Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired? (HALT)

Dyana ValentineThis week’s question is, “so, Dyana, I love that you give great tips on moving forward, but what happens when NOTHING is moving and all of the possible to dos just make you want to pick a fight or hide under the covers?”

Ah-HA! I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m exhausted, cranky and there are two projects on my plate that make me feel like lying down and throwing a gigantic tantrum. I’m usually full of ideas, strategies and custom-made-action-plans for how to get out of this stickiness—for other people. When it comes to my own oogy places, I often get into a little whirlpool of self-loathing way-less-than productive spin.

Here’s my suggestion as a first line of defense: HALT. Just stop what you are doing and investigate what really needs doing so you can get back to doing. One of my students brought the 12-step acronym, HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired) to my attention in a group discussion on troubleshooting obstacles around goal setting and it really resonated with me. Colleen Wainwright wrote a beautiful and inspiring piece on it in this post.

Here are a few ideas I’m putting in place:

Opt OUT. I’m unsubscribing from newsletters, blogs and other marketing lists that simply do not serve me or which serve me up a dose of guilt when I think about not reading them (or when I let the guilt drive my bus and leave them clogging up my inbox).

Cancel. This is going to push some buttons, but bear with me. Look at your calendar for the next two weeks. What events, appointments or to dos are you truly dreading? Of those, list them from worst (would rather have a Brazilian wax followed by digging a ditch with a spoon in monsoon weather) to fairly sucky (makes my stomach ache a little and have already thought of three white lies to get out of it). Now, cancel one of them. Just one. Right now. Don’t negotiate or offer to reschedule, just cancel. Copy and paste or say this, “I have been analyzing my calendar and realized that I’m not available to meet with you.”

Do Something Weird or New. Try on Jonathan Mead’s 7 Weird Habits That Will Change Your Life if you need ideas. Go to that list of things you have always wanted to try (you know the one) and try one. Put it in the cancellation slot you just made for yourself. Walk over to your local gym, yoga studio or ice cream shop and take a first-one’s-free class or ask for a sample. Break your daily cycle in any way you can imagine.

Report back—how do you feel now? Did you do something else to break the HALT moment for yourself? Tell us in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired? (HALT)

  1. lidia varesco design

    This is great advice, Dyana! I sometimes get overwhelmed by all the things “I should do..” so I too have been on an opt-out mission (apparently, I’ve subscribed to every newsletter that has ever existed). I kept the ones I read regularly and just follow the others on Twitter.

    I’m also very carefully selecting names to add to my own email newsletter list (knowing how much I personally dislike being arbitrarily added to a list). Lastly, I’m taking Ilise’s advice (from a Marketing Mix blog post) and being more assertive in deleting old emails in my Inbox.

    I love (and am terrified of) your idea of canceling. I plan to do it this holiday season instead of filling my calendar to the max.

    And whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by the “should dos” in my day, I take a yoga break (I keep a few DVDs on my desk) — or take my dog Essie for a walk. She is truly a reminder to get back in the moment!

    1. Dyana Valentine

      Brilliant adaptations, Lidia. I love the unsubscribe/twitter follow. You could even create a subscriptions list or otherwise group those folks into a category that would be easier to review all together.

      Thank YOU for having the integrity to invite folks to opt in (I do this–only following up with one email that gives folks options of how to be in touch and assuring them that even though the email was sent out through a mailing system, they would NOT automatically be added.)

      Ohh, I MUST follow you and Ilise into inbox deletion land–it’s my biggest source of mental and digital clutter!

      Thanks so much for weighing in and being an amazing opt out/down dog role model!

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