The Hamster Wheel
Have you ever felt like you were on a hamster wheel? Running around, working hard, sacrificing only to feel like you’re on a wheel going in circles? It’s as though we’re going nowhere but still giving our very best…and it’s exhausting. It happens in our relationships, in our careers and in our everyday lives. We all get into a routine, a rut, a plateau. It becomes about survival. We’re in the weeds. We get caught up in the all the details. So how do we stop going in circles?
Getting off the wheel
It’s time to get off the wheel. You have to start by identifying and taking control of the situation. Being in control is powerful, and at times scary, but remember you’re driving this bus and only you can control getting off the wheel.
When I feel like a hamster, it’s usually because I need to slow down and refocus on my long-term goals.The bigger picture is out of focus, it’s blurry and needs a new filter. I get wrapped up in ALL the details at once and I get overwhelmed. That’s when I hit the STOP button and make a SHiFT.
And that’s exactly what you need to do when you get overwhelmed— SHiFT they way you’re looking at things. Step outside and clear your head. Get in a workout and sweat, take a nap, meditate or do yoga, talk with your friends. Create the inner confidence that you are in control of your life and know what you truly want.
EXTRA TIP: Focus on small wins
While we always need to keep our big picture goals in mind, sometimes focusing on small wins can keep us on the right path. Make mini goals that will take less time, so that they all add up to your big picture goal.
Are your actions working? Probably not because if they were, we wouldn’t be on the wheel (myself included). When what we’re doing isn’t working, that’s a red flag that it’s time to SHiFT. If we want a different result we need to act differently. Start by writing down your action items, and make sure they are manageable and realistic.
Once we learn to slow down and see the bigger picture we realize we have options. We move out of survival mode and into possibility mode. We’re able to take a breath and look at our options. We’ve all been told there are many ways to the top of the mountain and as we say at SHiFT….just keep moving in the right direction. Choose, commit, own your path, regardless of where it might take you.
Although I consider myself to be the ultimate optimistic, I know that it can’t always be sunshine and surfing. The hamster wheel is part of life and that’s ok. Take the time to acknowledge where you’re at—and equally important, know where you want to go. Our strength comes in our struggles. Ultimately, challenging ourselves in different ways will essentially make us better at what we want to be great at and get us off the hamster wheel.