Why Are You Beating Your Head Against the Wall?

Hitting a wall happens to each of us at some point. Whether we plateau in weight loss attempts, stagnate in career or entrepreneurial goals, or become frustrated by responsibilities in parenting, each of us will, at some point, hit an invisible wall. Hitting a wall means you have only three choices. You can continue beating your head against the wall, lie down and quit in defeat, or change direction.

The first two choices are easy but ineffective. It’s easy to continue doing the same thing hoping for different results. We recognize this as the definition of insanity when loved ones do it, but when we are the ones beating our heads against the wall, we are often blind to the fruitlessness of our actions.

When we recognize we can’t go through the invisible wall, we can be tempted to drop in defeat. Sometimes this means we lie down and quit. Quitting ranges from head shaking and deep sighs to feelings of extreme self pity and worthlessness. Other times defeat means we point fingers accusingly at others and hoping to draw attention away from our failures.

But our failure isn’t in our inability to accomplish goals. It is in our inability to reevaluate how to accomplish them. Our failure is in getting stuck in failure. Fortunately, failure and beating your head against the wall isn’t necessary. Recognizing what keeps you stuck is the first step to moving to a positive outcome.

Why Do You Beat Your Head Against the Wall?

  1. The Heavy Investment – I taught SAT and ACT test prep for years. Often students at the top of their classes struggled with these timed tests. They’d attempt a difficult problem and feel that, because they’d already invested time, they needed to try it one more time. They’d punch more numbers into calculators. They’d tap pencils knowing the perfect vocabulary word was on the tip of their tongues. Meanwhile, time ticked away. Less intelligent students scored higher because they were smart enough to move on quickly. The same applies to life. Sometimes, even when you’re heavily invested, it’s time to move on and focus on what comes next.
  2. Oceanfront Property in Arizona – Sometimes we want something to be true so much that we don’t face facts. We want to believe there is more good in someone or something than it merits, so we get burned in relationships or job opportunities. We give and give and give until there is little left of us to give others. There is even less of us to give ourselves. We believe there will be a positive outcome because we want it to be true, not because it actually is. You can believe you have oceanfront property in Arizona all you want, but when you put your feet up to watch the sun set at the end of the day, you won’t be looking over the Pacific. You can choose to admit it when you purchase the property and cut your losses, pretend and have neighbors’ children make up songs about the crazy lady gazing into the desert sun, or wait until you sell it at a huge loss. The longer you wait, the heftier price you pay.
  3. Your Head is in the Clouds – This is similar to owning oceanfront property in Arizona. Both involve a refusal to face reality. Oceanfront property is sold to you by someone else, but headspace in the clouds is real estate you sell yourself. You build imaginary dreams of how life will be one day but don’t plan the path to take you there. Big dreams and end goals are important, but you also need to find all the little steps that will take you there.
  4. It Worked Before –  This idea keeps a teen athlete wearing her “lucky socks” to each game and an abused woman in a relationship most can’t understand. We assume that because something works once in a while or someone is nice sometimes, we are headed in the right direction. In this situation, bits of positive reinforcement keep us from zooming out to see the big picture. We don’t realize that two lefts followed by a right doesn’t get us where we want to go and we stay in the same bad traffic pattern.

Don’t beat your self up about beating your head against a wall. Instead, recognize what you’re doing and what makes you do it. Then take steps to change your direction and reevaluate how you can accomplish your goals. Stopping beating your head against walls isn’t an easy task. It takes discipline and determination, but results in a more rewarding outcome. By discovering your patterns, you’ve already taken a step in the right direction!

A trained life coach will help you uncover your patterns and evaluate your situation with fresh eyes so you limit failure and headaches and focus on what comes next. If this sounds good to you, let me know. Moving on joyfully is my specialty!

God Bless…

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