We all have moments in life where we feel stuck and unable to find some forward motion. Figuring out how to get unstuck is hard—especially if you don’t know how you ended up in this position in the first place. Maybe you don’t know what steps to take. Or maybe…you’re struggling to find the motivation.
We’re going to figure out how to get you unstuck and moving toward your goals again. We’ll look at why you’re stuck, how to use positive thinking to your advantage, and how to look for inspiration to get back on track.
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Why are you stuck?
Before you can get unstuck, you need to understand what got you here. There are many reasons why people feel stuck in a rut in their lives, jobs, or relationships. Here are some methods to help you figure out why you feel stuck:
Journal Brain Dump
If you don’t journal regularly, that’s fine. You can still do a brain dump. A brain dump is a tool I suggest to people for many different things because it helps you find clarity and get all your thoughts out so you can deal with them. There’s no method or style for this. You literally just write everything that comes to mind.
No filter, no judgment. Talk about how you feel, your worries, fears, thoughts, victories, failures, anxiety…all of it. You need to get it on paper so you can see it. Often, being able to see your thoughts and feelings written out will lead to that lightbulb moment so you know what’s keeping you in a rut.
Talk to Someone
If you don’t currently see a therapist, choose a trusted friend—someone outside of whatever situation you’re feeling stuck in. For example, if you feel stuck at work, don’t choose a colleague to discuss this with. Not yet, anyway. You’re in the exploratory phase, so you need someone who can be an objective sounding board.
You do need to have someone who knows you and who won’t judge you. Often an outside perspective can give us the insight we need.
Sometimes we get so bogged down over what we haven’t accomplished or goals we haven’t reached that we feel trapped. Like we’re spinning our wheels and not getting anything done.
Take a step back and actually review what you have accomplished. Recognizing things you have achieved might be able to help you adjust your mindset.
Common reasons for feeling stuck
If you’ve gone through these steps and are still at a loss for why you feel stuck, consider some of these common reasons:
- Being overwhelmed with too many responsibilities.
- Not doing anything they enjoy.
- Lack of a good self-care routine.
- Being overworked and struggling with burnout.
- Too much emotional stress
- Maybe you are just in need of a break, or you need to change something in your life.
Once you have some ideas about why you feel stuck, you can start adjusting your mindset so you can get unstuck. When you’re feeling stuck, it’s hard to find happiness. Choosing positivity can help you get back on track because the first step to getting unstuck is to change your mindset.
How does Positivity help you get unstuck?
Being a more positive person is an excellent way to improve your entire mindset and thought process about different things. It might seem silly (or obvious) but when you think positively about different situations and where you are in your life right now, suddenly nothing seems quite as bad as you thought it was.
Learning to quash the negative thoughts that invade our minds is not easy, but when we’re able to do it, we can reap the benefits of that positivity.
Being able to handle unexpected changes
When you have a positive mindset, your approach to last-minute changes shifts. Instead of these changes stressing you out, you learn to look for the silver lining. I know that is way easier said than done. When you’re on the way to work and your car suddenly has a flat tire, you don’t want to look for the silver lining. You just want to be mad and frustrated.
But those feelings aren’t going to get the car fixed or get you to work any faster. What are your other options? While waiting for the tow truck or someone to come fix the tire (unless you’re doing it yourself), can you handle some calls for work? Can you use your phone or laptop to make notes about the things you planned to do during this time at work?
When you start adapting a more positive attitude, you suddenly are able to take everything as it comes and not be so stressed by what you can’t control. You don’t need to be happy about those unexpected things, but you learn to roll with the punches so they don’t ruin your day.
As I noted above, when you learn to have a positive mindset, you’ll be less stressed. Things that used to seem like a huge deal aren’t any more. When the negative, limiting thoughts cross your mind, you know how to push them away or change them into positive thoughts. All of this leads to less stress, and when you have less stress, it’s easier to see the path ahead of you, so you won’t be stuck.
A positive mindset helps you accept things as they are. Even if things don’t turn out exactly as you hoped, you can accept them and appreciate them now. Understand that you can’t control everything, look for the best way to change, and then move on. Wallowing in the feeling of being stuck won’t get you where you want to be. It sucks, no doubt. But you won’t be able to find your way out until you change the way you think and then your approach to the situation.
Once you’ve gone through the steps to figure out why you’re stuck and worked on your mindset so that you’re ready for change, you can look for inspiration to spark ideas of how to change.
Yes, I mentioned writing in a journal to figure out why you’re stuck, but I’m saying it again here to help you find a new path. When you write your thoughts and emotions in a stream-of-consciousness way, new, creative ideas will pop up. When you first start, you will write the obvious. You have to move past the obvious answers in order to make room for the out-of-the-box ideas.
Read something new
Reading is an excellent way to learn and expand your knowledge base. The key here, though, is to step outside your comfort zone. If you typically read romance, try nonfiction. If you read history, try science. Trying something new can lead to some new inspiration.
Change your environment
This is another example of stepping outside your comfort zone. I get it. Times are tough, so a vacation might not be possible. But maybe you can just go for a walk in a new neighborhood. If you work from home, try working in a café. Mixing thing up can spark new ideas.
Many times, feeling stuck is a sign that we’re headed for burnout. Burnout can happen when you neglect self-care. We often see self-care as an indulgence instead of a necessity. You need to let go of those ideas and realize that self-care is important. Taking time to take care of yourself will allow you to relax, which can lead to more clarity.
Feeling stuck and unmotivated is a common experience that can happen to anyone. However, by following some of the tips and techniques, you can begin to break free from this cycle and start making progress towards your goals. Remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself the time and space you need to recharge your batteries. Whether it's taking a break, seeking support from others, or simply finding a new source of inspiration, there are many ways to get unstuck and move forward. So don't give up – you've got this!