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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 21, 2019

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

1. Salmon

Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

Curcumin has also been shown to:

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  • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
  • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
  • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
  • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

4. Coffee

Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

Coffee can also:

  • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
  • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
  • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
  • Improve your memory.
  • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

5. Broccoli

What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

6. Bone broth

Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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8. Eggs

For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

9. Dark chocolate

You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

Conclusion

Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
[2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
[3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
[4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
[5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
[6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
[7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
[8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
[9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
[10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
[11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
[12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
[13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
[14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
[15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
[16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
[17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
[18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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