We all feel stuck every once in a while. In fact, research reported in a 2015 Telegraph article showed that only 3 in 10 people are happy with their current lives, and 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routines.
One of the main reasons that we sometimes feel stuck is that we are working towards goals that don’t align with our core values and passions. This can leave us feeling unmotivated and we often find ourselves procrastinating and feeling bored. In this instance, we are working toward false objectives.
Another reason is that we don’t know who we really are. We don’t know what our strengths, weaknesses, passions, and talents truly are, and so we aren’t working in an area that maximises our positive qualities.
Finally, we might be surrounding ourselves with the wrong people. This isn’t to say that you have to ditch your friends, but we may need to bring additional people into our lives. As Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” If you are spending a lot of time with people who are unmotivated, also stuck, or have very different ideals to yours, you are likely to end up feeling more stuck.
Here are 11 ways that you can move forward when you are feeling stuck;
1. Zoom out
Intuitively, when we feel stuck, whether it’s a problem at work or in relationships, our intuition tells us to step forwards, to force our way through the problem. However, what is often needed is to take a step back from the problem in order to see the bigger picture.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” (Albert Einstein).
This about where you are, what got you there, and what you really want out of the situation.
2. Zoom in
Once you have taken a step back, it is time to zoom back in and get specific. It is hard to move forward if you don’t know what the problem actually is. It’s like trying to score without knowing where the goalposts are.
It is important to get as specific as possible. Ask yourself, ‘What is really getting in the way?’ It might be that you are worried about what people will think. Ask yourself ‘Why?’ Why are you worried about what people will think? Keep getting deeper and more specific with each ‘why’. You can also try asking yourself ‘What else?’ What else is stopping you?
3. Reconnect to your Why
Feeling stuck is often the result of losing sight of the bigger picture. Why did you start whatever it is that you are stuck on? Why did you choose that career/lifestyle/sport/hobby? What reasons, passions, and values drove you to where you are today? And why is this important to you?
4. Dig deep for options
Even when it seems like we are completely stuck, there are always options. Very often we shut options down before the idea has even fully formulated. Sit down and write a list or brainstorm of as many ideas as you can, even ones that sound far-fetched and ridiculous. When you have run out of ideas, push yourself to write down two more!
When you look down at your list, you might see options that aren’t possible, that aren’t enjoyable, or that aren’t perfect, but a lot of the time, there are no perfect solutions. We just have to pick the best option and move forward with it. Moving forward with a less than perfect solution is often better than being endlessly stuck.
5. Shift your focus
Often when we are stuck, we need to take a complete break from trying to solve the problem. As Einstein said, we can’t solve the problem in the same frame of mind that the problem was created.
Do something completely different from whatever you were trying to do; go for a walk, run, or workout. Do some meditation, free flow writing, reading, or take a shower.
6. Let go of limiting beliefs
What are some of the limiting beliefs that might be holding you back? Everyone has limiting beliefs, they are often things that we grew up hearing or seeing around us. It might be that we don’t ask for what we want because we fear rejection. Ask yourself why you fear rejection. What is the worst that could happen? It might be that we don’t challenge ourselves because we fear failure. Why? What is the worst that could happen?
7. One step at a time
It is easy to get overwhelmed when we are thinking ten steps down the line. It can even stop us from getting started altogether. IT is good to have a big picture, but it is important to break that big picture down into small – even tiny – steps. What can you do, just today, to move forward?
Take you big picture and break it down into a 5 year plan, then break that down into the next 3 years, and then into the next year. Then create a monthly plan, and then a weekly to-do list, and finally a daily list. This way, you can focus on the smaller tasks while knowing that you are heading in the right direction.
8. Conquer the “everybody’s”
A lot of the time we feel stuck because we are thinking too much about the “everybody’s”. “Everybody says I’m going to fail.”, “Everybody says it’s a stupid idea!”.
First, we need to figure out who these “everybody’s” are. Are they real people or figments of your imagination? Are they an amalgamation of various people? Who do they sound like? If they are real people, then ask yourself, does it really matter what they think, and also do they even really think this or did I imagine it?
9. Take responsibility
When we are feeling stuck, it is easy to see ourselves as the victim in the situation, to feel like the world is stopping us from moving forward. However, it is important to become the hero of our own stories, to take control and move ourselves forward, even if it is by a millimeter. Taking responsibility and control can even mean asking for help. You don’t have to find the solution on your own.
10. Bring new habits into your routine
Very often, big change doesn’t come from big gestures but from small changes sustained over time. Improving or changing something by one per cent every day doesn’t seem very exciting or glory-worthy, but it can be far more meaningful in the long run. As James Clear says “most of the significant things in life aren’t stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we chose to do things 1 percent better or 1 percent worse.”
It might be that you are trying to write your first book but you are stuck in the first chapter. Commit to writing a certain number of pages per day or per week, and set a time and place for this. If you make it concrete then you are less likely to skip it.
11. Add to your peers
As mentioned earlier, we are the average of the 5 people that we spend the most time with. Therefore, it can be incredibly helpful to seek out people who have already done what you are trying to do, or have done something similar. Find a mentor or a peer with similar goals. You can be kept accountable, motivated, inspired, and eventually you will find that your mindset shifts to being more similar to those that you aspire to be.
If you’d like support in getting unstuck, exploring your limiting beliefs, and reconnecting with your purpose then get in touch with us. We can help match you with the right therapist for you. Call 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected] to book your initial consultation.