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Last Updated on January 31, 2019

13 Things to Do When You Feel Uninspired and Stuck Where You Are

13 Things to Do When You Feel Uninspired and Stuck Where You Are

It’s not uncommon to encounter at least a phase in our lives where we feel overall uninspired and stuck in our current situation. For those who are just approaching this kind of phase, it can cause you to question every move you made prior to this point and whether or not you are living the life that you want.

Although this can often be an anxiety-ridden experience for most, it is actually a sign that you have reached a major crossroads in your life. You have come to the realization that you are not happy with the way things are, and that you desperately want change.

Don’t perceive this feeling as a sign that you haven’t made any progress. Shift your perception to see this as an opportunity for growth that will help you become the person that you want to be, so that you can live the life that you want to lead!

That being said, coming to the realization that you feel trapped is the easy part. Making change is the most difficult.

If you feel stuck and uninspired in your day-to-day life and you need a major shift, here are 13 things to do when you feel uninspired and stuck where you are.

1. Acknowledge Your Current State

The key to moving forward in life is to acknowledge your current situation. While we all think to ourselves that our life could be better and that we could be responsible for these changes, we don’t tend to acknowledge and sit with these feelings, which only serves to bring us back to our current state.

In order to get to where you want to be, you first need to acknowledge where you are now and to allow yourself to fully experience that feeling. Awareness breeds action. By becoming aware of your own dissatisfaction towards your life, you can then use those feelings as motivation to get to where you want to be.

When you have the opportunity, sit down for 5 minutes and reflect on your life. Not a great feeling, right? Use that feeling to power through the rest of the tips listed throughout this article!

2. Reach Deep down into Yourself to Pull out Your Hopes and Dreams

If you’re feeling stuck in life, that means that there is something about your life that you are currently unsatisfied with. The question remains, however, what is it about your life that you are not happy with?

One of the biggest contributing factors to your overall lack of happiness in life is the abandonment of your hopes and dreams. At some point in our lives, we have all given up on dreams that we used to hold as truths when we were younger. We then settle for things that are not what we initially wanted, which creates a life that provides us with less than what we expected.

The good news is that it is never too late to pursue the life you wanted.

With that in mind, I ask you, what are some of the things you used to want when you were younger? Did you want to be a singer? Did you always envision yourself as an astronaut or a world traveler?

Whatever it is, write it down. It’s never too late to turn your dreams into a reality.

3. Identify Which Aspects of Your Life Need the Most Attention

Now that we’ve pushed past the hopes and dreams section, it is time to focus on what you can do at the moment.

Life is a lot to handle and if we are not constantly focused on maintaining each aspect of our life on a daily basis, important parts of our lives fall to the wayside.

To get back on track, it is important to look at each aspect of your life to identify where your needs are being met and which parts of your life are being neglected. One great resource to look at in order to do this is Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life.[1]

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In Ziglar’s Wheel of Life, he breaks down life into seven major sections:

  1. Mental
  2. Spiritual
  3. Physical
  4. Family
  5. Financial
  6. Personal
  7. Career

Those who focus on and maintain balance in each of the areas will be able to live a much happier life than those who put too much focus on one area and ignore others.

Look at each of the sections in the wheel and ask yourself, where am I not paying enough attention? Which areas need improvement and which areas am I succeeding in?

As was stated earlier in the article, awareness breeds action and becoming aware of the areas in which you are slacking will help you to repair your life.

4. Craft a Basic Outline of Your Needs

Armed with the knowledge of where you could be doing better in life, it is time to craft a basic outline of your needs.

Start by making a list of all of the areas that you identified as being subpar. For example, if you determined that you weren’t spending enough time on the physical and the financial, start by listing those and working your way through each of the needs that fall under the category.

Let’s continue with the example above and imagine that you are truly falling behind in the physical section. Perhaps you haven’t gone to the gym in a while and you find climbing the stairs an impossible feat. Maybe you’ve been having unexplainable symptoms that have been having an impact on your health but you haven’t taken yourself to the doctor.

Whatever it is that isn’t receiving the attention it should be, work through each of these sections and figure out your needs in each of them.

Once you’ve gone through each section and have come up with a comprehensive list of all of your needs, you are ready for the next section.

5. Specify These Needs and Transform Them Into Goals

You may have a list of needs but, unfortunately, that is not enough to kick things into high gear.

In order to turn needs into action, you have to transform your needs into goals.

How do you accomplish that?

Simple! You need to take your needs and turn them into very specific, well-defined goals.

For example, let’s imagine that one of your goals is to become more fit so that you can become more balanced in the physical section. That’s great! However, it’s not nearly defined enough to become something that you can act on.

Therefore, you need to make your need more specific. Don’t just say that you want to be fit. Say that you want to accomplish something, such as becoming lean or improving your overall muscle definition.

By identifying what it is you need and turning it into a specific, measurable goal, you now have something you can work towards.

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Work through each of your needs and turn them into actionable goals. Then, go over your list twice to see if you can further specify your end goal in each section of your life.

If you can’t turn it into a specific goal, you probably do not want or need it as much as you initially believed.

6. Take Your Goals and Create a Set Timeline for Them

With actionable goals, you now have something that you can use to transform your life into the one that you want to lead. The only problem is, when exactly are you going to achieve these goals.

Much like a lack of specificity could lead to inaction, goals without timelines could also lead to you sitting around and waiting for the “right time” to get yourself from Point A to Point B.

The key to achieving your goals the proper way is to set realistic timelines. For example, you are not going to be able to lose 30 pounds in a week and setting that kind of timeline will not only set yourself up for failure but it will discourage you from trying altogether.

Make sure that your timeline works in your favor. Instead of trying to lose 30 pounds in a week, try to set up a timeline of three months to meet this goal. This will make it easier to map out your progress and ensure that you will be successful by the time you reach your deadline.

7. Break Down Your Goals Into Small, Achievable Steps

Another helpful tip that will bring you closer to your desired life is to break down your goals into small, achievable steps. Since you already have specific, measurable goals, this will be easy for you to accomplish.

Some goals may seem too large to tackle and when you attempt to go after these large goals and produce little output, it can be easy to abandon your goal and return to your old habits.

When you have small, achievable steps, however, you are able to actually see your progress as you complete these mini goal milestones. This small chipping away at your goal will help you to build your confidence and keep you on the desired path.

To give you an example, let’s imagine that you are wanting to build your own business. Rather than making a comprehensive list of everything that needs to get done and then attempting to tackle everything at once, organize all of these steps in an easy-to-do order and then take it one step at a time.

This method is not only better for your confidence but it is a simpler, more effective way of getting to your goals.

8. Make an Effort to Work Towards Your Goals Each Day

Some goals are long-term and cannot be broken down into steps that are instantly achievable or able to be worked towards on a daily basis. When this happens, even if we want to reach the goal, it tends to go on the back burner as you work on other goals. These goals will often be left forgotten until you are reminded that you are no closer to making any progress.

Even if you cannot translate your end goal into smaller goals, it is important that you make an effort to work towards your goals each day.

Whether it is engaging in activities that are loosely related to your goal and will better help you reach it, or slowly working towards sub-goals that will take a while to achieve in themselves, do something each day to keep yourself on track.

If you never stop working towards it, it will continue to remain a priority until it is completed.

9. Keep a Journal to Measure Your Progress

If you’ve ever worked towards a goal, you may have gone through the motions, only to feel as though you haven’t made any actual progress when, in truth, you most certainly have.

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It can be hard to determine how much progress you have actually made on a goal if you do not have any way to gauge such a thing. In cases like these, it may be helpful to have a tool such as a journal.

With a journal, you can write down your main goal, your sub-goals, and you can place checkboxes or other completion sections next to each sub-goal. As you go through the process of completing each of the steps towards your goal, you can mark them off in whichever way you like so that you can see yourself plowing through each of your to-dos.

Even better, you can write down what exactly it is that you completed next to each of your sub-goals, how it made you feel, and how much you accomplished during that time period.

If you ever get discouraged anywhere during your journey, you can return to your journal to see how many sub-goals you’ve marked off and how much you’ve already accomplished along the way.

If you’re not a fan of journaling, you can always use other mediums that help you to achieve the same effect such as plain to-do lists or a simple blank document on your computer.

10. Establish Preventative Measures to Keep You Motivated Throughout the Process

Motivating yourself to get things done is honestly the most difficult part of the goal-setting and achieving process. No matter how badly you want something, you are never going to get it if you don’t have the drive to follow through on what it is you say you’re going to do.

In order to avoid this problem entirely and ensure to make as much progress as possible with minimal setbacks, you are going to need to establish preventative measures that serve to keep you motivated, even when you don’t feel like doing much at all.

One such preventative measure could be putting your goals online for everyone to see or sharing them with close friends and family. Why does this work? The answer lies in one word: accountability.

When you put your goals out there and refuse to follow through on them, it can be embarrassing to know that everyone you told about your plan and goals can see that you have failed in your mission.

By telling others, it holds you accountable and provides you with added incentive to follow through on your goal so that you don’t let down the people around you who know what you are attempting to accomplish.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can reward yourself for engaging in behaviors that help you to successfully tackle your sub-goals.

One article published in the American Psychological Association website identified rewards as one of the best motivational methods for learning. By providing rewards for completing the tasks that help you work towards end goals, you can begin associate achievement with rewards and rewire yourself so that you are focused on your goals and doing your best to reach those goals. [2]

While these are only two examples of systems that you can use to keep your motivation alive and burning, anything that keeps the drive to achieve alive will suffice.

11. Find a Way to Be Content With Your Current Situation

Feeling uninspired and stuck in your current situation isn’t only an indication that things need to change. It’s also an indication that you need to start finding the good in the situation that you are already in.

While setting goals is important in order to move forward with your life, the unfortunate aspect of change is that it takes time. That means that those who are unhappy in the position that they are in are going to remain unhappy until change occurs.

Luckily, you don’t have to remain unhappy. All you have to do is readjust your mindset and find ways to make your day more enjoyable. Enjoy more of what makes you happy and squeeze in time for yourself while you are working towards your goals and living the life that you are now.

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It is not going to be easy but you can at least enjoy the ride until you get to your destination.

12. Write Down 3 Things You Are Grateful For Each Day

Building off of the previous point, one such way to make the present more enjoyable is to start discovering what you are more grateful for in your life.

One study conducted by Dr. Michael E. McCullough from the University of Miami and Dr. Robert A. Emmons from the University of California, Davis studied the effects of gratitude by separating the participants in the study into three different groups.

The first group was instructed to write about events that took place during the week that they were grateful for while the second and third group were instructed to write about things that irritated them during the week and things that had happened during the week and how it affected them, respectively.

After the study concluded, it was shown that those who wrote about the events they were grateful for were more optimistic about their lives and also engaged in better life choices.[3]

While you could certainly follow this model, you could also do something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day, which is a popular method for most people these days. Over time, you will begin to notice the change and it will greatly help you while you seek to make change in your life.

13. Seek Out People You Can Grow With

Negativity breeds negativity and who you choose to hang out with could be the reason why you are feeling uninspired and stuck.

Are your friends generally unhappy and passing that attitude onto you? Are they seeking growth and change or are they complaining about where they are and then not taking the necessary action to cultivate the change they are craving?

More importantly, are you following this behavior?

If you are or even if you aren’t, and attempting to create change in this environment, you are fighting a losing battle.

You are going to have a much easier time growing and evolving if you are around people who are trying to do the same and who encourage you along the way.

Don’t worry if your friends react poorly when you make the decision to change your life. It will quickly reveal who was there for you all along and those who want to keep you down.

Final Thoughts

Feeling uninspired and stuck can be discouraging but it is simply that: a feeling.

Change begins with you! If you feel as though you are in need of something new in your life, use the 13 tips above to break out of your cage and create a life that you are in love with.

If you’re looking for additional advice that will help you to make these tips easier to follow through with, feel free to browse the productivity, motivation, and psychology sections of the Lifehack website to learn more about how your mind functions and how you can implement these tips more effectively in a way that works best for you!

More Resources to Boost Your Motivation

Featured photo credit: Christopher Windus via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Zig Ziglar: Wheel of Life
[2] American Psychological Association: The Science of Motivation
[3] Harvard Health: Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire 13 Things to Do When You Feel Uninspired and Stuck Where You Are How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up The Healthy and Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life

How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life

SMART goal setting is one of the most valuable methods used by high achievers today to actualize their life goals time after time. SMART goal setting is the inverse of random or carefree goal setting without strategy.

Perhaps, you’ve always wished to get back in shape but failed to act; or wished to get an annuity in place but failed to act; or wished to have control over your finances but failed to act. When you approach your goals with a carefree and nonchalant attitude you’re less likely to achieve them.

You should have a strategic goal setting method in place. It ought to be a time-tested and proven one. It ought to be purposeful. Without any of these considerations in view a person is likely to continue in a vicious cycle of failed goal realization.

To achieve your goals consistently and join the pack of high achievers out there who have consistently achieved much of their goals you must be prepared to do what these set of persons have been doing, and be ready to do the right thing: SMART goal setting.

What is SMART goal setting?

SMART goal setting is a goal setting method that considers certain factors about a goal relative to the person setting it. These factors are simply the five different letters in the SMART acronym.

It is relative to the person setting the goal because what is true for A may not be true for B; or what is possible for A or within A’s ability to achieve may not be possible for B or within B’s ability to achieve.

The acronym SMART can be broken down thus:

  • S—Specific
  • M—Measurable
  • A—Achievable
  • R—Realistic
  • T—Time bound

Is it possible that this acronym can make a long lasting impact in your life?

Is it possible that a mere goal setting metric like SMART can help you achieve so many of your unfulfilled goals?

Is it possible that if you practice SMART goal setting you would be able to have faster results, understand your goals better, overcome the habit of procrastination, and achieve a lot?

The power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

It is important to extend the enquiry by asking:

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  • How many times have you said you’ll read two books every week but failed to do so?
  • How many times have you said you’ll cut down on your expenses so you can save enough money to make a down payment for that apartment building you said you’ll buy five years ago but failed to do so?
  • How many times have you failed to keep to your diet routine even after all the tears you shed realising you keep adding pound upon pound every day?

We all have goals and we all have twenty four hours at our disposal and no one has more or less of it. While some people find it easy to achieve their goals without procrastinating. some find it difficult doing so.

For some people who have succeeded again and again in achieving their goals they have simply found out an easy way of doing this. Is there something they know that you don’t?

How SMART goals make a lasting impact in your life

Through SMART goal setting, Stephen Cooley was able to grow his real estate business to the point of closing at $110 million in sales when the average price point of homes was between $100, 000 – $200, 000 in South Carolina.[1]

Through SMART goal setting Steve Jobs was able to improve the fortunes of Apple and prevent the company from going bankrupt even when it had barely 90 days left before being declared bankrupt.

SMART goals setting can make a lasting impact in your life:

1. Make your goal clearer

When you use SMART goal setting it is easier for you to understand the various phases of your goal.

By using SMART you’re able to ask yourself relevant questions pertaining to your goal.

2. Motivate you into acting on your goals

When you use SMART goal setting and break down the goal into smaller goals or milestones, the bigger goal no longer looks intimidating or impossible.

Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul wrote in his book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be about how they applied the rule of five in marketing their book, Chicken Soup and were able to make the book a best seller after some months. The rule of five simply means doing five specific things every day that will move you closer to achieving your goal.

In order not to be overwhelmed too, you would have to measure your performance using the right metrics. Here we are considering the Measurable and Achievable aspects of the SMART acronym. It is critical that you measure yourself in terms of lead measures.

What are lead measures? They are the things you do that leads you closer to your goals. On the other hand you would have to avoid “lag measures.”

While lag measures mean a successful outcome that you wished for and got, they can be emotionally draining and deceitful because whenever they don’t happen, you can become discouraged and so leg measures do not necessarily mean that you are getting closer to your bigger goal.

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So it is better to stick to lead measures.

3. Help you save you time

You can achieve more when you’re strategic with your goal setting task.

To be strategic, your goal would have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time framed. If you can’t identify any of these points in your goal, you probably will be wasting your time on a wild goose chase.

When your goals are written down, it’s easier for you to go into action mode.

4. Improve your self-discipline

Self improvement is an important thing for everyone to do periodically. When you set SMART goals, it makes you realize that you have to sit up and work on achieving them.

How to set a SMART goal

To make your SMART goal works, follow the following tips:

Specific

Every goal ought to be specific. It is important to guard against making vague goals because even when they are achieved you may not know. This is because you weren’t specific enough.

For instance “I will start planning toward retirement” is vague. Rather than write that you could say, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan.” This is more specific.

So when you are specific on your goal it’s easier for you to identify all its components and work accordingly toward achieving it.

Measurable

Your goals must be measurable. When they are measurable, it’s easier for you to follow through.

A goal like this is not measurable, “I want to make millions of Dollars.” You can make it more measurable by saying, “I want to make one million Dollars selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten Dollars each.”

Also, using our example while explaining the Specific acronym, you can make the goal more measurable by saying, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month.”

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Achievable

How realistic or actionable is your goal? Is it practical enough to fit into a given time frame? Is it something you are able to achieve in your capacity?

A man would only be setting himself up for failure if he sets goals that are not reasonable.

A goal like this is highly unrealistic and therefore not achievable: “I want to be the Governor of Texas in six months” meanwhile the elections will be coming up in the next three years.

Goals must be written down relative to the experiences of the one setting them. They must resonate with you. It is important that you have at least some of the resources needed to actualise this goal.

It is also important that you consider your time frame. When the time frame to achieve a complex goal is too short it is rare that such goal will be actualised.

Thus, using our previous example if you write “I want to make one million Dollars in ten days selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten Dollars each,” you would only be setting up yourself for failure.

This is especially true if you’re not a popular author or if you’ve never sold even up to one thousand copies of any of your previous books whether e-copy or in print.

Realistic

Before you proceed to making the commitment toward that goal you need think about how realistic it is.

Being realistic means you should be willing to make all the commitments required for that goal to be achieved.

Time framed

Every goal must have a commencement date and an end date written down. It is also important that you break down your goals into phases, chunks, bits, or milestones.

The act of having deadlines set to your goals is ample motivation that drives you into action. Without a deadline, it is not possible for you to know if you’re making headway with your goals.

“I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month for the next twenty five years” is a time framed goal.

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Remember that some goals are short term while some are long term. It is important to always bear this in mind because this will help you in making a clearer and realistic strategy for your SMART goal setting.

Without SMART goal setting in view, much of our goals may likely end in our minds or on paper or just midway into implementation. SMART goal setting reveals to us all the action points of our goals and helps us to have an awareness of every aspect of our goals.

Over to you: Time for you to act now

I could go on and on. What matters at the end of the day is what you do with the contents of this article because the power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

It is not enough having a goal. It is not enough putting it down in writing. It is important having a strategy in mind while putting it down. This strategy is a guideline or set of rules that guide you. It is SMART goal setting in the given circumstance.

After writing down your goals you would have to be ready to take action. There should be a clear action point. Write down what you need to do on daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

As a matter of practice, it is important that you begin by putting down a single statement that captures best your goal. For instance, “I want to own a $200, 000 worth duplex by 1st of August, 2019.”

Now, you can break this goal into smaller goals by saving $17, 000 per month for the next twelve months. You would have to ask yourself if this $17, 000 is within your reach on a monthly basis. If you make up to $25, 000 per month and you spend $5000 for monthly upkeep then it is possible setting aside $17, 000 every month for this purchase.

When your goals are realistic, they make them worth the chase. One of the things to bear in mind is that in order not to be overwhelmed by the daunting nature of your goals remember to always break them into milestones, chunks, or bits. In fact, take one day at a time.

Do not bother yourself with the one year, three year, five year or ten year plan as this may likely overwhelm you with fear and doubt. Let your focus be on each day. What will I be doing today? Consider this and go for it.

More Resources About Setting & Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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