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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.

Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work 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

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Last Updated on April 23, 2019

The Key to Happiness and Leading a Fulfilling Life

The Key to Happiness and Leading a Fulfilling Life

If I ask you “what is happiness?”, then what would your answer be? It’s probably difficult to come up with a simple answer. Yet, here you are, looking for a key to happiness and how to lead a fulfilling life.

The truth is that a universal key to happiness is a myth.

That doesn’t mean that you should stop looking for yours right now, it only means that you need to be careful when reading articles about “a key to happiness”. The universal key to happiness is non-existent because happiness is one of the most difficult things in life to define.

How Do You Define Happiness?

Now, let’s go back to that difficult question: “what is happiness?”

Have you thought about it already? Let me give you an example of how hard it is to define happiness.

Right now, I’m drinking a cup of coffee while writing the outline of this article about how to define happiness. Am I happy right now? Yes, I’m feeling pretty happy:

  • I’ve got nothing to worry about.
  • All my basic needs are met.
  • My family, friends, and girlfriend are all happy as well.
  • The weather is nice.
  • I’m going outside in a couple of minutes to go for a walk.

These things are all making me feel pretty happy right now.

By that logic, let’s define my happiness as follows:

“Happiness is when I’m in a worry-free state, the weather is nice, everybody I know is alright and I can enjoy a hot cup of coffee.”

Voila. There it is. My definition of happiness.

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The keys to my happiness are obvious now, and I know enough in order to lead the happiest life I can. I just need to focus on the things I listed above.

Your Definition of Happiness Changes over Time

Wait a second… If it were this simple, then why have I ever been unhappy?

You might have guessed it already, but I made a very simple error. I assumed that what makes me happy today will make me happy for the rest of my life. And that’s just wrong.

Happiness is something that not only changes from person to person, but it’s also constantly evolving from day to day. This is why happiness is such a difficult concept, and why there’s not a single “key to happiness”.

Whoever tells you otherwise is likely not aware that people change, and that people don’t always share the same values, goals, and purposes.

How to Find the Key to Happiness

Define What Happiness Means to You!

For a minute, I want you to do consider your own happiness. I want you to think back of last week, and consider what things you did that had a positive effect on your happiness.

What things had a significant influence on your mood? What comes to your mind?

Was it spending time with your friends? Was it a great movie you watched? Did you attend an exciting sports event? Or did you enjoy sipping hot coffee on a sunny Wednesday morning? It could obviously be just about anything!

It’s important to realize that all these things were part of your “key to happiness”. Your happiness was defined by these things, and you just measured a small part of that.

Does that mean you now know all the answers? Do you now know how to live the rest of your life? No. But you do know what things made you happy last week, and that’s very useful information when determining your own definition of happiness to build on.

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If you consciously keep track of what factors determine your happiness, then you are more likely to find out just how much your definition of happiness can vary from time to time. This knowledge can help you find your key to happiness.

A Personal Example

You see, even though happiness is claimed to be the factor of life that’s the most difficult to measure, you can still measure how you define your own happiness each day. It’s simple.

For me personally, when I think back of last weekend, I remember that I really enjoyed spending time with my girlfriend, walking through the woods on a sunny day and just relaxing (a.k.a. doing nothing!)

These are happiness factors that were a vital part of my happiness definition this weekend. I had just survived a long and busy week at work, so I was really trying to find some easy enjoyment. The things that I did this weekend were perfect for the occasion, as it was a very happy day for me.

If you were to ask me what the key to my happiness was that weekend, I’d give you the following answer:

To spend quality time with my girlfriend, being able to enjoy the good weather while being carefree and relaxed.

While this is unlikely to be the key to your happiness for the rest of your life, it is a pretty good start.

You can do exactly the same. All you need to do is to define your own happiness from day to day.

Find Your Purpose in Life

The next step to determining your key to happiness is to determine the things that give you purpose. You will live a fulfilling life when you’re happily tracking towards a purpose. Something that you’re passionate about.

Let’s use the previous example of my key to happiness. Will I be happy for the rest of my life when I focus exclusively on a relaxed and carefree feeling? Probably not, because it will not lead to a very fulfilling life. Not for me, at least.

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There are some things that drive my actions in a much bigger sense than only my daily, short-term happiness. For some people, that purpose could be:

  • To take care of a loving family
  • To build a successful company
  • To climb the highest mountains
  • To be rich and famous

You have to find out what your purpose in life is in order to truly determine your key to happiness. Only then will you be able to define a sustainable plan that will make you both happy and fulfilled.

It’s important to know that you can find your purpose only when trying out new things. This is a crucial part of finding your key to happiness. You can’t read an article online (like this one) and suddenly learn about what your key to happiness is!

The same thing goes for finding your purpose. You can’t expect to find your purpose without trying new things. People stumble upon their purpose in life in lots of different ways.[1]

Combine Your Purpose in Life with the Keys to Your Happiness in Order to Lead a Fulfilling Life

Now, this might sound like a mouthful.

A purpose in life x keys to your happiness = fulfilling life?

It’s actually really simple. Let’s take the following example:

I’ve found that my purpose in life is to become the CEO of a great and powerful charity (I know, I know…)

I feel a purpose and sense of accomplishment when working towards these goals. However, should I therefore sacrifice everything in my life in order to reach that purpose? Should I work 100 hours a week, disregard any relationships and use sleep medication just to fall asleep under the stress?

Nope. If I do that, I might reach my purpose, but I won’t still be happy.

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However, if I spend the rest of my life similar to how I spent my last weekend (enjoying the sun and walking through the forest) I will also miss long-term happiness. That’s because I won’t feel like my life has a purpose.

Your key to happiness and the purpose of your life need to compliment each other. They need to be in balance.

Destination = Happiness = Journey

You’ve probably heard the saying:

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination”.

Think of the destination as your purpose, and think of the journey as the things you do that make you happy (the keys to your happiness).

You can’t spend your life running (or sprinting) towards your destination, because you’ll forget to enjoy the journey.

At the same time, you can’t head out on your journey without having a destination in mind.

That’s why I believe your happiness is a product of both the journey and the destination.

Or in other words, you need to combine your purpose in life with the keys to your happiness in order to lead a fulfilling life. This will allow you to create a road map – a specific and concise plan – that will help you determine how to best lead your life. If you’ve done that, you’re ready to steer your life in the best direction possible!

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember when trying to define your keys to a happy and fulfilling life is simple:

There is no universal key that leads to your happiness. That’s because your happiness is unique in each and every single way. What you can do is:

  • Realize that you can define the factors that make you happy.
  • Know that your happiness – and the factors that influence it – change over time, and so will your “key to happiness”.
  • Find out what your purpose in life is. You can only do this by trying out many things. You can’t learn this from simple reading an article!
  • Combine your purpose and the things that make you happy in order to get the best idea of how to steer your life in the best direction possible!

Featured photo credit: Sam Manns via unsplash.com

Reference

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