselves.  Spend 20-30 minutes or more outside and take in your surroundings.  Notice nature, people around you, and other sights and sounds of daily life. 

2)    Listen to someone else talk about their life.   Engage a friend, family member, colleague, or stranger in conversation. Find out how they are doing. Really listen and ask questions to understand their situation.  Listen more than you talk.


3)    Identify ONE way that you can “pay it forward.”  Take some time to think about how others have helped you in life.  Reflect on the impact of those investments on you.  Come up with one way you can use your personal skills, talents, or resources to contribute to someone else’s life.  


What is your ONE move?


Do one thing at a time, and while doing it put your whole soul into it
to the exclusion of all else.

~Swami Vivekananda


Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. 
But one thing I do:  
forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3: 13-14


*If you are experiencing depression and/or chronic feelings of loneliness, please ask for help and seek the aid of a doctor or mental health professional.


Related References


Keller, G. & Papasan, J.  (2013).  The one thing:  The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.  Bard Press.








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