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Last Updated on March 22, 2022

Feeling Stuck? Here’s Why And How to Get Unstuck in Life

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Feeling Stuck? Here’s Why And How to Get Unstuck in Life

The statistics are dismal. A recent study has found that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, and only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives.[1] People are feeling stuck. So, how do you get unstuck in life?

What Does It Mean to Feel Stuck?

Some are feeling stuck in their careers, feeling like they’re too far along one path to make a change. Some are feeling stuck in their personal lives.

The toll of the daily grind sucks most of their time and energy. So their relationships, self-care, and personal goals get lost in the shuffle of the treadmill existence.

When people come across these challenges of feeling stuck, the feeling sometimes doesn’t go away. It often intensifies as time goes on. As the stuck feeling intensifies, some people choose to settle.

Subconsciously, without even realizing it, they end up pushing their dreams and goals further and further down.

Others, if the feeling of being stuck intensifies to an unbearable point, choose to make changes. They may choose to pivot in their careers, even after years at a successful job.

They may end up making big changes in their relationships, or start putting their fitness at a higher priority. They may make drastic changes to finally feel free. These changes can be incredibly difficult to make, especially if a person has lived many years in a certain lifestyle.

Feeling stuck is NOT fun. I’ve been there. I get it.

Why Are You Feeling Stuck?

People feel stuck once in a while. There are many causes of feeling stuck. Many people work toward goals that don’t actually align with who they are at the core or what they truly desire. I call these “False Objectives”.

False Objectives

Living a life of False Objectives can cause people to feel very stuck and frustrated. People can build lives that are very “successful” according to society; but if you’ve built your life based on False Objectives, you’re not going to feel fulfilled. You’ll end up feeling stuck.

Not Knowing Who You Are

Another cause of feeling stuck is not knowing who you are. If you don’t understand how you’re innately wired – your strengths, your gifts, your talents, your passions – it’s tough to make decisions that enable you to maximize those. It’s tough to reach your full potential if you don’t know who you are.

Not Showing Your Full Capabilities

You can feel stuck if you’re doing work that doesn’t allow you to maximize your innate strengths. If you’re doing work that doesn’t bring out the best in who you are at the core, you’ll likely feel some dissatisfaction and you won’t reach your full potential.

Not Having Enough Support

Other people feel stuck because they haven’t surrounded themselves with mentors or peers who have achieved what they want to achieve. They stay in certain routines while craving to do life differently. As Jim Rohn says,

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

If your goal is to run a marathon and you’re spending most evenings and weekends drinking beer with your coworkers, you’re probably not going to run that marathon.

If your goal is to live a location-independent lifestyle and work anytime from anywhere, but everyone in your social circle is at traditional jobs; it’ll be tough to break free from the 9-5 mentality.

Being in a Bad Relationship

Sometimes relationships may look like an oasis in the desert but might be quicksand. There may have been some relationships in your life that sapped all of your energy and made you feeling stuck in life. They made you feel like you were at a dead end.

Sounds familiar?

We need to be connected. It’s in our genetic makeup. But the most important relationship you have with yourself is the one you have with yourself!

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If you don’t treat yourself kindly, how can you assume others treat you well? If you don’t know what you deserve, how can you attract the right people to you?

To have a long-term, committed relationship with anyone, you must first commit yourself.

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.”[2]

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.

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.

How Feeling Stuck Can Harm Your Life

Feeling stuck screws up people’s lives. The consequences of feeling stuck can range from mild to severe. People may feel a mild discontentment with life and end up succumbing to the idea that life is “okay,” and settle. (Nancy’s story will resonate with you.)

They may never reach their full potential, their highest levels of happiness and satisfaction. And they may not make the impact on the world that they could make, and have a looming sense that there could be “more” to life.

Often, though, the feeling of being stuck comes with much larger consequences. Feeling stuck can hinder career growth and contribute to disrupted marriages. It can lead to huge midlife crises.

The feeling can (and frequently does) increase as the years go on, leading to significant regrets about unfulfilled dreams.

In fact, the number one regret of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” She writes:[3]

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Many people had not honored even a half of their dreams, and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

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Feeling Stuck? Here’s Why And How to Get Unstuck in Life

    8 Steps to Take When You’re Feeling Stuck In Life

    After asking yourself the two questions, work on the plan to get unstuck. I’ve personally tried these strategies and they work for me.

    1. Set Goals That Actually Matters

    This might sound obvious but we all get sucked into False Objectives at times. When you’re setting goals in your career and your personal life, make sure they are goals that matter to you.

    Working hard toward big achievements that don’t align with your values, priorities, and who you are at the core is a fast-track toward feeling stuck.

    Learn about your strengths, your gifts, and your passions. Choose goals that align with who you are at the core, and work toward goals that align with your inner strengths and gifts. This will help you maximize your potential and minimize the stuck and frustrated feelings.

    2. Approaching Life Differently

    Thankfully, some highly effective strategies can prevent you from feeling stuck. Using these strategies can help you avoid significant problems in your life. It’s different than conventional living, and it works.

    Commonly, people live with many set routines. While certain routines are helpful, becoming stuck in the daily grind routine can get frustrating.

    Many people eat roughly the same foods each week, go to the same place each day, talk to the same people, keep the same commitments, and end up living life on autopilot.

    It’s tough to feel like you’re progressing forward when each day is spent doing the same uninspiring routine. In order to avoid feeling stuck, it’s important to live intentionally. It’s crucial to live in the driver’s seat of your life and get out of autopilot mode.

    First, ditch the False Objectives. Just because everyone in your family are doctors doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because all your friends are married with a big house, a white picket fence, and 2 kids doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because everyone you know works 9-5 doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. It’s not easy to design your life intentionally, but it’s critical in order to avoid feeling stuck.

    Remember, the majority of people feel stuck. So, if you’re doing things like the majority of people, you’ll likely feel stuck, too. You’ll need to think differently and create your life differently.

    3. Control Your Mindset

    Often, we think we’re stuck, but the problem is our mindset. Being mindful of our mindset and self-talk is important to living a life of freedom and fulfillment. Work on rephrasing your self-talk in order to improve your mindset.

    For example, if you tell yourself, “I could never start a business,” rephrase it to, “I don’t know how to start a business YET, but I can learn.”

    If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough money to travel,” tell yourself, “I don’t have the money right now, but I can make a plan to save money to travel. Rephrasing your self-talk can help you see opportunities and possibilities instead of feeling stuck.

    Occasionally, even the most driven people have days where they feel unmotivated. Check out this article for tips to get motivated when you feel like doing nothing: What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

    Those tips can help you break free from the rut.

    4. Ask Yourself These Questions Every Day

    In order to intentionally design your life, avoid falling prey to False Objectives, and prevent feeling stuck, there are questions to ask yourself every day. These questions can help you stay focused on what matters most to you, help you avoid feeling stuck and frustrated, and create the best life possible.

    Why Am I Going to Do What I’m Going to Do Today?

    If you’re showing up to work each day and giving your years to your job, it’s important that your “why” is deeper than “to pay the bills.” Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can help you make choices that inspire and motivate you.

    By asking yourself why you’re going to do what you’re going to do today, you will be living intentionally. In today’s incredibly busy, easily distracted world, living intentionally and focusing every day on what matters most is unique.

    When you choose to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing every day, it will help you stay focused on what’s truly important to you. This can prevent you from getting stuck.

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    What Would Future Want Me to Do Today?

    Imagine yourself, in the future, as the best version of you. What would that version of you want you to do today? Making decisions from the viewpoint of the future you can help you move forward and prevent the stuck and frustrated feeling.

    When you make decisions from the viewpoint of future you, you will develop perseverance and reap the benefits of delayed gratification. Today’s society is very focused on instant gratification, but a lot of great things in life take time and effort.

    Learning to take small steps forward by making decisions from the future you’s standpoint can help you progress toward your biggest goals and dreams.

    5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Shaking up your daily routine and adding some excitement to your days can help you get unstuck.

    While breaking out of your daily routine can be uncomfortable, it can be a great way to invigorate your life. You can start by getting out of your comfort zone in small ways. Here are 10 ways to step out of your comfort zone and overcome your fear. As Brian Tracy says,

    “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

    Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing growth can help you to continue to move forward and prevent you from getting stuck.

    6. Surround Yourself With Positive Audience

    It’s easy to get stuck if you’re trying to accomplish something and you’re struggling to believe it’s possible to accomplish it.

    Instead of letting yourself be isolated and stuck, commit to learning from people who have done what you aspire to do. This can help you believe it’s possible to achieve the same goals. It can also help you to be inspired to progress forward instead of staying in stuck-land.

    You can seek out a mentor, or even read inspiring books or listen to motivating podcasts by the people who have achieved your biggest goals and dreams.

    7. Let Go Of What’s No Good

    Take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. Consider the state of your relationships. Do something about it if they aren’t making you happy. Even if the other person has a history of misbehavior, this holds applicable.

    Long-term happiness is the ultimate goal of any relationship. Over time, relationships should improve, not deteriorate. If you’ve discovered that someone is lying to you, it’s time to leave.‍

    Make a list of the qualities that you admire in others. Many people in my life share these characteristics. Is there a reason for this? What are your options?‍

    Take a chance on something new. Make an effort to meet new people. As an adult, it’s so awkward. This is something I’m well aware of. Then again, you have to.

    Ask a friend if they’d like to go out for a cup of coffee or just meet up somewhere to talk about their shared passions. What could possibly go wrong? Make an offer and go for it.

    8. Reassess, Improve, And Repeat

    Consider what went right and what could be done better in the future. Improve your ability to observe and take action on your thoughts.

    Remind yourself that your thoughts do not define you as a person, and practise letting go of attachment to them. This is the first step in improving your mental health and stopping feeling stagnant.

    Consider how your actions affect your emotional reactions and if they are in line with your desired outcomes and perceptions. Progress and achievement require a great deal of repetition. Keep at it until it’s second nature to you, then stop.

    How To Help Someone Who Is Feeling Stuck In Life?

    If any of your loved ones are feeling irreversibly stuck, you can assuage them by assuring that:

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    Even The Tiniest Step Forward Is A Step In The Right Direction

    They may believe that they are helpless at times, and no attempts feel substantial. However, don’t take small efforts for granted. The tiniest of things can lead to the greatest of achievements. Small steps are wonderful in their own right, so don’t take them for granted.

    Make a list of all the ways they can get closer to their goal, then let them pick one and encourage them to do it right away.

    It’s a beautiful thing when you get rid of all the negativity in your life. Research Shows that incremental achievements are good early motivators. [4]

    Feeling stuck is often associated with negativity. As a result, removing toxicity from life should be a top priority. Ask them to begin by focusing on the positive and getting rid of the negative people in thier life.

    Change Is In Their Hands

    No one gets far by sitting around and waiting for something or someone to come into life and make things better. Power and choice represent two fundamental forces that govern human behavior. [5]

    Explain this to someone feeling stuck and they will discover their greatness at the edge of the discomfort zone. Encourage them to be kind to themselves stay away from any negative thoughts. Explain that every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s frustrating to feel stuck. But you don’t need to stay stuck if you know the right ways to break free from the rut.

    Practice living intentionally by asking yourself the 2 critical questions:

    • Why am I going to do what I’m going to do today?
    • What would the future want me to do today?

    When you constantly reflect on what you truly want and whether you’re doing the things that lead you to what you desire, you’ll feel less stuck gradually.

    Featured photo credit: Camila Cordeiro via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Telegraph: Just three in 10 people feel happy with their lives
    [2] CNBC: Tony Robbins: This is the secret to happiness in one word
    [3] Mindful: Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets of the Dying
    [4] Stanford Business: Focus on Small Steps First, Then Shift to the Larger Goal
    [5] ResearchGate: Power and Choice: Their Dynamic Interplay in Quenching the Thirst for Personal Control))

    To truly make a difference, it’s up to the individual. And now is the time to do something about it!

    Remind Them: They Have a Choice

    The power of choice is all that matters when it comes to being stuck. It can be hard to remember when someone is feeling low, anxious or depressed – but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

    You are the only one who has control over how you feel on the inside, even if you can’t always change your external circumstances.

    Even when someone is feeling stuck, they can push through the discomfort and do amazing things, even in the face of adversity.

    Think about it this way: You always have your family members who love and adore you and want you to keep going no matter what.

    However, some people feel stuck in their life because of bad experiences with their families. In such cases, various support groups come to the rescue.

    Assure Them That They Are Not Alone

    To get the most out of stepping outside of your comfort zone, you should practice staying on the edge of discomfort until you’ve overcome whatever it is that’s causing you to feel uneasy. We only learn when there is uncertainty. ((Yale: Aren’t sure? Brain is primed for learning

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    Dr. Kerry Petsinger

    Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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