How to get unstuck in life
We all get stuck in life. Sometimes it’s due to a tragic event. A loss of a loved one, a relationship breakdown or losing our job. It’s understandable to feel stuck and helpless at such times. But it’s those times when we feel stuck for no apparent reason, or for something we judge as insignificant that erodes our sense of self and worthiness. Stuckness has been defined as ‘The state or fact of being unable to move or progress; the feeling of being stuck.’ I don’t know about you, but when I feel stuck, it’s very uncomfortable and hard to move out of. Because we don’t like to feel stuck and we don’t know how to get unstuck, we either fall into a state of defeat or defiance.
When we are defiant, the usual way for high achievers and driven professionals, – and one I know well – we tend to berate ourselves which makes us feel worse and harder to take focused action. Our biggest strength now becomes our greatest enemy.
First, if you are a high achiever (and my bet is you probably are, whether you admit to it or not,), it’s hard to admit that you are stuck. You probably beat yourself up and feel bad as you compare your situation to others, minimise its significance and think things like “toughen up and push through,” or, “just get over it.”
Yes, I get stuck too, and there was a time when I did not know how to get unstuck quickly. It’s a human thing to get in our own way and to get stuck from time to time. However, being a high achiever, the only way I used to know how to get unstuck was toughing it out. I was never taught any other ways how to get unstuck, so I’m guessing you weren’t either? However, over my years of professional and personal development and coaching hundreds of people, I tried and tested many different approaches and ways of getting unstuck. Here are six tips – the sixth one is the GOLD and will show you exactly how to get unstuck quicker than ever before!
- Be compassionate and treat yourself with kindness. Just like everything in the universe has cycles, so do you. You are a human being, not a machine. If you wake up feeling out of sorts and stuck, realise it’s part of life! While it might not be in your plan for the day, it happens. First, admit you are feeling out of sorts.
- Probably the best gift you can give yourself right now is the gift of pause. Stop, reflect and deal with how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Sit down quietly and take a few minutes to focus on your breath. Just observe your thoughts – most of them will be the same old story replaying itself over and over again keeping you locked in the stuckness. Somewhere in there is a positive learning which when revealed, will help you understand the source of your stuckness. Then you can start to change it, but only if you take time to listen carefully to what is going on inside. At the very least you will increase awareness of your thoughts and feelings, and you will be disciplining your mind.
- Grab a pen and notebook and write down how you are feeling and what is going on for you right now. Do this with no shame, judgment or guilt. Just write down whatever is going on for you. Journalling is a proven way to clear out any negative emotions and feelings of stuckness. It helps create space for new creative ideas and forward movement. My term is it’s like a ‘subconscious’ vomit!’ When you shine the light on your feelings and negative thought patterns, you are helping to dissolve their power. Much of what makes up our stuckness is old patterns and big dark secrets that we haven’t shared. So they sit and grow into harmful weeds that get in the way of growing the good stuff.
- Give yourself permission to go and do something that fulfils you at the deepest level. Even if it’s only thirty minutes, it will help you shift how you are feeling. If you don’t know what makes you feel good, reflect on when you were young. See how you can connect this feeling to a current activity. For myself, it’s physical activity. When I am out in nature exercising, pushing my body physically, I feel connected to myself and a higher power. This gives me a foundational positive emotion for my life and to reconnect with when I am feeling out of sorts. it has also become a keystone habit in my life. What do you love to do that gives you a great feeling?
- Connect with your goals and your future vision. Anything you can do to steer your mind away from being stuck, from repeating the past feelings and stories to what you genuinely want, helps interrupt your stuckness. What is important in your life and what do you value? Make sure you write these down so you can check in with them frequently. Don’t let stuckness become like a cloud that continues to blur your future.
How to get unstuck- the GOLD strategy
And finally, number six.
Create a strategy for any future times of stuckness. How often in life do you have a plan for when things go wrong? Just like failing to plan is planning to fail, so is failing to prepare for challenges and unexpected hurdles. This is my GOLD strategy.
- Write your goals and future vision in a book where you can find them easily. Having everything in one place keeps it simple and clean. Add in pictures of what you want, or draw your goals in pictures, as your subconscious mind responds well to images. Add your favourite sayings and quotes, and write down your own positive statements.
- By reading these frequently, you are focusing on retraining your brain and creating a new program that supports your future desires and goals.
- Write down the qualities you desire to achieve your goals and the values that are important to you in your life.
- Record your small wins and have a gratitude page.
- Create a page called ‘What to do when I am feeling stuck.’ On this page, simply create a strategy for getting unstuck. Remind yourself this will happen and write out a plan that you will adhere too when you are stuck. Select some or all of the above. Be as creative as you can and keep it simple. For example:-
How to get unstuck
When I feel stuck, I will:-
- Read my Future Vision.
- Connect with my goals.
- Read my positive statements and inspirational quotes.
- Take time out to journal/ step outside/ listen to some music/ exercise.
- Reflect on my successes.
- Consider three things I am most grateful for.
- Three action steps I will do right now
- I will take instant action.
This book is now your roadmap for your life. Instead of being pulled by your negative emotions and overthinking head, punishing yourself for not being perfect or doing enough, you have an alternate plan. A central place for keeping your goals close by. Keeping focused on what you want, what you value, reminders about who you want to become and a page of instructions to help when you next get stuck. It gives you a sprinkling of focus and something to hold onto to move gently through the fog and back into forward momentum. Growth and change may be painful sometimes, but nothing in life is as painful as staying stuck where you don’t belong.
What do you do when you feel stuck or out of sorts? I would love to hear from you?