By Christie Mims
It's entirely possible your job is ruining your sofa.
What did that sofa ever do to you? Spills, food stains and that permanent spot shaped like you — your job could be behind all of it.
You come home from work determined to make a change in your career. But you're tired from the day, annoyed by a coworker or just ready to check out for a few minutes. A glass of wine, some takeout Chinese and a few TV shows later, you end up feeling guilty, annoyed with yourself and even more stuck in your work rut.
And nothing has changed except for your posture. You're slouching... and you're becoming a slouch about your career path in the process.
This cycle can feel endless. The only changes are your energy (down), attitude (bad) and sense of motivation (fleeting at best).
It doesn't have to stay this way. To spend less time on your couch and more time on your career, try the following:
1. Forget about your resume for a minute
Even the smallest job change can seem scary or overwhelming. You feel like you constantly need to network, update your resume, read postings — it's hard to know where to begin.
So, begin with whatever's easiest for you. For many, that's actually not the resume. There's a special place in hell for resume updating, and the thought of reviewing our resumes keeps many of us cocooned on our couches.
If this sounds like you, then forget about your resume and start somewhere else.
Reach out to friends and ask for their help. Warm up your network and invite one or two people out for coffee to chat about their work or their companies. Spend some time on LinkedIn, check out companies you like and connect with people you want to know.
Go to a few new social or networking events and start spreading the idea that you might be in the market for a new job. Spend time on Eventbrite or Meetup. Hire a coach and put together a career plan.
You can do anything. Just start with something that feels easy to you. Once you gain momentum after those first few small steps, you can tackle the harder stuff. And maybe that means eventually you'll update your resume. Maybe.
Your action plan: Find one small thing you can do for your career tomorrow night and put it on your calendar. Commit to spending 30 minutes looking for jobs online, finding one event you plan to attend or sending three email invitations to join you for coffee or cocktails. Plan to do just one thing. And then do it.
2. Don't leave yourself to your own devices
It's easy to let yourself down by blowing off events and tasks left and right. But it's a lot harder to let down friends. This is human nature, and it can be the boost you need to get off your sofa.
If you want to change careers or jobs, it's hard to motivate and maintain action on your own. So, it's time to get some support from those you trust.
Your friends, family or an organized coworker — anyone can be your motivation. But try to include them in your planning and progress. For example, the next time you go to a networking event, make sure you invite someone else along or agree to meet someone there. That may be just the push you need to make sure you actually show up.
Or, ask a friend to introduce you to someone in their network; you're less likely to sit on that email and not take action if you know your friend did you a favor.
It's the good old buddy system in action, and you can use it to gently motivate yourself out of that seated position on the end cushion.
Your action plan: Get your motivational support team in place and figure out how to add some accountability and encouragement into your job search or career challenges. Pick at least one person, ask for their help and start making plans.
3. Let yourself off the hook for one night
We put so much pressure on ourselves to make progress, take action and do something that we start to stress and burnout. This leaves even less energy for positive career action.
If you're truly exhausted from the grind at work, if you feel like you don't have any energy to take action, if you're completely tapped out — then just stop.
It's okay to take a night off from life and work every now and again and not focus on what you think you should do, but what you want to do.
Have some fun. Relax. Read a book. Go out to dinner. And make an agreement with yourself that for one night, you won't worry. Or, if you want, you can just sit there all night and stress out in complete peace. It's up to you.
But here's the deal: you're allowed to do this only if you commit to a) saying it's just for one night and b) letting yourself enjoy it. Whatever you want to do, just do it. Because you know that tomorrow, you'll go back to putting one foot in front of the other.
Your action plan: Pick a night, put it on your calendar and let it all hang out.
If you start small, get some support and periodically let yourself relax, you'll be off your couch and moving into action in no time. Your career, and your sofa, will thank you!
Christie Mims is an expert career coach and the creator of the Career Happiness Revolution. If you want to discover the dirty little secret to your career happiness, sign up over here and connect on Facebook and Twitter. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!