It’s awful to feel stuck in life. To feel like you’re going nowhere or that you’re not where you want to be and feeling powerless in that fact.
I have felt this way more times than I can count, as someone in my early 20s with anxiety and big dreams. And so, in one of my feeling-stuck-moods, I decided to walk myself through feeling better. Now, I’m sharing that process with you.
Here are some ways to help you stop feeling stuck in life…
Get clear on why
The first step is to determine exactly what about your life or yourself isn’t working for you. What is making you feel unhappy and stuck where you are?
Are you bored? Are you stressed and overwhelmed? Are you doing something that brings you no joy? Are you being forced to do things you don’t want to do? Are you feeling lost and unsure of what you want from your life?
Try your best to sit with these questions and detail exactly what is wrong and why.
p.s. It might not be what you think that’s making you feel this way. It might be a smaller problem. What you thought was your partner or your job, is actually about your little habits or health. Really think broadly about this issue.
Why are you “stuck”/ What’s holding you here?
Once you know why, ask yourself why you feel trapped doing what you’re doing. Why can’t you do something else? Who or what is holding you back from making a change? Is it money, parents, partners, fears, beliefs, confusion, indecision, know-how, resources, education, qualifications, uncertainty?
What is stopping you from making a change and thus making you feel stuck where you are?
As I said, for me, I’ve felt stuck before. This means that I’ve gotten through my “stuck” feeling before, too. Going back to revisit past experiences similar to this helps us to either gain perspective and realise that this feeling is temporary (which brings us comfort) while it also helps us to know what we could do to stop feeling stuck.
Did you change jobs before and that worked? Did you take up a new hobby? Did you get back into caring about your health and fitness? Did you meet someone new? Did you focus more on personal habits and goals, but have since deviated from that?
What do you want instead?
It’s easy to complain about your current circumstances, but you’ll never fix things if you don’t actually know what you want instead of this. What about this isn’t working? What’s making you feel bad? What could you do, have, be, use, find, (whatever) instead?
Instead of working in an office, I could get some hands-on work.
Instead of waking at 10 am, I could wake at 7 and use the morning for healthy habits.
Instead of isolating myself and working from home, I could work in public settings.
Where would you rather be? What would you rather be doing? What would make you feel good? Who would make you feel good?
What do you want or need instead of this?
What do you need to get from A to B?
Once you know what you want, you need an idea of how to get there. What resources, people, places, qualifications, money, or whatever else do you need to get you to your new vision of life?
Don’t overwhelm yourself if you can, but detail point-by-point (or mind map some rough ideas) what would help you get to where you desire to be. Write it down. Research it. Ask advice.
Now that you have this information, you should be feeling a little better already because you know what you want, what you don’t want, and roughly how to get what you want.
The next step is to get your mind to meet you where your heart is.
It’s harder to convince the mind that you are capable of things that the spirit already knows you can do.
What were your thoughts when you were detailing what you want and how to get it? “I can’t do this. That person is better than me. I’m not smart enough, cool enough, pretty enough, strong enough, INSERT THING enough.”
Why do you think this is so out of reach for you? What are you “missing” that would help you?
Is there a mantra, quote, or something that you can revisit every day to motivate you to get going on making this change?
Who or what inspires you? Find it, hold onto it, use it every day.
Plan of action
Our minds are ready (slightly) so it’s time to make a plan. We know what we want and how to get it, so it’s time to make a personal, logical, actionable plan of action towards this goal.
For me, I want to make a living selling books. So, what I’d write as an action plan is:
- Outline book idea
- Write the first chapter
- Write the first draft
- Edit first draft
- Edit until polished while researching agents
- Query to agents while polishing book
- Get agent
- Work with the agent to polish book and reach out to publishers
- Keep motivated while receiving rejection letters!
- Sign with the publisher and receive an advance
- Edit with publishers
- Finalise book
- Prepare for publishing
- Announce publishing, market, social events
- Publish book
- Market, book tours, the whole shebang
- Sell books!
Nothing will go perfectly to plan, of course, but having one gets you started and that’s what we need right now. Plus, seeing it laid out like this can really help us to digest that this just may be possible for us, whatever the goal.
Say you wish to shift excess weight:
- Speak with a doctor about what I need to lose realistically; get advice
- Calorie track to keep to the appropriate amount needed for health and weight loss
- Exercise plan to keep me active every day in some form that feels good
- Shopping list and recipes that include healthy, tasty meals
- Clear cupboards of junk food (donate, give to kids, whatever)
- Ensure I’m maintaining a calorie deficit every day while still feeling good
- Accepting the pain as temporary for now in the early stages of my workouts and the new routine
- Get a buddy and accountability partner to keep me motivated
- Don’t beat self up for eating “bad foods”
- And so on…
By now, your mindset should have shifted into thinking you can do this, so it’s time to take the first steps. Whatever is first on your list, take that brave step ASAP and start feeling less stuck in your life!
You got this! This is temporary, I promise; with the right mindset and confronting the problem head-on, you will be able to make a change and change your life.
Worksheet to help guide you through feeling stuck in life: How to Stop Feeling Stuck