Do you ever feel like you’re under a dark cloud that shadows your every move? Does it sometimes seem like you can’t catch a break regardless of how hard you try?

During our daily pursuit of life, many of us try much harder than we ought to. Sometimes all of our pushing and striving is what prevents us from enjoying our journey. It’s common practice to believe that the harder we work, the greater our reward will be. But if we aren’t enjoying our moment-to-moment journey, what good will any reward bring us?

This moment we are in right now is the one worth grabbing hold of. The dark cloud dissipates when we practice waking up to how we want to feel in our “now moments.” When we focus on how we want to feel now, it becomes easier to stop pushing against life. Tuning inward and caring about how we feel helps us stop striving ahead of our life, or lingering in previous versions of our life.

If you’re open to the idea that you’re orchestrating your life experience through your interpretation of everything before you, then making life harder than necessary becomes an obvious thing to stop doing. If you’ve been living under the dark cloud for awhile, it does take extra practice, patience, and humor to steer your life towards smoother seas. Getting out of our own way is easier to do when we become aware that we are blocking our own path. Knowing when it’s time to move out of resistance is a game changer in life.

Here are 3 helpful practices I use when I get caught up making life much harder than it needs to be. These practices help me remember why it’s always a good idea to get out of my own way. Give them a try and see what shifts for you.

Practice #1: Let Pleasure In

Do you have one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake? If so, does it feel like you skip over opportunities to immerse yourself in the many pleasurable moments in your day? Getting out of our own way is really about opening ourselves up to fully experience and enjoy the pleasures of life.

What brings you a sense of joy? If you’re not sure, spend some time feeling your way through creating a detailed list. If you are sure, spend some time fine-tuning your list and looking at ways you can allow yourself to fully take in the pleasures of your day.

Many of us are experts at doing and amateurs at being — that’s okay. The best place to start getting more comfortable in our being is to surrender to play and fun. Let pleasure in, you’ll thank yourself.

Practice #2: Hit the Reset Button Often

Each day is a new day with new opportunities and challenges. Some days it will be easier to get out of our own way and instead move with the natural flow of our life. Other days, we might find ourselves under the dark cloud again. This human journey isn’t about perfection. The more we lean in to the imperfection and messiness of it all, the easier it is to be gentle with ourselves through the storms.

Caring about how we feel means we understand the importance of being in tune with how we feel. This doesn’t mean we are always going to choose the path of bliss. We will experience all kinds of human emotion on our adventure. The idea isn’t to get caught up in thinking we are always supposed to be giddy. The idea is to give yourself the gift of knowing everything is temporary, and all emotions and storms eventually pass.

We can hit the reset button at any moment and create a bit of space to carve out a new path. Depending on where we find ourselves in the moment, we may create a reset by fully opening ourselves to laughter and joy. We may also need many more steps to access our laughter and joy. Sometimes our reset might look like hitting the pause button to slow down the intensity of emotion.

There is no right or wrong way to do life. As artists of our own adventure, it’s important to remind ourselves that we have an infinite number of ways and techniques to create our personal masterpiece. We get to hit the reset button as often as we wish.

Practice #3: Anchor the Day

Life passes quickly and it can feel like one day flows into the next. The momentum we create in our day can keep going the moment we start our next day. This momentum can be helpful or harmful depending on how we felt about our day. With regular practice, we can be more intentional in how we choose to interpret and move through our day. Having personalized daily rituals can help us stay out of our own way well before we ever get tempted to block our path.

One of the most powerful practices I’ve incorporated over the years is to anchor my day with gratitude and intention. I start my morning with gratitude for a new day. I end the day with an intention to let go of the events from my day. This regular practice has helped me to get on my path of least resistance, and not get in my own way as often as I used to. I still stumble and make questionable choices, but I do so knowing they are mine to make.

When we anchor our day with rituals, we begin approaching each day as a blank canvas and opportunity to start fresh. Morning rituals help us start the day grounded in how we want to feel. Evening rituals help us to release the events of the day. Letting go of our day creates a nice opening to notice what we are grateful for.

Anchoring the day in a personally meaningful way helps us see ourselves as partners in this great dance of life. What about you — are you being your best partner, or is it time to slow down and get out of your own way?


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  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: