Know someone who’s never felt stuck in life?
Show that unicorn to the rest of the world.
Now, seriously – everyone goes through ups and downs and feels more or less stuck at a certain point in life:
- people feel trapped in a job they detest or
- in an unhealthy relationship
- they get burdened with crippling debts or
- feel their life is far from what they imagined it to be.
Does it ring a bell with you?
We all find ourselves in a situation when we hit a wall while working on a creative project sooner or later. Writers, in particular, know how paralyzing experience a writer’s block can be. The same goes for any other creative type of work.
Or perhaps when we’re trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle but cannot force ourselves to exercise on a regular basis and resist that chocolate bar?
Honestly, no matter how stuck you may be feeling – just a little bit or a lot – the feeling is awful, isn’t it?
And you know you must be moving forward.
But, the question is: HOW?
The following 10 incredibly powerful strategies will teach you how to move forward and keep progressing with ease regardless of how stuck you’re feeling.
#1 – Figure out why you’re stuck
To be able to move forward and make progress, it’s absolutely necessary that you first realize and totally understand WHY you got stuck at all.
There’s no way to find a good solution prior to comprehending the underlying problem.
Similarly, a myriad of possible solutions will open up to you as soon as you uncover the core issue that was hidden deep down.
That’s why you need to ask yourself:
‘What’s getting in my way and stopping me from making progress?’
And when you realize what that one thing that’s holding you back is, don’t stop but keep digging and find what else it is until you reach the genuine blockage inside you.
It’s possible to achieve this simply by:
- asking yourself the key questions as above,
- talking to a close honest friend or
- perhaps by keeping a journal – whatever suits you best.
Identify, i.e.specify and label that enemy so that you can control and conquer it.
#2 – Regain your intrinsic motivation
There’s only one surefire way to regain your intrinsic motivation to get back on the right track – remembering your initial intention and original purpose of your goals.
People tend to lose that WHY when they can’t see the bigger picture, and then they get even more stuck.
So, to remind yourself of what’s truly important to you and why in a situation when you get stuck, asking these questions could help a lot:
- What are the reasons I started this originally?
- What passion drives me towards the change?
- What exactly do I want to achieve?
- Why do I want to accomplish that?
- Why is it so important to me?
Sincere answers to these and similar questions that matter will undoubtedly help you to move ahead in hard times.
Then, it’s a perfect moment for the next move.
#3 – Step back to change your perspective
When we get stuck, our natural instinct is usually to keep pushing and trying harder whereas a smarter move would actually be to take a step back and see what we want to accomplish before proceeding.
Make sure WHAT exactly you want to do before you even think about HOW you’re going to achieve it.
By stepping back you’ll be able to zoom out from your current unfavorable situation and see the bigger picture. This will help you to better understand:
- where you are now,
- what brought you here,
- where you want to be,
- where you are going, and
- why you want that.
before taking any action in the desired direction.
Most people skip this important step and sink deeper.
Clearly defining your needs and wants is a critical starting point in making a workable action plan and creating strategies that will lead you to your goals.
And how could you achieve a goal if you didn’t identify it first?
That’s why you need to take a deep breath first and then take another closer look at your situation from a different perspective. Only then will you be able to discover what route to choose.
#4 – Explore all the possible ways out
When we feel trapped, our mind typically focuses on finding one perfect solution to the problem while ignoring and rejecting all the other possibilities that seem less perfect at that moment.
The truth is:
There is NO single best solution, BUT many more possible options than you could imagine at first.
You only need to keep your creative mind open and explore all the solutions that could work out for you no matter how silly they may seem at first.
Stop struggling to find one right solution because you’ll make a bad situation worse and more stressful behaving that way.
Instead, get down on brainstorming and creating an extensive list of all the options you have. Explore the crazy ones, too. Don’t reject anything at this stage.
All of a sudden, the most suitable way out from your current chaotic situation will emerge out of the blue.
Just stop restraining your creative capacities and don’t be afraid to explore the unexplored. Only then will you be able to figure out what is the next step you should take at that moment.
#5 – Refresh your thinking
When we also get stuck while trying to solve a problem, the best reward we can get is to refresh the way we’re thinking. It will help us observe the whole situation from a different viewpoint so that we can easily discover other options we have at our disposal.
When you get frustrated, just take a short break and move away from problem solving to give your brain a chance to process new relevant information when you get back to seeking a solution with a fresh mind.
You could go for a walk or run, take a shower, meditate or do anything physical you like to detach yourself from a stressful situation you’ve been immersed in. In short, you’re giving your brain a chance to be quiet and shift focus.
That’s how you’ll take the pressure off and unblock some positive and constructive thoughts that will lead you to the solution.
It’s scientifically proven that physical movement like a brief jog sharpens our mind and perceptual speed.
That’s a well-known brain break, which is not just for second graders but is also effective for adults who want to reframe their thinking.
#6 – Break the magic circle
It’s no surprise that a magic circle of stuckness is typically created when you feel stuck. You need to put all your efforts into breaking it and getting yourself out of that state of mind asap.
All you’re doing is focusing your energy on the problem, right?
Well, you must shift your focus and start doing what always puts you in a good mood and brings you joy, whatever it may be as long as it’s not hurting others.
For example, you could:
- watch a good film,
- go shopping,
- play sports,
- spend time with your dearest ones, or
- practice gratitude.
In short, shift your state of gloom into a new state of hope to break the horrible magic circle so that you can move ahead.
You can do it by getting a fresh perspective and turning your negative mindset into a positive one. That will bring new energy into your days.
So, what always brings you happiness or fulfillment? Do it!
#7 – Get rid of the extra luggage
Don’t get bogged down in the sticky mud. As soon as you reframe your thinking, you can change your direction and break yourself free.
But first, you need to figure out what’s holding you back.
Dump out all the negative emotional luggage from the past and literally everything that prevents you from moving forward. Let go of all your bad habits and limiting beliefs as soon as you realize they’re not working.
There’s no purpose repeating non-productive or destructive behavior patterns and expecting a different, positive outcome, right?
Don’t use this thought as an excuse for not acting when you come across an obstacle, though.
Perseverance is necessary on your way to success and fulfillment in spite of all difficulties or discouragement when you know your deed is worth it.
#8 – Work out what will help you get unstuck
We all have our own unique modus operandi. It’s like we have a distinctive, individualized formula for progress in life.
That’s why it’s up to each of us to fully understand how we’re wired and use it as a starting point for discovering how we can get unstuck – what we need to be at our best and what to do next.
Some may need constant encouragement or a sense of security, while others may benefit from imposing tight deadlines on themselves because they feel urged to react under pressure.
Similarly, one person couldn’t go without a detailed action plan, whereas another one wants flexibility and freedom.
Over to you to find out what YOU need to get unstuck.
If you need help to understand yourself better, try completing the Instinctive Drives questionnaire, a profiling tool system that gets to the heart of how you’re naturally wired.
#9 – Ask for help when you need it
Most people try to get out of a bad situation on their own even when they clearly see they could use a little help.
The most common reasons people find asking for help uncomfortable are that they see it as an admission of weakness or they feel exposed to rejection and various other social threats and fears.
Are you among those who find it challenging to reach out for help?
Well, you shouldn’t be because the situation may seem hopeless if you’re facing it on your own when it is actually not.
Sometimes, we just need a slight push in the right direction when feeling stuck. A piece of advice from a person we can trust and who knows us well. Or even advice from a stranger who’s been in our shoes before – why not?
These people can totally change your course by unveiling your deeply hidden barriers because their standpoint is completely different.
Nothing is impossible even if you’re feeling overwhelmed and desperate. You don’t have to come up with all the answers immediately and alone.
So, reach out to someone who can help you and share your opinions.
#10 – Start acting
Taking action is the most critical step towards getting unstuck.
People often fall into a trap of overthinking and analyzing the situation so that they remain inactive. The more they contemplate, the more confused and overwhelmed they feel. This further causes them to lose their momentum and fail to act.
The only solution is to simply stop thinking about what you’re going to do, exploring the risks and trying to figure out everything before you even start the journey.
If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we have to do, we make progress.
— Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) May 14, 2013
Just start walking and you’ll learn to run eventually.
Baby steps first. Small achievable goals to dispel that self-doubt and make yourself gain the momentum first. Then, you can make bigger moves. Starting with quick wins will enable you to tackle more challenging steps.
Nothing good is going to emerge from sitting on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. You need to take action in alignment with your goals.
You have no choice but to fight that inertia if you want to move forward and get unstuck, do you?
So, what’s the first or next small step you can take today?
Just do it before you take yourself out of it!
Get yourself unstuck
Next time you find yourself feeling stuck at a significant crossroads or at a transition point and you need to make a major life decision, remember the above strategies so that you can easily find your way out of a difficult situation.
Depending on how stuck you are and why pick one or more strategies that you think will work best for you and start moving forward immediately. Don’t waste time.
It’s a pity to keep your dreams buried under layers of personal rust, isn’t it?
Rock that boat, then!