You start a new hobby or a new project and initially you progress quickly.
It’s fun, you’re excited, you have lots of ideas on how to learn and improve.
There seems to be an endless stream of inspiration and most importantly: you’re getting results.
Then around 6 months in progress seems to slow down.
You’re not quite sure why but the excitement gets replaced by boredom. And the wealth of ideas and inspiration you had before, dries out.
The worst part is that these plateaus put you in a downward spiral that easily waste a few weeks of your time.
So what I’d like to propose to you is this: the key to making consistent progress is the ability to get “unstuck” quickly.
And to get unstuck quickly you need to develop a process that you can rely on – anytime you stagnate.
In the following article I’ll show you the 3 step process I use. It works great for me, and I’m sure it will for you.
So pick one area/skill/project in your life where you feel stuck and we’ll jump straight in.
Step 1: Analysis and Reflection
If you’re stuck it’s time to realize that what you are doing right now is not working. That means the following:
It’s time to go back to the drawing board.
So I’d like you to take out pen and paper and answer the following questions:
- What are you currently doing that’s working?
- What are you currently doing that isn’t working?
When I started my blog the list looked something like this:
- set up the blog
- created a valuable opt-in incentive
- got my theme going etc. and wrote my first few articles
What isn’t working:
- don’t have a systematic approach to come up with content ideas
- don’t have a writing routine
- don’t have a strategy to increase traffic (just hoping people will find me)
In reality the list went into much more detail, but you get the idea.
Also: Don’t feel limited to those two questions. The idea here is that you analyze in detail what is working, what isn’t and why that might be.
Try and really think through what you are currently doing.
If you prefer you can also call up a friend and get their feedback on your situation.
From this analysis you should get a few strong ideas on what possibly is causing you to stagnate, and on the flipside, what might potentially get you back on track.
For my blog I had the realization, that I have to be more strategic about my writing process and about generating traffic.
So keep those insights you’ve got from Step 1 in mind and proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Go on a Research Trip:
Now that you’ve got some direction on what could help you level up, it’s time to do some research.
The idea is this:
Whatever you want to achieve, other people have already achieved it. And most likely some of those people will have shared (in books, interviews, podcasts) how they did it.
Your quest is to find those people and their advice, then study it.
So do the following:
- Find 5 resources (books, podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs, etc.) that will teach you relevant skills to overcome your plateau
If you don’t want to spend money stick with free resources. I personally like reading books, but if you don’t, stick to videos and podcasts.
Important point: If you are into some kind of sport or instrument, of course your best bet is to find a great teacher and take lessons. The problem is, in lots of areas in our lives 1-to-1 lessons with a qualified coach/teacher are not always an option, so you’ll have to help yourself.
To get back to my blogging example I read tons of articles on writing, content creation and traffic strategies.
This simple post by SmartBlogger gave me so much material on how to improve my content creation, I keep rereading it today.
SO when you found a few resources go on a study binge and take notes of anything that seems valuable to your situation.
Once you’ve done that it’s time for the last step.
Step 3: Implementation
In Step 1 you’ve got in touch with what’s working and what isn’t and have analyzed in detail what could improve your situation.
In Step 2 you’ve researched people who already mastered these things and studied the resources they put out on how to handle them.
Now it’s time to take it all and implement it.
Please answer the following question:
“From all the analysis and research you did, what do you think is the main reason you stagnated, and what do you have to do/learn/practice to get unstuck and level up?”
Make a list of next actions to take. Then sort them in order of importance.
Now, for the next 3 months focus on completing that list from important to least important task.
With blogging I realized a great way for me to get traffic and improve my writing at the same time would be through guest blogging, a strategy many bloggers use successfully.
So I took Smartblogger’s Guest Blogging Certification Program and focused solely on writing guest post for the next few months.
I wrote several guest posts for PicktheBrain, one of the bigger self-development blogs out there.
My second guest post became the most shared article on the site according to buzzsumo:
And my third guest post generated quite a bit of traffic (after I learned how to write an effective bio).
- After some reflection I realized my progress was limited by my writing skills and knowledge of traffic generation.
- After some research I decided guest blogging is the skill I have to learn and found a course that would help me learn it.
- I implemented what I learned and -voilà – I got “unstuck” and made progress.
Case in point: the process works.
And it’s kinda obvious that it does. When you’re stuck doing more of the same won’t work. Doing nothing won’t work either. So you got to do something different, and ideally, in a smart way.
…I’m pretty confident a process like the one I described will get you unstuck in almost any area of your life fast.
Of course life is complex, and sometimes solutions don’t come to you in such a linear fashion.
But in general to make progress you have to learn new skills.
And the faster you find out what those skills are, where you can learn them from and then practice them, the faster you’ll progress.
So take the process, apply it, and let me know how it goes!