How can an introvert get out of their head and into the real world?

Recently I have been packing in preparation for a move and have found myself looking at old journals I wrote in. It’s been strange reading things from over five years ago and noticing how much has changed but also how much has stayed the same.

The main similarity is that I still find myself caught in my own thoughts, sometimes neglecting to take action in the process. I have these strong values that I want to do something with, but I get paralyzed.

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Moment of reflection on Mt. Tolmie! Photo credit: Me, 2016.

 

Introverts who think a lot can get stuck in this trap of wanting to do something but not knowing how to get started or feeling inadequately skilled to accomplish whatever their goal is. Obviously I’m not an expert, but over the years I’ve picked up a few techniques that can be used to move past the hesitancy and just do something. Now if only I would consistently take my own advice!

#1: Join a group of people doing the same thing

When  I took a creative writing class in college, I had to write a bunch of short assignments in formats that I would not have even considered using on my own. During that four-month course I was more productive in my writing than I had been for a long time and I still can remember some of the feedback that was given to me. It’s an experience I’ve been wanting a repeat of lately.

If you want to do something creative, you may think that you need the right inspiration to get started. Or if you want to get in shape, you might think you need to consistently have the right amount of time in your schedule to exercise. But if you make a commitment to a group, you’ll find that you can make all the inspiration and time that you need (especially if you’re paying tuition to join this group, eek). Accountability is integral.

#2: Start small

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had this vague notion that I wanted to write a novel. In high school, I went as far as writing a 15,000 word novella (but in my haste, I lost the word document–but that’s another story). Lately I’ve been struggling to even write a weekly blog post, though.

As important as it is to have big goals, we have to be kind to ourselves. Since I’m not in a position right now to take a class, I made a goal a few weeks ago to write 500 words a day of anything. Now I’ll be honest, that goal maybe lasted two weeks before I got derailed, and I don’t have a good excuse. But the point I want to make is that we do have to make goals that are both reasonable for our circumstances and will get us started on the right track.  You have to find the right balance so you’re not selling yourself short or putting too much pressure on yourself.

#3: Go outside

Introverts can be homebodies–we like our comfort zone. If you’re finding that you don’t even know how to get started on whatever has got you stuck in your head, go for a walk or a drive or a bus ride. Get some new stimuli in your system to refresh your mind–it can enable you to think more clearly about whatever you are dwelling on.

Feeling stuck in a state of inaction can feel pretty crummy, and I hope these little tips will serve you (and me) well!

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