3 Steps to Fight Overwhelm and Get Back on Track

We always start out so motivated and excited when we have a new idea. We’re so excited that we don’t even mind taking the extra time to get organized, define our interim achievements and create an action plan. Once we have a roadmap, success feels certain. We visualize how much better our life can be after we reach our goal. We hold that vision steady.

Then, life happens. Suddenly, some other aspect of our life takes precedence and we lose our vision. Perhaps another part of our business needs attention. Maybe a kid gets sick. Or maybe something breaks and becomes a distraction: our car breaks down, our water heater stops working, our accountant missed something with our taxes. Fill in the blank.    

Without even realizing it, our goal stops motivating and exciting. Our goal becomes another energy suck, tugging at our limited time and resources. We start to doubt ourselves and our ability to achieve it. Sometimes, we feel this way about most of the goals we hold dear.

We lose focus.

We lose motivation.

We reach overwhelm.

What is Overwhelm?

Overwhelm is a negative emotion. If we don’t address those feelings, we can slide into darker feelings of despair. Worst case, we give up on a goal that initially brought us joy and happiness and hope.

The first step to beating that intense feeling of overwhelm is to recognize and acknowledge what’s happening. When you feel stress and lose focus, stop and breathe. Don’t just power through. Don’t expect things to get better when you feel like things suck. Don’t take another action while in that negative headspace.

We all know that everything goes better with a positive outlook.

When thoughts go dark for me, these approaches have helped me overcome strong feelings of overwhelm:

  1. Get someone else involved
  2. Step back and reprioritize
  3. Make a revised action plan

1. Get Someone Else Involved

When you say your fears out loud, they tend to lose their power. Overwhelm is the fear that you do not have enough time and you may not make the correct decision about what to do next. Honestly, everyone feels like they don’t have enough time. You successfully coped with tight schedules before you became overwhelmed. You also successfully prioritized aspects of your life before you became overwhelmed too.

You also felt confident that you could accomplish everything you planned for. You just need to readjust your thinking.

If you can, it’s best to get help from those who are closest to your situation. They are best equipped to understand what’s happening and can offer sound advice. If you are overwhelmed with business, talk to your business partner, coach or trusted associate. If you are overwhelmed at home, talk to your life partner or close friend.

Meet in a quiet place. Be honest. Explain what’s happening. Then, shut up. Listen to what the other person has to say. Don’t interrupt. Don’t come up with excuses about why you can’t do it. Sit back, listen and take note. You don’t have to immediately resolve anything. Explore your options.

Realizing you have options may just get you out of overwhelm and into hope.

2. Step Back and Re-prioritize

Now, you have options. Isn’t that great?

If you hang out with us, you have well defined goals with a list of accomplishments required to achieve those goals. You have priorities. If you don’t, maybe you need to hang out with us and put together that plan!

Review your list of accomplishments required to achieve each goal. What have you accomplished? What remains? Are your remaining accomplishments still relevant? As you’ve been accomplishing things, not only have you been moving closer to achieving each goal, you’ve learned more about how to achieve it. The work remaining may not be what you initially anticipated. You know more, so assess, update and reprioritize.

Gaining a better understanding of where you are in relation to each goal and what remains to be done from your experienced perspective moves you up the scale from hope into feeling in control.

3. Make a Revised Action Plan

Review the timing of your accomplishments. Life evolves, so doesn’t it make sense that your plan must evolve too? What has changed since you put together your action plan? It’s time to set realistic deadlines for yourself, so you can remain in control.

You know more, so update your action plan with end dates for your accomplishments that feel achievable. It’s great to stretch out of your comfort zone, but stretching too far can cause overwhelm when you start getting behind and miss deadlines.

As you revise your action plan, close your eyes and visualize the end result. To keep motivated, schedule accomplishments you enjoy with those that challenge you.

Let’s move from feeling in control to excitement about walking down the right path to getting what you want!

What are some ways you help yourself out of overwhelm?

Do share.

Win the Fight and Conquer Overwhelm

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