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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.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude

5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude

Cultivating a positive mental attitude starts with a realization — a realization that you’re not the only one who has struggled, who has survived, and who has started over again. You are not alone, and there is a way through the darkness. There is simple wisdom, which can be relied upon, to help.

Find support, but also learn self-care in how you treat yourself which is what positivity is all about. That self talk, that perception, that attitude you choose changes you and changes those around you.

According to New Stanford Study: A Positive Attitude Literally Makes Your Brain Better by Jessica Stillman,[1] Stanford researchers studies how the brain was impacted in achievement and learning when one felt or was positive about a subject. The result? Outcomes were much more favorable for that student.

We do well in areas we are positive about. But what if we can choose to be positive about, well, anything? That would change everything.

Positivity is not about just being happy, which is often the misconception. In fact, acknowledging a range of emotions is healthy. Positivity is persistence while using positive thinking strategies. It is sitting with your feelings; it is acceptance of what is; it is holding onto what makes you happy; it is purpose found in pain.

And the reasoning behind choosing to be positive — you get what you give. You receive what you believe.

Here’re 5 steps to cultivate a positive mental attitude. In part, they detail why it’s important to be positive as an understanding assists in the pursuit as much as the adoption of the mindset.

1. Attitude is What We Can Change

There’s a Maya Angelou quote that goes:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

When you choose positivity as your attitude, you select an attitude far more destined for resilient behavior than the alternative.

When you have a negative attitude, your brain gives itself permission to develop negative thinking patterns and in turn, difficult and dark emotions. You spend all your days ruminating, or worrying about the same thing over and over again, thinking that will solve it. Doing this will cause you to miss the answers rather than make the most of the moments in front of you.

In actuality, the first thing you need to do is calm yourself. It feels counterintuitive, but that means to release your troubled mentality. When you release what is bothering you, you choose a safer attitude. One that helps you to accept your emotions, accept what is happening and accept that you don’t have all the answers. You’re less afraid of that fact.

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Attitude is everything. It’s how we heal ourselves. It’s how we stay positive. It’s how we secure things. It’s how we overcome.

Without a positive attitude, we cannot persevere. Perseverance is the point of positivity.

A positive attitude is how we fuel willpower. Willpower is how we fuel positivity. It goes in a circle. They are interchangeable.

Positivity denotes willpower. You can be standing in a storm and feel completely calm when you use positivity. You stay grounded. You stand firm. You do not fall over. And you know what? Even if you do, you get back up again.

There is a Japanese proverb, “Nana korobi ya oki” which means fall seven times, get up eight. This means you do not stop; you keep going. You make it through the hard times to find the good.

A positive attitude is about understanding you have power over your problems. Once you understand that, you can change your attitude. You have to choose positive thinking first in order to reap its benefits. Once you’ve chosen to be positive, you can do anything.

2. Positivity Is Your Unique Power

When you have lost it all, a positive attitude can help you regain it or to regain your strength. It’s the best way to live. It’s the best way to learn from life and love. When you are positive, you have a power that circumstance nor others cannot take from you.

Recognizing the power you have to carry on, to make the best of things, to keep going when everything inside you wants to quit is worth everything.

You can’t always have it all, but you can always have a positive attitude. This in itself helps you stand out, helps you to shine. It’s enough to save yourself (and others potentially) with. That power keeps you grounded and safe.

For example, say you lost someone to a disease. Instead of just thinking about the loss and seeing it as the end, a positive person may decide to contribute to a cause dedicated to that disease. In doing so, the positive person becomes a beacon of hope. They become a voice for something which in turn gives them power over their hardship.

This is how people keep going: Meaning. Meaning creates a power over our emotions, over our loss so that they do not define us.

According to the Mayo Clinic, positivity affects one’s stress levels and overall health.[2] It is that powerful. When you are positive about a situation, you are less stressful and more calm and able to reason better to solve the very problem in front of you.

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Cultivating this power is about realizing a sense of meaning can be derived from all circumstances, even senseless tragedies. People often contribute to something greater than themselves when they are searching for meaning, for purpose, for positivity, for power.

You don’t always have to have a reason for why something happens, but you can use whatever happens for a greater cause. It’s subjective, changing from person to person. That’s why no matter how much you want to derive meaning from an event, there are no outright answers about how to do that.

So, what do you do? Meditate. Listen.

“Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it. Let go of your mind then be mindful. Close your ears and listen.” — Rumi

3. Be Absolutely Present

In life, you have control over your ability to be present in the moment, even if not control over everything. You have the moment.

Positivity is telling yourself that this moment is what matters. You can’t regret the past or see the future. The only way to be positive is to be here. What do you have right in front of you? Suddenly, your life shifts to gratitude.

Gratitude serves us in letting go of what we do not need. Listing what makes us happy is one way to stay present. What do you have right now that you can use? You have the tools to be positive.

Some techniques to getting there are through meditations or mantras. For example, “Nothing bad is happening right now” is an easy one to incorporate. Your past traumas can’t trip you when you ground yourself in the present, and your ability to reason further develops to the point that even if you can’t see the future, you know it will play out like this– with you empowered and in the moment, using all your wisdom and tools and positivity to persevere. That’s all you need.

Focus on the moment. In a blog about Mindfulness, Courtney Ackerman writes that one such exercise is to live in the moment to reduce worrying.[3] Think about the past and future in small, manageable doses. But focus mostly on the present, what is happening right here and now. This will reduce worrying and therefore stress as well as other negative emotions significantly.

This will allow you to be positive.

4. Practice Self-Love

Self-talk is the core of self-love, the core of what positivity is all about. Positive self-talk leads to self-love. And when our own cup is empty, we can pour into another’s. We have to help ourselves first before we can help others.

What we say to ourselves is how we practice positivity or put it into action.

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For example, there’s a children’s book called The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper where the train thinks, “I think I can, I think I can” the whole way through its travels. The result? It could because it told itself that it can.

Such a simple concept for a complex world. And yet, it works.

This is also how self-love works. What you tell yourself is powerful and makes its mark. Here are examples of things you could tell yourself to practice positivity:

  • I am enough.
  • I am worthwhile.
  • I can do this, I just have to hold on.
  • I will make it through this.
  • I am powerful.
  • I am unstoppable.

Here’re more examples for you: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life. Add to this list with your own!

When you write these positive mantras, you start to feel them. If you write “I am positive about this situation” enough times, you will start to feel that positivity seep in.

Loving yourself is not going to be easy nor come overnight. There will be a mess of feelings, regrets, negative self talk and more that you will have to carefully tip toe through to hold your own heart. Your heart needs love, and often, we deny what it needs in pursuit of purposeless pleasures such as external rewards rather than internal motivation for a life well lived. We live for what others think of us, say about us, and sometimes, losing it all or going through hardship can teach us what we really need: ourselves.

Loving yourself needs to come from an authentic place, not a “fake it til you make it” mentality. It needs to be real. It needs to include those flaws and all. That’s all you can do to become positive about yourself. You have to start within and do the work necessary to heal and be healthy.

Take a look at these 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit and try to practice them.

5. Avoid Toxic Positivity (Unhealthy Positivity)

Avoid the white knuckling type of positivity where you don’t acknowledge your struggles or pain (as they also serve you). You don’t just want to tell yourself to move on because that equates to repression.

Emotions are part of positivity. You want to sit with your feelings. You want to acknowledge them, give them a voice. Instead of telling yourself to move on, you let your emotions lead to a breakthrough that helps you cope with the changes of life.

The greatest misconceptions made about being positive is assuming one does not have to feel in order to change. Throwing away hurt, anger, grief, sadness, all those emotions we associate with being “negative” only thwart our growth and power. Positivity is USING these things to better yourself or the world around you because you’re not going to give in to them. They do not become you or your identity.

You don’t have to be the white knuckling soldier you’ve always been. You say your emotions, then follow up with a use or outlet for them. That makes your positivity profound.

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Positivity is not about wearing a mask; it is the opposite of a mask. It is freedom from negative thinking strategies such as jumping to conclusions, black or white thinking, worst case scenario assumptions and more. It’s acknowledging that there may be more strength or ability in you than previously assumed. And it’s worth it to find out.

Toxic positivity may suggest you simply put a smile on and act fine. That’s not real positivity. Healthy positivity is about showing up when you’re tired; loving when you are feeling loss; healing when you want to cling to your hurt. It’s realization that you are worth it, not worth writing off. And you care about the outcome, so you stay to sort it out. You don’t abandon or jump ship. You hold on. That’s healthy positivity.

So that one day you may say to others, “I see you. I feel you. I understand you,” because you have been where they are and got through it. It’s acknowledging the dark as much as the light.

It’s living so others may live; it’s all you need. It’s not an exact formula everyone can replicate, and no one can copy you either. Your story is important. You are meant to be here. You are meant to do well. It will be those thoughts that get you to the finish line. Thriving.

Final Thoughts

In every moment, you’re not going to want to be positive. There will be times when you want to throw in the towel. But even then, choosing your attitude, recognizing the power of positivity, being absolutely present, practicing self-love and avoiding toxic or unhealthy positivity will better your days and assist through your trials.

Being positive isn’t easy, but it’s worth it to see what is going to happen next. Just around the corner may be the change you need, but you’ll never know if you don’t hold on to find out.

Positivity is about being curious enough to stay for the outcome because you simply believe, hold onto and trust in yourself and some goodness in this world. That’s enough to keep one going, and enough to help them go from surviving to thriving which is where you want to be.

Everyone has low moments. There’s nothing to be ashamed of for that. You can feel negative emotions though without shaming yourself for them by practicing healthy positivity. These steps are how to cultivate a positive mental attitude.

That way you don’t live with regret. You live in the moment. You make the decision how.

You can start at anytime. Positivity can be like a switch of perception. Once you uplift yourself, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. And soon, you’ll be onto uplifting others which helps even more.

Positivity is contagious. It spreads like sunlight over the darkness. You can be the source of that sunlight. All you have to do is simple: Believe you can.

Good luck!

More About Positivity

Featured photo credit: Court Prather via unsplash.com

Reference

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