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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 May 22, 2020

Think Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead

Think Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead

Positive thinking is one of the most touted philosophies in the world. The advantages of positive mantras have been presented by authors and motivational speakers around the world. However, value affirmation may be more effective.

Do these techniques really work? Why would repeating a simple, positive phrase change the way you think and feel? Those are the questions we’re going to dive in to.

Decoding Positive Thinking

Positive thinking[1] is about developing our mindset in such a way that we expect good and favorable outcomes from events in our life. In other words, it’s the process of transferring our energy into reality by thinking optimistic thoughts.

This doesn’t mean we are unrealistic about the possibilities. Positive thinking is about recognizing all of the possible outcomes but choosing to focus on those that are positive and offer improvements to our lives.

Does Positive Thinking Work?

While many people believe that positive thinking leads you to the path of happiness, there are others who think otherwise. Both sides have put forward many compelling reasons supporting their views. While the argument may never end, the detractors have many reasons to believe that positive thinking, in isolation, doesn’t do much for our mental health. Here are some ways positive mantras can backfire.

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How Positive Mantras Can Do Harm

While positive mantras can be a good addition to a routine when understood, there are some downsides that you should be aware of.

1. Suppression of Negative Emotions

If we use positive mantras [2] too frequently, it might work for a shorter period, but in the long run, it may cause adverse consequences. Why?

When we use a positive mantra, it tends to suppress our negative emotions. If it continues for an extended time and becomes a habit, then we might be overwhelmed by even more negative feelings at times when the results are not as expected, as there should be a balance between positive emotions and negative emotions in life. The balance of positive and negative feelings in life is what helps us to accept challenges and overcome them.

2. Actions Speak Louder Than Mantras

Additionally, uttering positive mantras in our life might work sometimes, and also, to channel the energy into reality, utter faith and absolute belief are required. However, the mantras most definitely prove themselves useless if we just keep chanting positive mantras but fail to put into action the message that the mantra is supposed to convey.

As a consequence, we might be caught off guard by negative vibes and feel highly frustrated because our mind will immediately conjure up many negative thoughts.

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For instance, if you believe that a perfect body is the one with well-toned abs and biceps, and you keep on insisting that you have a perfect body, then your mind will start searching for the so-called negatives in your body. You will be insecure about the little bit of belly protruding out, your waistline, and even your arms. This will make you more insecure about your body and will depress you even more.

3. Production of Delusional Thinking

A fact is a fact; it won’t change irrespective of the situations and time and won’t change even when you utter positive mantras your whole life. For example, if you are a little short on money, you aren’t going to miraculously solve your financial problems just because you utter positive mantras a million times. It will be much better if you accept the reality and work towards dealing with it.

For example, if you have loan problems, you should work on personal budgeting instead of living with a false sense of security. This will make you happier in the long run.

Let’s take another scenario as an example. You have an exam tomorrow, and you are not prepared well. You’re time would be better spent studying the information you’re lacking rather than repeating a positive mantra to convince yourself that you will be fine. Ultimately, the positive thinking will help you feel more confident on the answers you already know, but it won’t conjure up information you didn’t study for. Conjuring fantasies to wrap up reality is no way to answer any question in the real world.

Hard work is key to success in our life. If you have worked hard, then despite all the negative thoughts that might surround your head instinctively, you are going to perform better. However, if you haven’t put in enough work, then no matter how many times you say that you are going to be successful, it won’t be enough.

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4. Increase Low Self-Esteem

A study has also shown that positive thinking works well if you have very high self-esteem. However, if you have low self-esteem and utter positive mantras, it will only strengthen your negative mindset when there are met by set-backs[3]. This will result in many negative feelings.

For example, if a good football player believes that he is going to be the best, then it will act as a buffer to help him perform to his potential. However, if a player with low self-esteem thinks that he is going to be the best player in the world, he will get discouraged when he realizes he isn’t doing as well as he hoped.

Alternative to Positive Mantras

If you are a believer in positive mantras, and you are beginning to doubt its functionality, what will you do? Don’t fret, because there is another theory called value affirmation that might help you.

What is Value Affirmation?

First of all, values are the beliefs which we think are desirable and ideal. Our values are dynamic as they are changing and reshaping as we experience new things in our life. Therefore, it is necessary that we update our values constantly so our objective in life resembles the values we believe in.

If we are aware of our values, it will help to maintain balance in our life. If there is an imbalance between our value and aim, it will undermine our motivation to do things. Hence, value affirmation is recognizing and defining the values we believe in rather than repeatedly saying positive sentences that may or may not hold significance for us.

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Do Value Affirmations Work?

In a recent survey[4], students in one of the universities were chosen randomly to write about their values. Those students who were selected performed very nicely in their college years in comparison to those students who had not taken part. This was repeated again with the same success in the Hispanic community and African-American community.

Therefore, the next time you find yourself chanting mantras to assure you that everything is going to be fine, stop. Instead, try to recognize your deeply rooted values and check whether your values are in balance with your actions and goals.

The Bottom Line

Positive mantras can be a great addition to a regular meditation practice or a good technique to use if you are secure in your self confidence and direction in life. However, if you’re feeling lost or having trouble tracking down your motivation, value affirmations may do more to help you as they’ll force you to take a good look at what really matters in your life.

More Tips on Values

Featured photo credit: Kazi Mizan via unsplash.com

Reference

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