Regardless of the form of self-help or therapy-NLP, law of attraction, gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, etc.-there is one thing that everyone is trying to do: get out of their own way. And this is the great secret of all branches of personal development: if you just get out of your own way, nearly (and maybe) everything is possible.

What do I mean by “standing in your own way”? Well, I mean this literally and figuratively: in a literal sense, people often stop themselves from doing things by literally stopping themselves (e.g. they stop walking toward something, hesitate about what to do, mull over the negative possibilities, then turn around and leave); however, in a figurative sense, people stop themselves just like this before they even get into the situation-they mull it over, think about it in a very negative way, and then decide not to do it.

And to boot, people often do this right after they consider a desire-“I really want to kiss that beautiful woman who sits next to me in class-not only is she insightful and brilliant, she has the most kissable lips. Wouldn’t that be great?”… (Now, you sigh, and have a “reality check”.) “Yeah, that’d be great alright. But of course, that’d never happen. She wouldn’t possibly go for a guy like me, I’m too… (insert your negative self-talk about why you’re unworthy of love here) for a girl like that.”

OK, so now that you have the point of what standing in your way is, what do I mean by “getting out of your own way”? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the opposite of the aforementioned: not hindering yourself with negative beliefs, actions, or feelings.

Now, how do you do that? How do you get out of your own way?

It’s very simple to get out of your own way: find all of the ways that you stand in your own way and then stop it! And at first, that sounds like sarcasm, and though it is, it’s serious sarcasm: all you need to do to get out of your way is to get out of your way; however, you didn’t need this article to tell you that: it’s apparent from the argument that your life is better if you stop standing in your own way.

So, here are a few ways to get out of your own way.

First, every time you go to do something and then you want to procrastinate it, do it immediately with a deadline and a time limit. Procrastination is the major way that people hinder themselves from the life they truly want. Which is deeply unfortunate because procrastination is one of the most beneficial things the human mind can do-we just use it to sabotage ourselves rather than help ourselves in the same way that a rich heroin junkie uses their money to harm their lives and hold themselves back. So, rather than procrastinate the task you want to do (after all, you want to do it), procrastinate the want to procrastinate this task or feeling bad-the latter ability has changed my life… For an extra kick, put things on a timer and a deadline: you’ll be really surprised at the results.

Second, everyday, write down 15 or more things that you’re appreciative for. These can be simple things like “I live in a hospitable environment”, “there is enough oxygen present in the atmosphere to sustain my life”, “there is enough water to sustain my life”-particularly if things are really lousy right now. But if things are a little better, then you just have more to give thanks for, “I have a Bently” or “I live in my dream house”. Regardless of the level of appreciation you’re at, however, the act of appreciation itself will not only put you in a more positive frame of mind temporarily, it’ll train your mind to look for the positive aspects of your experience.

Third, when you notice yourself stopping yourself from doing something-for instance, if you want to ask someone out, but are nervous-focus on the feeling of nervousness or whatever that’s stopping you and say “stop!” Immediately, replace the thought with something else. I find it’s really helpful to say “stop” like M.C. Hammer does in the song “Hammer Time” so my mind instantly leaps to that. And I’ve found similar success with stop like “Stop in the Name of Love”. There’s something interesting that happens in your mind when you begin a pattern and don’t finish like, “stop in the name… “

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