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Last Updated on December 17, 2019

15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success

15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success

“You live the words you tell yourself in your mind.” — Dr. Magdalena Battles

Self-talk is the act of talking to yourself either aloud or mentally. No matter good or bad, these are the messages that you are telling yourself all day long about yourself.

The messages you tell yourself will encourage and motivate you, or they will limit you because they are negative.

For example, if you go to a work party and make a joke in front of 10 colleagues and no one really laughs, just a few chuckles from those being nice, what do you tell yourself after the party? Do you drive home thinking “I should have just kept my mouth shut, now they think I am an idiot,” or do you tell yourself “No big deal, at least I put myself out there and tried.”

Version one of self-talk will make you question yourself at your next social event. You may even hold yourself back from saying too much out of fear of embarrassment or making yourself feel bad. Worse yet, you may develop an aversion to social situations because you feel insecure about your interactions with others.

Version two of self-talk allows you to give yourself a pass to try again, to just be human and interact with others. We cannot all be on spot with humor and social interactions 100% of the time, but it is worth the effort to at least try.

Self-talk is so important as these are the messages that determine whether you should keep trying or not. The messages you send yourself can either help you succeed, or they can hold you back and keep you paralyzed in fear.

Here are 15 tips to help you provide yourself with good, positive self talk for success:

1. Have a Purpose Higher Than Self

Having a strong faith in a higher power is helpful in having positive self-talk. Research shows that teens who had “regular religious service attendance, high subjective importance of faith and years spent in religious youth groups, are associated with higher self-esteem and more positive self-attitudes.”[1]

Having faith in a higher power, along with involvement in a religious community, helps individuals have higher self-esteem. Self-esteem and self-talk go hand in hand.

For example, if you believe that God (or any higher power) is good and loves you, then your feelings toward yourself will be kinder. You were created by a higher being who made you for a purpose. When you believe this in your heart, you are more apt to believe in yourself and pursue the positive things that you are created for in life.

When you feel that you have purpose, you focus on the positive reasons for which you were created to pursue and accomplish.

2. Cut Overly Negative People out of Your Life

Everyone can have a down day and be negative or moody. However, some people seem to have down days every day of their life. If you have some of these people in your life, it may be time to distance yourself from them.

Attitudes of the people you are around will have an effect on your own attitude. If someone has a negative attitude, they are likely to bring down those around them, especially if their negativity is pervasive over time and across a variety of situations.

It is hard to cut family or co-workers out of your life. However, you can limit your time and exposure to these people. Don’t spend time off work with negative co-workers. Don’t hang with negative co-workers in the break room.

Keep the negativity to a minimum in your life by limiting your time with negative people.

3. Be Grateful

A great way to find the positive in your life and create positive self-talk, is to recognize the things in your life for which you can be grateful. A study in Psychology Today showed that:[2]

“Young adults assigned to keep gratitude journals showed greater increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to the other groups.”

Finding things you are grateful for in life daily helps to improve your attitude, which will help you have better, more positive self-talk..

One way to practice gratitude is by starting a gratitude journal. Use it to write the things you are grateful each day.

Some of the things will big and some will be small. This will help you focus on the good things that are happening in your life, even if it was something as simple as seeing a rainbow or spending time walking and talking with a friend.

The expression of your gratitude in a journal makes these emotions and experiences more tangible. You are helping yourself focus on the goodness in your life.

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It doesn’t need to be a long winded journal either. You can simply start by finding a notebook and jotting down 3 to 5 things at the end of each day that are grateful for on that particular day.

4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

When you are constantly comparing what you lack to what others have, you can easily get down on yourself.

It is easy to become negative about your life if you are playing the comparison game. Instead, find gratitude in what you do have, rather than concentrating on what you don’t have.

For example, you may have a casual friend who is always getting a new vehicle every two years. They are always top of line, beautiful vehicles. You, on the other hand, are driving a ten year old minivan. You have kids the same age, the same educational background, and you both are married to successful husbands. You compare yourself to what she has and wonder why you can’t also have a new vehicle each year.

What you don’t know is that she and her husband have a large amount of debt. They do not live within their means and have planned very little for their retirement. You and your husband have been very responsible in your spending and retirement planning.

It is not wise to compare yourself to this woman or anyone else, because you likely don’t know the whole story.

You can always find others who are better off than you or worse off than you. It’s more important to concentrate on yourself and on being grateful for your own life.

Live your life and stop making any comparisons.

5. Use Positive Words with Others

If we are negative with our words with others, then we are likely to be negative about ourselves as well.

Having negative thoughts leads to negative self-talk. If you are in a negativity rut, then stop now.

Start speaking life and affirmation to the people in your life that you love, including yourself. Doing so will help improve the attitude in your heart.

For example, when you get to work in the morning, do you start your first conversation by complaining about all the things that went wrong with your morning? Or are you grateful that the sun is shining and that you have a job to pay the bills and you express these sentiments to your co-workers?

What comes out of your month can be positive or it can be negative. The choice is up to you. If you chose the negative, it will not bring about anything positive for your day or life.

Another example is how we treat our loved ones. Do you constantly nag or find fault in your spouse or partner? Or do you focus on the positives and speak encouraging words to them?

If you find yourself focusing on the dishes sitting in the sink, them leaving wet towels on the floor, and them failing to walk the dog once again, you will speak these words to your loved one.

When you speak words of negativity, nagging, and fault to your loved ones, they begin to feel negative around you. Their response to you is likely not going to be positive. They will probably respond with a negative remark such as “you always nag me” or “you never help with the laundry.” Thus begins a pattern of negativity.

If you can let the little things go and instead, focus on the positive and use uplifting words, your home life will be much happier. For example, say “thank you for taking out the trash” and “thank you for helping put the kids to bed”. Even if you expect them to do these things, it still feels good to get a compliment and words of praise. These positive words will bring positive words in return and likely more positive actions from them.

Your relationships will become more positive because of your focus on their positive actions. Your willingness to take the time to recognize these things and verbally provide praise and thanks will enhance your relationships.

Positivity breeds positivity, and negativity breeds negativity. Choose the positive for yourself and others.

6. Believe in Your Success

Believe in your ability to succeed. Believe in the abilities and skills that you have, so that you can propel yourself toward success.

Doubting yourself holds you back from trying and thus holds you back from succeeding. Believe you can succeed, even if it takes multiple tries.

For instance, if you go into a workout class and have already told yourself that you won’t be able to complete it, then you will indeed fail. You are setting yourself up for failure when you go into a situation telling yourself mentally that you can’t or won’t be able to complete the task at hand.

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Commit to telling yourself that you can do it. Even if you have to modify your movements to keep going, tell yourself that you will not quit. Tell yourself that one way or another you will get the job done.

You need to tell yourself you can do what needs to be done and you can succeed at whatever you put your mind to. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?

7. Don’t Fear Failure

Don’t fear failure as it is often the road to success. Some of the greatest success stories in life are of people who failed multiple times before becoming successful. If they had given up the first time after failing, then they never would have become hugely successful.

Fear of failure holds back many people from ever even trying to succeed. They remain in their status quo in life because they live in fear of failure.

If Milton Hersey had given up after his first three candy companies failed, he wouldn’t have gone on to create the world-famous Hershey’s candy company. He is just one of many examples who failed many times before finally succeeding: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

Don’t allow fear to hold you back from trying. Tell yourself you can keep trying if you do fail!

For example, if you bomb on a work project, don’t tell yourself you are a failure. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn a new way to go at the project and to grow in your skill set.

Don’t take the failure and accept it. Instead, reframe the experience as an opportunity for more growth and development of whatever job you may be doing.

Don’t throw out your previous work because someone rejected it. You may need it later. Set it to the side and save it for future reference. You never know when that project that didn’t worked for that instance may work for another.

Your efforts are not in vain if you look at a failure as an opportunity to try again and take a fresh approach.

8. Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones

Negative thoughts happen. It’s hard to provide yourself with positive thoughts all the time.

However, you can start replacing negative thoughts with the positive ones. There is always a flip side or upside to any situation. It’s up to you to start finding the positive in order to begin changing your negatives into positives.

For example, if you have a tendency to tell yourself that you are fat, you will feel fat and bad about the way you appear. If you aren’t fat, then stop telling yourself this message!

If you are overweight but are working to improve your physical health, then focus on those thoughts. When it pops into your mind that you look fat as you wash your hands at the bathroom mirror, replace those thoughts immediately. Instead, tell yourself that you are working to make positive changes in your physique and are making strides in being healthier every day.

Tell yourself that you are pleased with yourself because you are making efforts daily to improve that which you see needs improvement. Say “job well done” when you get your workouts done. Give yourself a mental pat on the back and feel good about what you are doing for yourself.

Focus on what you are doing to change what you don’t like about yourself or your life. If the message that you are feeding yourself is false, then stop. Replace the thoughts with correct messages such as “I am fit, in shape, and I should be proud of how hard I have worked to get to my physical fitness level”.

Be positive when negative thoughts creep into your mind. Doing so will help you find the motivation to try again in the future.

If you concentrate on the negative, you are mentally holding yourself back from trying again. This article can help you: How to Think Positive Thoughts When Feeling Negative

9. Post Positive Affirmations

A great way to provide positive self-talk to yourself is to write it down.

Have positive mantras, scriptures, and affirmations written and posted for you to view throughout your day. Post them on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, next to your computer screen, or wherever you can see them often on a daily basis.

Having positive messages around you helps to shape positive self-talk in your mind.

Here are some examples that you can post on your bathroom mirror today, just use some sticky notes:

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  • I am adventurous and I am embrace all that life has to offer.
  • I feed my spirit daily.
  • I am in charge of how I feel today.
  • I am grateful for…
  • I will choose happiness and gratitude today.
  • I am special and unique, nobody else in the world is exactly like me.
  • I am proud of myself for…
  • I show love to myself and others daily in all that I do.
  • I find joy in all situations.
  • I am kind to others and to myself.
  • I am of value and have purpose in this world.

Or you can try out these apps: 10 Uplifting Positive Affirmation Apps That Help You Re-Center on the Go

10. Don’t Dwell in the Past

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has a past. Everyone has bad things in their past.

Don’t concentrate on these failures, mistakes, or negative things that have happened in your life.

Keep your mind focused on the future and what is possible, especially the positive things that are possible.

For example, imagine that you are in a new relationship after going through a divorce or bad breakup. You harbor ill feelings toward your ex because they cheated on you. You have the right to be angry, but there comes a time to move forward.

Put the past in the past. Don’t bring up your ex every time you watch a movie that involves infidelity. Don’t bring up your ex and their wrongs on a regular basis. Doing so is bringing your ex into your current relationship. Your current spouse or partner didn’t sign up for you and another person in tow.

Leave your baggage at the door. Don’t speak the words about your past when they aren’t necessary. Doing so keeps them going and gives them new life.

Don’t provide breathe and space in your life for the negative things of your past. Focus on moving forward and the new relationship that you do have.

Centralize on the fact that you were strong enough to move forward and embrace your future.

There is a reason why your windshield is so big and your rear-view mirror is so small in your vehicle. What’s ahead is far more important than what is behind you.

11. Visualize Your Success

Your ability to visualize your success is tied to your ability to actually achieve success.

For example, if you want to run 10 miles today, envision the beginning, middle, and end. Think about how you will prepare for your run. Think about what it will feel like as you get going and how you plan to push through the tough moments you will have on your run.

Strategize about what you will tell yourself to keep yourself going when times get tough. Also, think about how you will react when things get rough, and tell yourself that you will push through, even when it gets really difficult.

Then, envision yourself finishing your run and how you will feel once you completed your goal. Visualize the entire process and how you get to your success. This will help you when you get to the actual run because you have thought about your commitment to that success and what it takes to get there.

You have also created strategies for pushing through any bumps in the road to keep yourself going. You are committed to not quitting.

Envisioning the entire run, which includes the difficulties, will help you get to the end goal which is successful completion of the 10 miles.

Visualizing helps you think positively about your situation and encourages you to see that your vision of success is possible.

12. Limit Your Intake of the News and Media

The news and media can be predominantly negative. When you are constantly feeding your mind negative messages, it becomes very difficult to find positive self-talk.

Limit your exposure to news and media. It’s good to be an informed citizen but sometimes, it is good for your mind and soul to shut off the TV and cut off the negativity that is happening everywhere in the world.

For example, if you have made it a habit of listening to a news station on your commute, you may want to change that habit.

Filling your hour long commute with all that is wrong in the world will not help you start your day out right. Instead, listen to a news station that provides a quick recap of the news. Spend only a small percentage of your commute listening to the news. The remainder of the time you can listen to an audio book that is uplifting or helping you become a better version of yourself.

Putting a limit on the amount of time for your news intake can help you focus more time and energy on other positive activities.

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When you do listen to the news, remind yourself there are lots of positive things happening in the world too; but they just aren’t often put on the news.

13. Help Others

Helping others is a way to bless others, but it can also be an even bigger blessing to yourself. This article on helping others shows how beneficial this act can be to yourself.

You can experience feelings of being more positive, empowered, and optimistic by helping others. These feelings will help you have better self-talk during your day and improve your mental health.

Try to do one thing each day to help another person, so that you can begin the habit of helping others on a regular basis. You will thank yourself later, as will the people you help.

For example, on your way to work, hold the door open for others. Smile at those who are looking to make eye contact. You can also buy a cup of coffee for a co-worker, genuinely compliment people on their appearance. Or you can let someone who looks super rushed ahead of you in line.

The list is almost endless of the kind things you can do for others on a daily basis. Start looking for ways that you can help others see the bright side of life.

You can be a light in the world and some of these people may otherwise only be feeling and experiencing darkness. Your light can make a difference in the world.

14. Be Physically Active

There are a great many benefits to becoming active; such benefits include increased creativity, reduced anxiety, improved self-confidence, reduced stress, increase in happy brain chemicals and more.[3]

All of these factors will help with your ability to practice positive self talk to yourself and eventually succeed in life.

Get up, get active, and improve your body and mind together by exercising on a regular basis.

Think you’re too busy to exercise? Here’re 5 ways to find time for exercise.

15. Dream and Set Goals

A great way to begin positive self-talk is to dream about the future.

What is your desire in life? What do you want out of life? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 15 years?

Allow yourself to dream big and then set smaller goals toward reaching those end goals.

Encourage yourself toward your life successes by providing supportive messages about how you will achieve these goals.

When you reach these small goals, you will become more positive about your abilities and skills that help you achieve these milestones. This helps with your positive self-talk.

Don’t get down on yourself if you do have failures along the way. Allow for flexibility and changing of plans along your route, and you will be a happier person.

Tell yourself it’s okay to let go of some dreams and take on new ones as well. Your life is yours. Allow yourself to dream and to go for those dreams.

Here’re some tips for you: 7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

So, shoot for the stars; you never know which one you will hit. If not the first one, then try, and try again.

Respect and appreciate yourself and your ability to keep trying.

More About Positivity

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] National Study of Youth Religion: Sociologists Find that Religious Teens Are More Positive About Life
[2] Psychology Today: The Grateful Today
[3] Greatist: Benefits of Exercise

More by this author

Dr. Magdalena Battles

A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault

How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again 5 Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills (Psychology-Backed) 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child? How to Raise a Boy Right (Backed by Psychology)

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Last Updated on February 19, 2020

10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck

10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck

We have all felt stuck at some point in our lives. Perhaps you feel stuck right now.

Maybe you’re feeling a little stuck working on a creative project, like writing an article or painting a piece of art. Perhaps you started a new business, took on a major project at work or began a new health or fitness regimen.

Your initial excitement has worn off and you’re now feeling stuck, confused or overwhelmed by how to keep progressing forward. Or maybe, you’re a lot stuck. You feel trapped in a job you hate, a relationship that isn’t working, a boatload of debt, or a life that has little resemblance to the one you’d imagined.

Let’s be honest. Regardless of how stuck you are, it’s a terrible feeling. Feeling trapped and unsure how to move forward can lead to feelings of, confusion, angst, hopelessness, insecurity and overwhelm.

Sometimes we just want to throw in the towel and give up. But don’t give up just yet.

Whether you feel just a ‘little stuck’ or like you’re stuck in dry concrete, trying to make a small or big decision, wondering what you’re doing with your life, feeling trapped in a job, overwhelmed by debt, unhappy in a relationship or life that isn’t the one you want to live, these 10 strategies can help you keep moving forward.

1. Take a Step Back

Your first step forward when you feel stuck is to take a step back. Often, we try to get unstuck by pushing forward with sheer force or just trying harder. But as Einstein said,

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Access a different level of thinking by assessing your current situation from a new viewpoint. Whenever I’m working with clients who feel stuck, this is the first thing I ask them to do.

I have them think about where they are, what got them here and what they really want. When you step back from your life, career, and challenges and look from a bit of a distance, you see things from a different perspective.

Your Turn:

Imagine you are lost in the woods. You could keep moving forward looking for your way out. You could panic and go in circles. You could head back the way you came. You could, as I learned in camp, just sit still until help arrives.

Imagine instead that you could stop, take a deep breath and zoom out from your situation. Imagine you could fly above it all as if you were in a helicopter and look down at yourself among the trees.

What could you see or notice differently from this perspective – a different route, people there to support you, the way out is closer than you thought?

Another way to ‘zoom out’ is to look at your situation as a neutral observer. Imagine you’re a fly on the wall watching your life. What insights or advice would you give yourself?[1]

2. Get Specific

It’s hard to move forward until you fully understand why you are stuck. You have to get specific and identify what’s really going on. You must name it to tame it.

A great mentor of mine once said,

“A well-defined problem presents its own solution”.

If you want to find a solution, you must truly understand the underlying problem. This is one of the premises of coaching. When you dig a little deeper to the real issue/challenge/blockage, solutions tend to present themselves.

For example, there are big differences between, ‘I feel stuck’ and ‘I feel stuck because I’m overwhelmed with the details’ or ‘I feel stuck because I’m worried what people are going to think of me.’ Once you name it, you are more likely to be able to tame it.

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One of the most important questions I ask clients is, ‘What’s getting in the way?’ When they answer, the next question is always, ‘What else?’ We continue along this route until we feel we’ve gotten to the real, underlying issue(s).

Your Turn:

Seek to uncover the underlying issues that are getting in your way and stopping you from progressing. You can do this by journaling, talking to someone who knows you well, or simply taking the time to ask yourself these questions.

Once you name it, perhaps the solution will then present and tame itself.

3. Reconnect to Your ‘Why’

Feeling stuck is often because you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture and what’s important. You’ve lost your why.

Why did you start this in the first place? What reasons, values or passions drove you to make this change in your life? What picture do you have for yourself, your business and your life? Why are you wanting to achieve or accomplish this?

By reminding yourself of your original intention and purpose, it gives you the intrinsic motivation to get back on track and move ahead.

Connecting to your deeper ‘why’ will be the fuel that keeps you going, even through tough times and roadblocks.

Your Turn:

Whatever you’re stuck on right now, grab a journal and ask yourself, “Why is this important to me?” ,”Why did I start this in the first place?” “What am I trying to achieve here and why is that important to me? “

4. Brainstorm Your Options

We often feel stuck because we don’t see any way out from our current situation – we feel we don’t have any options.

By brainstorming ideas and possibilities, you expand your mind and open your thinking to finding a new solution. When you can see potential options, you won’t feel so trapped anymore. 

This is not about deciding the one thing or making the right choice, it’s about allowing your creative mind to expand and see all the potential possibilities. We often dive straight into finding the right one and eliminate anything that doesn’t feel perfect.

That’s why so many people feel stuck. They are attempting to find the next right career, the best way to handle a situation or the one perfect idea. This can lead to a lot of stress and analysis paralysis.

The reality is that there is no single best or right. There are many possibilities that could work for your situation. It’s about the next step right now.

If you hate your career, what new potential careers are on your mind? List them all out – even the ones that seem unrealistic or silly.

If you’re unhappy in your relationship, what can you do? There are likely a lot more options than you’ve considered. What are they?

Your Turn:

Make a list of options for your current situation – as crazy or ‘out there’ as they might be.

When you think you’ve thought of everything, ask yourself, ‘What other options are there?’ This allows you to dig deeper and see ideas you might not have otherwise explored.

Then, and only then can you start to identify the way forward.

5. Take a Brain Break

Full disclosure, I’m stealing this strategy from my 7-year-old daughter’s second-grade teacher.

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The other night I was helping my daughter with homework, she was getting super frustrated and wasn’t sure what to write in a letter to her big buddy. She was on the verge of tears when she looked up and asked, ‘Mom, can I take a brain break?’ She got up from the table, walked downstairs to her room and played with her stuffed animals. When she came upstairs a short time later, she was as happy as could be and jumped right into her writing.

We could all use a brain break when we’re stuck. A chance to shift focus gives our brains a chance for quiet; it takes the pressure off so we can come back with a fresh mind and new perspective.

When we take a brain break, it refreshes our thinking and helps us discover another solution to a problem or see a situation through a different lens. The brain break actually helps to incubate and process new information.[2]

A great brain break is to do something physical that gets you in flow. Take a hike, a run, a walk around the block. Another well-known brain break is meditation – which has so many proven benefits I can’t even begin to name them all. Try it, it works.

I have one friend who says taking a shower helps her get unstuck. ’Somehow good thoughts come up in that silent space.’

Your Turn:

What kind of brain breaks can you give yourself? Which would be most helpful?  It’s not just for second graders anymore.

6. Let Go of What’s Not Working

Have you ever walked through the mud and had your boot get stuck and your foot fly out? When this happens, you usually have two choices: either put your boot back on and keep plodding through, repeating the frustration as it continually gets stuck, or you can take off that boot and move forward.

The same is true in life. When we get stuck, we often stay in the mud and try to drag our boot along. We keep doing what’s clearly not working. The boot represents limiting beliefs, old habits, or stories you’re telling yourself.

Remember in the movie “UP” when Mr. Fredricksen is trying to get his house to fly? It was too heavy. He had to dump out his belongings until the house was light enough to lift off.

Same is true here; you’ve got to get rid of the emotional baggage you’re carrying so you can move forward and fly.

Take my client *Lucy for example. She was stuck trying to figure out what she wanted next in her life and career. She was having trouble finding a job she was interested in. Through our work together, we uncovered that Lucy had an interesting belief: that having a job and being happy were mutually exclusive.

She believed she couldn’t have a job and be happy at the same time. This meant she was either going to be jobless and joyful or employed and miserable. In order to move forward in her career search, she needed to take off this ‘boot’ and believe she could find a job where she could, in fact, be happy.

Your Turn:

What’s holding you back? An old habit, limiting belief or story you are telling yourself? How can you reframe your thinking in order to change the direction you are headed?

7. Know What You Need to Get Unstuck

We all have a way in which we operate that is unique to us. When you understand how you’re wired, you can understand more specifically what you need to get unstuck. It’s like your own personal formula for moving forward.

For me, I need a crystal-clear picture of what I’m trying to achieve and a big, tangible goal to reach for.  When I don’t have a clear picture of the end result or challenging target I’m trying to hit, I feel stuck and demotivated. 

Here are some common needs: 

Astep-by-step plan, to understand why something is important, deadlines and impending pressure, unconditional encouragement and support, to think things through, connecting to a deeper meaning, freedom, and flexibility, and certainty.

Do you relate to any of these?

Your Turn:

What do you need to get unstuck? If you’re not quite sure, you might want to check out the I.D.™ (Instinctive Drives™). It’s a tool I’ve used for almost 20 years (and have all my clients take). It helps you understand what you need to be at your best, including what will help you get unstuck.

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8. Shift Your State

When you’re in a stuck state, it actually creates a cycle of ‘stuckness.’ Get yourself out of there!

Instead of placing all your focus and energy on the problem, shift your focus and energy to another area of your life. Go do something that brings you joy; spend time with someone you love.

Do anything to shift your state and mood. This will switch your downward cycle of ‘doom and gloom’ into an upward cycle of ‘hope and possibility’.

A great way to shift your state is to practice gratitude. So, you hate your job. Practice gratitude for other areas of your life. Does it support your family? Allow you to work remotely?

I’m not saying you should stay in a job you hate, I’m just recommending that you get perspective. A state shift brings energy, hope, and positivity into your mindset…keys to getting out of that dreaded stuck cycle.

Your Turn:

What always puts you in a good mood? What brings you joy, happiness or fulfillment?   Do it! And make sure to practice gratitude. Try this: each morning for the next week, write down three things you are grateful.

9. Take Action

Getting into action is critical to getting unstuck. There’s no substitute for momentum. Action enables further action, while inactivity creates inertia, self-doubt, and confusion.

I love this quote from Simon Sinek:

‘If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.’

My client Marcus (not his real name) had just made a career move and was setting out to start his own wellness business. The biggest problem getting in his way? Inertia.

The more he thought about what he was going to do, the bigger the endeavor began to feel. The more he explored the risks, challenges, and his extensive to-do list, the more he felt overwhelmed. He was stuck. 

However, once he took action, starting with quick wins, he gained momentum and was able to move forward and tackle bigger and more challenging steps. Once he broke through his inaction, he was on a roll.

My grandfather always told us: a path leads to a path. We can’t know what the future holds and trying to figure out everything before we start is a recipe for disaster.

Know that a path will lead to a path, a step will lead to the next step, but you have to start walking first. 

Your Turn:

What’s the next step you can take to move forward? Where is there a quick win?

When you think about your first (or next) step, keep it small and achievable to get the momentum going.

10. Reach out for Help

This summer, my Dad took his new truck and my twin daughters on a trip to the Oregon sand dunes. Only a few minutes into the adventure, they got really stuck. They tried shoveling sand and getting out on their own, but they couldn’t. Nearly an hour later, (which felt like an eternity stuck in the middle of a pelting sandstorm), a little dune buggy came along. My Dad’s truck was six times its size, but all they needed was a little pull. They hooked up the wench and within minutes, they were free.

We can all use a little help when we’re stuck. This might be talking to a good friend who knows and understands you or reaching out to get advice from someone who’s been in a similar situation to yours.

Maybe it’s hiring a coach who will ask powerful questions to help you see things from a different angle, a therapist who can uncover hidden roadblocks or a consultant to share opinions and experiences.

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When you’re on your own, it can feel hopeless, overwhelming and just plain impossible. But, just a little push or pull from someone can quickly change your trajectory.

While this may seem like one of the easiest strategies, it is actually one of the hardest to do. Why? Even though we are biologically wired to help each other, many of us find it challenging to reach out.

There’s a reason for this:[3]

‘Asking for help exposes us to numerous possible social threats, which is why it’s so uncomfortable. It can feel like a tacit admission of weakness, which lowers our status, and can be an invitation for scorn. It creates uncertainty, and invites the possibility of rejection.’

Your Turn:

Who is your dune buggy? Who can you reach out to ask for help right now?

Not ready to reach out to someone just yet? Maybe you can try asking the universe. Some call this prayer, others spiritual guidance,  others faith.  Whatever you call it, reach out to someone, somewhere, somehow…now.

Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

Bonus: When All Else Fails, Be Patient

Sometimes when we’re stuck, we just need to practice patience. Patience that the answer is coming; the shift is going to happen. Patience that you’ve done all that you can and now, it’s time to wait and see what comes back to you.

I’m not suggesting you wait for months or years; but sometimes we expect things to change quickly, yet things take time. This is especially true for big life decisions and transitions or when there are others involved, like your relationships or job.

I love the line from Max Ehrmann’s’ Desiderata:

’…whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.’  

Trust the unfolding and know that sometimes it may take a little longer than you’d like.

There’s usually a good reason, even if you can’t see it. Maybe it’s not time to move forward or make changes just yet. Maybe you don’t have all the information you need, and when you do, you’ll quickly make progress. Maybe you’re actually stuck where you need to be right now.

When I was in my most recent major career transition, feeling stuck and wondering if I would ever figure out my next step, this quote from Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu was exactly what I needed:

‘Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?’

Stay strong. Be patient. The more stuck you are, the greater the freedom will feel.

You’re going to be okay. It won’t always be like this. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Hang in there and trust the process. Your breakthrough is coming.

Final Thoughts

Which of these strategies feel like they will work best for you and your current stuck situation?

You don’t have to use all of them, it just takes one.

Remember, any movement, momentum or shift will help get you unstuck and moving forward again. Besides, it’s never too late to start things over! Here’s the why: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

More to Help You Get Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Michał Parzuchowski via unsplash.com

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