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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life

How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life

We all know the feeling—when you sense that you are not completely happy and fulfilled with your life. Things are not where and how you want them to be. You go through the motions every day, angry with yourself and the universe for throwing you such an unfavorable dice. In this case, learning how to get unstuck can feel impossible.

You can’t help yourself but feel a perennial envy towards those who are smiled upon by karma—the lucky individuals who seem to have the Midas touch, and everything they undertake ends up with success, recognition, and greater opportunities. Life must be so exiting.

We call this sensation many names: I’ve hit a wall; I’m not making progress; I’m stagnant; I’m moving in loops; something is off in my life.

Or simply: feeling stuck.

In this article, we’ll look into the reasons behind this feeling and how to get unstuck and live a more fulfilling life.

Is Being Stuck Really Such a Bad Thing?

Is it really so bad to be stuck in the status quo? After all, not everyone can be a superstar, right? What’s wrong with living a quiet life, with not many turns and twists and just going with the flow?

True—there is not much fun in this, but there is not much disappointment, anxiety, stress, and ill-ambition either. Life is easy and uncomplicated.

So why do we keep hearing over and over from the greats that staying is one place is not a good thing?

Tony Robbins gives us an elegantly simple answer to this question:

“If you are not growing, you are dying.”

“Progress equals happiness,” he says. “That’s because reaching a goal is satisfying but only temporarily. Life is not about achieving the goals, life is about who you become in pursuit of those goals.”[1]

There you have it—staying in one place makes us unhappy.

We all know that the comfort zone can be great. It’s like a warm old blanket you wrap around yourself on a cold winter night, cuddled in front of your favorite TV show. But just because something feels comfortable, does it mean it’s ok to stick to it forever?

Progress equals happiness, remember.

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You may not even fully be aware of the small voice in the back of your mind that’s been bugging you, but you better learn to listen carefully—because you may wake up one day and realize that your productive life is gone, and you haven’t achieved many of the things you wanted for yourself.

There are many reasons you get stuck in life, and here are just a few.

The Common Reasons for Getting Stuck

There are many reasons why you may feel stagnant in your life—some may be completely out of your control even. The main thing, though, is to be able to identify the reasons and then try to take some remedial actions in order to learn how to get unstuck.

It starts with an awareness because you can’t fix what you don’t know about.

Here are some of the main contributors to your feelings of being stuck.

You Lack Purpose in Your Life, or Your “Why”

Simon Sinek, the best-selling author and motivational speaker tells us in his famous TED talk that every successful endeavor, be it related to an organization, your career, or personal life, needs to begin with defining the “why.” You need to be able to explain to yourself why you do what you do and what drives you.

It is the thing that gives meaning and inspires you to wake up in the morning and to want to take on the world. It is your reason for being.

You Like the Status Quo

You may like your comfort zone. It feels safe for you, and you know you can at least lead a good, if not great, life there.

But as we established, the good old blanket is not necessarily going to make us fulfilled in life. You can watch so many TV shows wrapped in it before you get bored.

We humans still carry our ancestors’ fighting instincts—for hunting, for self-preservation, for taking action to make our lives better. Inaction is not what made the humankind create all the innovations we enjoy today.

Fear of Failure and the Unknown

According to a Gallup poll done among U.S. teenagers, the fear of being a failure and not succeeding in life was at number four.[2] More specifically, this feeling was described as “making mistakes that will mess up my life,” “not measuring up,” “not leaving a mark.”

Fear can be a powerful paralyzer and can elicit a “safe-mode” response, i.e. getting stuck.

Your Crowd

We all know the famous adage that we are the average of the five people we rub shoulders with. So, if your in-crowd is similarly as stuck as you are, although it may be consoling at times, you won’t be motivated to make much progress yourself.

It’s called a social proof bias—if everyone around you is doing (or not doing) something, then it is ok for you to follow suit.

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Comparisons to Others

While comparisons are not always bad, according to the Social Comparison Theory,[3] they have to be handled with caution.

Faring against others can make you very unhappy with yourself. Failing to recognize that your path is not the same as others’ and that there are many ways to get to an end-point (goal) can be very discouraging to taking the first step when learning how to get unstuck.

Personality

Our temperaments can also contribute to a sense of feeling stuck. For instance, you may be more of a passive, dreamy kind of person who prefers observing to taking action, pensiveness to gregariousness, solitude to venturing out in the world.

That is, you have more of a slow-burn personality vs. a fiery one—therefore, it takes you longer to contemplate all alternatives before taking the plunge.

And that’s ok, but you need to recognize that this may also be the reason why you are not progressing as fast or as much as you would like towards your goals.

How to Get Unstuck in Life

The neat thing about your path to learning how to get unstuck is that it follows the so-called Principle of Equifinality[4], which states that the end state can be reached by many means.

It’s not just one thing that can help you to start moving forward again. There are many avenues you can explore to find out what works for you and with your own story and personality.

1. Show up and Be Willing to Do the Work

Woody Allen famously said that “80% of success is showing up.” That is, you need to begin with the right motivation and willingness to take action towards getting unstuck.

You must want to improve your current state, and you must follow through.

2. Self-Reflection

Spend some time alone. You need to figure out why you are stuck—that is, what is the root of your discontent. Meditation may help here, too, but this step is essential:

Packing on some self-knowledge and awareness as to why you are where you are in life can help you discover a whole new universe of ideas on how to make it better for yourself.

It is as the saying goes: Identifying the problem is half of the solution.

3. Break a Sweat

There is an avalanche of research on the benefits of exercising for the body and the mind. The latest research tells us that if you want to put your mind in the best possible focus shape, a 15-minute jog will do the job better than 15 minutes of relaxation and meditation.[5] It also clears your thinking, improves your attention span, and can generally make you feel better.

4. Find a Purpose

As I already touched-upon, the “why” behind your actions is a prime driver of self-progress. If you link your goals to a “bigger-than-me” aspiration, then it will be so much easier to convince yourself to keep moving.

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According to recent research,[6] we all have a specific purpose-seeking style—similar to our own way of writing, dancing, or speaking.

There are four types of “whys”—creative, prosocial, financial, and personal recognition. The prosocial approach to finding meaning, though, which is based on kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others, is the best one in the long-run—it was shown to lead to greater caring, integrity, and personal growth.

Here’s How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person.

5. Find a Passion

It’s barely a secret that if you enjoy something, you will want to do more of it, and it won’t feel like an obligation. You will have more internal motivation to keep going despite setbacks, despite the stress or the tiredness you may experience.

Find what thrills you and makes you come alive and strive to become better at it. The more progress you make, the more confidence you will have to apply to all other parts of your life that feel stagnant.

Learn How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life.

6. Nudge Yourself

The Nudge Theory[7] has been around for a while and has shown some wonderful results in positively influencing people’s behaviors—from making us conserve more energy, to improving the payment rates of fines, to making job-seekers more engaged and involved.

Small things, such as daily reminders in terms of micro-goals you can set on your phone, can have a profound favorable effect on becoming unstuck.

Nudging can also help overcome some of these personality traits we talked about—like passiveness or procrastination.

7. Seek Different Experiences

Even if you are in a happy relationship, you may still feel stuck—i.e. you may be unfulfilled, uninspired, or bored. The same rings true for your professional life.

You need to feed your brain different experiences if you want to learn how to get unstuck. If you repeat more of the same thing, you will end up with more or less similar outcomes. Change requires taking the path less trodden, experimenting, learning new ways, seeing new places, reading, travelling—it’s an endless list, really, to personal growth.

According to research[8],

“Activities that lead us to feel uncertainty, discomfort, and even a dash of guilt are associated with some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of people’s lives. Happy people, it seems, engage in a wide range of counterintuitive habits that seem, well, downright unhappy.”

8. Leave Behind the Things That Are Not Constructive for You

Arianna Huffington put it perfectly:[9]

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“You can complete a project by dropping it.”

Assessing the things that make you feel stagnant is important, but equally valuable is to recognize that just because it may be hard or even impossible to get something that you really want, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or that you are necessarily stuck.

Maybe it’s simply not your thing. For instance, you may want to become a professional golfer. You practice and practice, but you can’t quite reach the level of Tiger Woods that you aspire to. Perhaps it’s time to take stock of your life and shift your focus.

9. Compare Wisely

Comparisons can often make you feel down and create a sense of stagnation, which may not always be valid. You must realize that your pace of progress differs from your friends, neighbors, siblings or even significant other as you’re learning how to get unstuck.

Just because you are not a millionaire by the age of 30, or haven’t started your own business, or written your third bestseller yet, doesn’t mean that you are not moving forward.

Mind how you measure your progress. Your perceptions may differ from reality.

10. Ask for Help

Finally, remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. If you feel stuck in your personal life, you can speak to a family member or friend and find a solution together. Maybe they feel the same way.At work, raise your hand, speak to your manager, and volunteer to do things that can help you learn and become more valuable.You don’t have to come up with all the answers right now. The most important thing, going back to the first idea, is to be willing to make a change and focus on your mental health in the process.

Summing It All up

The feeling of being satisfied or unsatisfied with one’s life is very personal. Similar to its cousins—happiness and success—it is best measured by and depends on our individual histories, personalities and paths.

For instance, you may be happy to be in a position where you help others, and their gratitude is sufficient enough reason for you to wake up in the morning. But for someone else, this situation may create a sense of being stuck.

The main take-away here is that you shouldn’t compare your story to anyone else’s because you may end up getting in your own way when learning how to get unstuck.

Progress is great, but don’t forget that your life is here and now.

More on Making Progress

Featured photo credit: Camila Cordeiro via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Evelyn Marinoff

A wellness advocate who writes about the psychology behind confidence, happiness and well-being.

Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It) How to Define Your Personal Values and Live By Them for a Fulfilling Life How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life How to Stop Struggling with Instant Gratification and Reach Your Goals What Is External Motivation And How to Make Good Use of It?

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Last Updated on February 16, 2021

Need a Breakthrough from the Limitations Holding you Back?

Need a Breakthrough from the Limitations Holding you Back?

Do you feel stuck in an area of your life, not knowing what to do next?

There are things you want to accomplish, dreams you’d love to fulfil, yet your current circumstances seem to be preventing you from reaching your goals.

Perhaps it’s your job, your career, major decisions, relationships, or just life getting in the way that’s preventing you from focusing on your true desires.You’re unhappy, maybe even burning out, and you want a change.You need some sort of breakthrough. Is this where you’re at in life right now?

Is there something bigger, something more that you’d like to do, but feel like you can’t at this moment for whatever reason?If you’re feeling this way, then I want to first assure you that you’re not alone. Almost everyone has experienced this feeling at some point in their lives, because humans are made to grow and mature and to develop into ‘better’ versions of themselves. Take the evolution theory for example, it shows how humans evolve through time to adapt, survive, and thrive better on Earth.

Same goes for each of our individual lives. We have different goals, dreams, and aspirations, but they all lead to the same outcome – becoming better than what we were before… whether it’s in terms of happiness, wealth, love, etc. So why is it that some of us have a harder time moving ahead? To answer that, we need to look at the limitations holding us back.

What are Limitations?

On the surface, limitations are things that prevent you from doing something; but, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that limitations are the things that keep you constrained inside a loop.

They keep you stuck facing the same problems, having the same choices, and taking the same actions over and over again. Limitations define your current circumstances, which also means that they define the quality of your life.

But, here’s another insight that we’ve found from people who consistently make breakthroughs: your reality is derived from your perception.

It’s not reality that’s important, but rather, how you see it. So being able to control how you look at things is the key to your breakthrough. 

Some people are able to move forward a lot easier than others because they’re able to control how to look at things better than others. They’re able to shift their mindset to look at even the most negative of situations, and turn them into something positive.

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And the good news, is that because all limitations start from your mind, it means that you can learn how to take control of the way you view your limitations. And, here is where I want to introduce to you the Breakthrough Framework.

The Full Life Framework

This Full Life Framework helps provide an overall paradigm shift for you to turn any limitation you may be having, into an opportunity that is achievable. 

With this framework, you’ll be able to transform yourself to achieve your goals and break free from anything that is holding you back.

You’ll learn how to use the Life Multipliers to help you through your transformation. These skills will help magnify your efforts and allow you to grasp your opportunities quicker and instill the changes permanently so that you won’t fall back into those limitations.

Step 1: Find the Hidden Opportunity

Step one is to find the Hidden Opportunity.When we’re faced with a challenge or setback, as humans it’s normal to focus on the negatives or the things that are missing. But, that’s life! There will always be some sort of constraint, so why not train your mind to think of opportunities instead of limitations?

With every obstacle, there is always a hidden opportunity waiting to be uncovered. So instead of fighting them or giving up, know that there are always two sides to every coin. This means that you can find an opportunity within any obstacle that you’re facing.

So, in order to find your hidden opportunity, try asking these guiding questions:

1. What limitation is affecting your quality of life right now?
E.g. “I’m limited by … [ the obstacle/constraint ]  Because …  [ why it’s a limitation ]”

2. What does it stop you from doing?
E.g. “It stops me from … [ the thing you want to do ]

3. What’s the turning point? A turning point is a key obstacle that, if overcome, would open new opportunities that weren’t available before. So you just need to find that turning point within the limitation you’re facing, to create a new opportunity.
E.g. If only I could … [ the achievement ] then I’d be able to … [ the new possibility ]”

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4. Create an Opportunity Statement.
E.g. I have an opportunity to … [ the new possibility ] by … [ the achievement ]

By writing an opportunity statement, it not only solidifies your intent, but it also provides a spark of motivation for you to finally come out of your limitation.

It can be a real mental drain to be faced with an obstacle; and the longer you stay stuck in it, the more effort and energy is taken away from you. So going through this first step of finding your hidden opportunity helps to re-ignite the flame of positivity that will drive you to take focused actions in steps 2 to 4.

Step 2: Plan Your Progression Stairway

Now that you’ve found a hidden opportunity, the next step is to plan your Progression Stairway.

This simply means that you should have a game plan of how you want to achieve that opportunity! And, it all starts with creating achievable goals.So the first secret to creating achievable goals, is to find your North Star.

Your North Star is what will guide you towards your outcome, and make sure your goals are focused within the bounds of what you actually want. Your North Star is the greater goal that all other smaller goals align themselves to.

The second secret is to set goals aimed at growth. This means that your success should be based on progress, and not just a single outcome.

The third secret, is to take bite-sized steps. In order to remain consistent, it’s helpful to break your ultimate goal into smaller, achievable chunks and work your way up from there – hence the progression stairway.

The clearer each bite sized step, the easier it is for you to keep making progress towards and eventually succeeding at accomplishing your goal.

Once you have your game plan sorted with goals in place, it’s time to start acting on them. And, here is where your actual energy and attention comes in. This is also the part where many of us fail or give up halfway because our energy and attention is limited. So we need to make sure we’re focusing it on the right tasks.

Step 3: Invest by Energy, Prioritize by Time

The third step of the Breakthrough Framework, therefore, is to Invest by Energy, Prioritize by Time. Breakthroughs require focused energy and effort above the level you’re currently using, otherwise it wouldn’t be called a breakthrough. So you can’t afford to waste it on distractions or scattered efforts. This is why focus is your ultimate weapon as it maximizes your effectiveness.

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And, since time is something we can never get back, we have to spend or invest in it carefully. We waste time when we allocate it on the wrong things. This may be due to poor planning or prioritizing. As a result, we don’t spend it effectively which is why focus is key.

So in order to maximize our efforts, we need to invest in our Energy and Time. 

Energy comes first because if you cannot focus, it doesn’t matter how well you manage your time. You’ll still end up wasting it because it’s not being productively spent.

Get rid of distractions, and do things in short bursts of focus as our attention span is short. Offload your brain by using support tools such as apps, journals, recording devices etc., so that your brain doesn’t get overwhelmed with information. Keep repeating this routine to build up your focus muscle.

Next comes time. Once you’ve learned to maximize your energy, it’s important to understand how you spend your time, set priorities and use the power of deadlines. Figure out which actions or tasks are more important, and prioritize those. Once you have your priorities listed, be sure to schedule them in weekly chunks so that they can be executed.

Now that you have established your opportunity, steps and focused actions, the last step of your breakthrough is to ensure this new you is sustainable!

Step 4: Make a Self-sustaining Engine

Most breakthroughs are not one off; therefore, a self-sustaining growth trend is needed. Along the way of reaching your breakthrough, you’ll encounter new challenges and obstacles that require the same mindset and plan of attack.

Breakthroughs require consistent input over time to guarantee stability; otherwise you might make a breakthrough but fall into the trap of sliding backwards again. And, just having willpower is not enough. You need a system to support and feed your momentum.

This is why we need what is called a self-sustaining Engine. And two elements form this engine: Motivation and Habits.

Motivation is formed from continuing growth and progress in your achievements. The more growth you experience, the more motivated you are to continue.

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And habits are routines that help you to generate momentum automatically. You can create a growth loop by having habits that anchor your growth. And, always incorporate a feedback loop so that you’re aware of your progress, and that will make your growth concrete.

Start by identifying keystone habits that can help anchor your growth, and be sure to work them in your daily schedule. Keep track of your daily or weekly progress in order to keep momentum going.

In a month, you should already see changes taking place. In 2 months, 3 months or more, you will be able to see milestones reached and progress made towards your ultimate goal that you had set out from the start – your opportunity statement.

Repeat and Grow

The four steps of the Breakthrough Framework that I’ve outlined can be used whenever you face any obstacle or limitation, no matter what situation you’re in. And mastering the Life Multipliers will allow you to carry out each step of the Breakthrough Framework effectively, as they give you in depth understanding of what should be done to get your desired outcomes.

Breakthrough’s are never one off. You may overcome a setback today, but face a new challenge 3 months later, and that’s normal because it’s how you know you’re progressing in life when you’re doing things that are harder than before to push you to greater heights.

With the Full Life Framework and the Life Multipliers, you’ll be able to break free from your current limitations and start pursuing the goals that truly matter to you, without risking or sacrificing your current responsibilities.

So don’t stay stagnant anymore, it’s time to see your breakthrough! Start your life-changing journey here!

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Bishop via unsplash.com

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