Getting unstuck – exercise 28

In the book “Unstuck” (  there are over 120 exercises to help get you taking small but powerful actions, and reflecting upon your circumstances in new and valuable ways.

Unstuck Exercise #28 is the “Do the ‘as if’ experiment”

This is part of the process of understanding the difference from where you are now, to where you might be if you achieved what you wanted – perhaps if you got unstuck from your current predicament.

In imagining ‘as if’, we clear away all of the things that might hold us where we are, and with a little imagination and curiosity, can experiment with what it could be like on the other side of the learning.

So, let’s do the exercise:

Think of a goal that you want to achieve, but feel a bit stuck achieving it. Take a moment and allow yourself to experiment with the ‘as if’ frame:

•             How would you be feeling as if you achieved the goal?

•             What would you specifically be doing?

•             What would it look like, sound like or feel like as you are getting your outcome?

Take a moment and imagine that it had already happened. Experiment with those thoughts, actions and feelings.

What did you notice?

If you take the time with this exercise, you can get a sense of what it would be like to be on the other side of the learning moment.  It also encourages you to imagine the ‘actions’ that you might be taking (hint, if you started taking these actions now, what might happen?).  It also allows you to get some vivid and connected sensations around what it would be like, to act as a powerful motivation to start taking actions to achieve it.

Consider Beryl, who was stuck in a pattern of behaviour not exercising or eating well, against doctors orders.  On doing this exercise, she noticed how it felt to be after she went to the gym, notices what it felt like when people noticed her positive change.  She identified things like walking the dog, being more social, having fun cooking different meals.  And as she started to simply add these things to her activities, she was already beginning a powerful change, that flowed forward into her life.

Sometimes, doing this exercise also encourages people to revise their goals – they realise that they don’t really want what they thought they did (perhaps they were doing it to please others, or for some other social reason that is actually not truly important to the person), or define that it is not congruent with who they are.

Consider Ashok, who wanted to change careers.  The industry he wanted to pursue paid really well.  When we ran this exercise, it became apparent that he thought the work was boring, that it was meaningless and it would stifle his creativity.  All of a sudden he got the chance to review this decision with some powerful additional information – and decided that what he thought he wanted would simply make him unhappy.

What do you notice as you do the exercise?  What can you learn to help you get unstuck?

What next?

If you have seen how a pragmatic and generous approach to change can really help you, then head to to grab a copy of the “Unstuck” book. Or else if you want to work personally with me, then now is the time to make an appointment at the Reflective Resolutions clinic.