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Last Updated on May 8, 2019

Feeling So Stuck in Life That You’re About to Give Up? Help is Here!

Feeling So Stuck in Life That You’re About to Give Up? Help is Here!

In my 15 years at Lifehack, I’ve come across many concerns and problems that readers have written to me about, in hopes of finding answers and advice. A common one I receive time and again, is readers asking for help on how to get unstuck in life, or how can they stop feeling stuck.

It’s quite a broad question if you think about it. Unstuck in what aspect of your life? And just how stuck are you?

You may be at a point in life where you’ve reached a wall or crossroad, and you don’t know how to progress forward. You don’t know what your next steps are. A total career change? A promotion with more responsibilities you’re not sure you’re ready to take on? Not ready to get married or to have kids? Not sure if you should carry on with your full time job or become a stay home parent to devote your time fully to the kids?

Or have you found yourself in a situation where you just want to get out of it, but can’t seem to? Have you been at this job for 10 years now, and you don’t see yourself progressing and don’t feel challenged at work? Do you not look forward to going to work, yet you can’t find the courage to quit because you’re too comfortable or perhaps afraid? Or are you not sure if you can find something better and if the risk is worth taking? And so you end up putting that thought on hold and on hold and on hold…

How Stuck Are You?

And, there are also different levels of feeling stuck.

Some could be feeling stuck only temporarily, whilst others could be feeling stuck for months or even years. Often, as time passes, the feeling of being stuck intensifies when nothing is being done or changes.

And ultimately, some people end up settling, or just resigning to their fate. Subconsciously, without even realizing it, they end up pushing their dreams and goals further and further away.

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For others, the feeling of being stuck becomes so unbearable that they have to make changes. They have to get out of the situation, and so they make those life changing decisions in hopes of finally feeling free and unstuck.

So how is it that we even end up feeling stuck in life? Take some time to recall an instance when you were feeling that way. When you felt trapped and stuck, as if there was absolutely nothing you could do to turn things around, do you know how that happened as you think back now?

Why Do We Feel Stuck?

There are many reasons for why we end up feeling stuck in life. Sometimes, it’s because we’re too afraid of taking risks or making mistakes. We play it so safe that we do end up living ‘risk free’ lives, but they also end up being uneventful or unsatisfying, which leads to us feeling stagnant or stuck.

Here are some common reasons for feeling stuck:

You Don’t Know What You Want

You may feel stuck if you don’t really know what it is that you want in life. You don’t have concrete goals or dreams to work towards.

Even though you may be hustling at work everyday, getting on with your roles and responsibilities, you ultimately don’t feel fulfilled.

There’s always something missing, and so you feel stuck, trying to figure it out.

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You’re Not Getting Help

You could also be feeling stuck because you’re not getting enough support or help. You’ve only been relying on yourself to solve problems. After a while, there’s only so much you can do on your own.

You need fresh perspective, advice and support from others; whether they be mentors, counselors and coaches, your elders or loved ones.

Influence is a good source of inspiration and motivation. If you surround yourself with peers or mentors who have succeeded or achieved goals and dreams in their lives, then you’ll likely be influenced positively.

You’ve Been Chasing the Wrong Objectives

It could just be that you’re feeling stuck because you’ve been giving yourself false objectives. You see what others have and you start comparing.

Your colleague just got a promotion while you’re still at the same spot. Your best friend just got engaged, and here you are, still single with time ticking fast away. Your friends are buying luxury watches, bags and shoes, but you can hardly afford to pay off your credit card bills every month.

Comparing is one of the worst things anyone could ever do, because it often leads to extreme feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

You start questioning your life, and that’s how the feeling of being stuck arises because you don’t feel adequate compared to your peers. You don’t feel as accomplished.

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While this may sometimes be a good force to push you towards working harder, it can also become a huge demotivator when the wrong objectives are being compared.

How Do You Get Unstuck?

The list of reasons why we feel stuck in life goes on, but the good news is that it is possible to push past that limitation. It all starts with you–your mind, your thoughts and acceptance of wanting to get out of your current situation.

Your reality is derived from your perception. So it’s not reality that’s important, but rather, how you see reality. So being able to control how you look at things is the key to getting unstuck, and breaking free.

Shaping your perception is so powerful that just a small change in perspective can completely change everything.

All limitations really start from your mind. 

This means you can learn how to take control of the way you view your limitations, and push your way out of your current situation and become a better version of you.

The Breakthrough Framework

Feeling stuck is never a nice situation to be in. Yet more often than not, it is possible to get out of that situation once you’re able to transform your mindset and start taking action.

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Whether it’s wanting to get out of an unfulfilling job or toxic relationship, move up the career ladder or find more meaning in life, it is going to require more than one change.

What do I mean by that?

You don’t just embrace fear as what I’ve mentioned–to quit your job and that’s it, victory! You’re not going to be unstuck just like that. Sure, you may feel a temporary feeling of relief, but if you don’t make other changes in your life, chances are you’re going to end up facing a new setback or limitation in life again. 

This is why I want to introduce to you, the Breakthrough Framework. This framework gives you a chance at a total paradigm shift, so you can turn any limitation you may be having into an opportunity that is achievable.

By going through each of this 4 step framework, you’ll be able to transform your mind and actions towards the change that is needed to achieve your ultimate goals.

On your journey, you will use a core group of skills, which we call the 7 Cornerstone Skills . The Cornerstone Skills give you a more in depth understanding and application of what should be done within each step of the Breakthrough Framework, allowing you to quickly and effectively apply it to any limitation you face.

Tired of being stuck time and again? It’s time to resolve that permanently and start living out your best days!

Featured photo credit: Ben Hershey via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

If you have so many things to do that you often find yourself struggling to finish projects and tasks and move on to other stuff, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that over 20 percent of the adult population put off or avoid doing certain tasks by allowing themselves to be overtaken by distractions.[1]

So what is procrastination? And what can you do to prevent procrastination?

In this article, I am going to explain to youwhy procrastination is so difficult to beat and how you can stop procrastinating once and for all by following a step-by-step guide. But first, you need to understand how procrastination happens.

What Is Procrastination?

Piers Steel, the author of the book The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done, defines procrastination in this way:[2]

“Procrastination is to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.”

In other words, procrastination is doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones. The end result is that important tasks are put off to a later time.

This comic is one of the typical examples of procrastination:

    The Challenge of Getting Over Procrastination

    Human beings have limited self-control. Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychologist from Florida State University, has been studying self-control and he has found that just like any muscles, human’s self-control is a limited resource that can quickly become exhausted.[3] When self-control is close to being depleted, human tend to choose what’s more pleasurable– the immediate procrastinated tasks instead of the actual works.

    At its core, procrastination is an avoidance strategy. Procrastinators choose to do something else instead of doing what they need to do because it’s much easier to choose pleasure over pain.

    In short, procrastination is so difficult to beat because it is a battle against human’s natural enemy, a human weakness that is in-born.

    How to Stop Procrastinating (Step-By-Step Guide)

    Despite the fact that it’s human nature to seek for immediate rewards and procrastinate, here I have a step-by-step guide for you to follow so as to stop procrastinating.

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    1. Identify Your Triggers: The 5 Types of Procrastinator

    Identifying the type of procrastination you personally experience is an essential step for you to fix the problem at its root.

    Take a look at this flowchart here to find out what type of procrastinator you are:

      Which type of procrastinator are you? Let’s take a look at the triggers for your procrastination type:

      Perfectionist

      Being perfect is the pleasure perfectionists want. But often this leads to them being too scared to show any imperfections. Because of this, they frequently fail to complete things, as they’re forever seeking the perfect timing or approach. Tasks end up never being completed, because in the eyes of the perfectionist, things are never perfect enough.

      Instead of finishing something, perfectionists get caught up in a never-ending cycle of additions, edits, and deletions.

      Ostrich

      An ostrich prefers to stay in the dreaming stage. That way, they don’t have to work for real, or deal with any negativity or stress.

      Dreaming gives this type of people a false sense of achievement, as in their minds, they envision big, ambitious plans. Unfortunately for them, these plans will most likely stay as dreams, and they’ll never accomplish anything truly worthwhile.

      Self-Saboteur

      A self-saboteur has bought into the line that ‘by doing nothing, bad things won’t happen.’

      In reality, self-saboteurs have developed a fear of making mistakes or doing anything wrong. Their way to avoid these mishaps, is to do nothing at all. In the end, they may make few mistakes – but they also see few accomplishments.

      Daredevil

      Daredevils are those who believe that deadlines can push them to do better. Instead of having a schedule to complete their work – they prefer to enjoy time doing their own thing before the deadline comes around.

      It’s most likely an unconscious thing, but daredevils evidently believe that starting early will sacrifice their time for pleasure. This is reinforced in their minds and feelings, by the many times they manage to get away with burning the midnight oil. Often they sacrifice the quality of their work because of rushing it.

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      Chicken

      Chickens lack the ability to prioritize their work. They do what they feel like they should do, rather than thinking through what they really need to do.

      Prioritizing tasks is a step that takes extra time, so chicken will feel it’s not worth it. Because of this, they usually end up doing a lot of effortless tasks that don’t contribute much to a project. They’re incessantly busy on low-impact tasks, but seem oblivious to urgent, high-impact tasks.

      2. Face Your Triggers and Get Rid of Them

      Whether it’s fear of failure, overwhelming feelings, avoidance or convincing yourself you’re just too busy to get something done, you can improve your ability to be productive by eliminating your procrastination triggers.

      For Perfectionists, Re-Clarify Your Goals

      Much of the time procrastination tendencies form simply because we’ve outgrown our goals. We’re ever-changing and so are our wants in life. Try looking over your goals and ask yourself if they’re still what you want.

      Take time out to regroup and ask yourself what you really want to achieve:

      • What steps do you need to take?
      • Is what you’re currently doing reflecting what you want?
      • What do you need to change?

      Write things down, scribble them out and rewrite.

      For Ostriches, Do the Difficult Tasks First

      Even if you feel you’re not a morning person, the beginning of the day is when your brain is most productive. Use this window of time to get the more difficult stuff done.

      If you leave your difficult tasks to later, you’re much more likely to put it off because you’re tired and lack motivation.

      Finishing lots of simple tasks at the beginning of the day such as reading all the new emails only gives you a false sense of being productive.

      For Self-Saboteurs, Write out a To-Do (And a Not–To-Do) List Each Day

      Writing things down is powerful and psychologically increases your need to get things done.

      Each day, make a habit of creating a list of the tasks you know you’ll try and avoid. By doing this, it brings these ‘difficult’ tasks to your mind’s attention instead of keeping them locked away somewhere in your avoidance mode.

      Remember, think how satisfying and productive it feels to cross of a completed task.

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      For Daredevils, Create a Timeline with Deadlines

      It’s common to have a deadline for a goal which seems like a good idea. But this is basically an open invitation for procrastination.

      If it’s a self-created deadline with no pressure, we tend to justify pushing it back each time it comes into sight and feel we haven’t yet done ‘enough’ to get there.

      Create a bigger timeline then within that, establish deadlines along the way. The beauty of this comes when each deadline completion is dependent on the next. It keeps you on track and keeps you accountable for being in alignment with the overall timeline.

      For Chickens, Break Tasks into Bite-Sized Pieces

      A lot of the time procrastination comes from overwhelming thoughts.

      If something feels too big to tackle and we don’t know where to start, it feels like a struggle. This is also true if our goal is too vague and lacking direction.

      Break down larger tasks into smaller ones and turn them into daily or weekly goals. Smaller steps may seem like the slower approach to achieving a goal, but it often leads you much more quickly to where you want to be due to the powerful momentum you get going.

      3. Take Planned Breaks

      The human brain isn’t designed to work continuously on the same task and this could be a reason for procrastination.

      Make sure you take regular, structured breaks away from your task so that you can come back refreshed and ready to be more productive.

      A break as short as 5 minutes is enough to keep your mind sharp and wards off fatigue. I recommend you to use the Pomodoro Time Tracker. It is a great tool to help you take breaks at set intervals. Simply start the 25-minute timer, and follow the prompts.

        4.  Reward Yourself

        It’s important to acknowledge and reward yourself for achieving even the small tasks. It creates a sense of motivation and releases those feel-good, productive emotions that spur you on to achieve even more.

        Make your reward proportional to the task you completed so getting a bite-sized task done gets you a cup of your favourite coffee or snack. Then plan a weekend away or fun activity for the bigger stuff.

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        Personally I try to make staying focus more fun by using the app Forest. It turns productivity into a game. In the game, you can plant a virtual tree at the beginning of your work time. If you maintain focus for the duration of the timer, you’ll grow a tree to add to your forest. It’s rewarding when you can eventually grow a forest.

          5. Keep Track of Your Time in a Smart Way

          If you want to prevent the bad habit of procrastination from coming back, keep track of the time you spend every day.

          By having a clear idea of where you spend your time, you can always review your productivity and know which areas to improve.

          It’s not easy to keep track of every minute you spend throughout the day so I recommend you to use the app Rescue Time.

          It gets you a categorized breakdown of how you spend your time and helps you to find out how much time you’re really on-task. You can even label activities as productive and non-productive so as to block your biggest distractions.

            The Bottom Line

            Procrastination exists for many reasons and only you know for yourself what these triggers are.

            Understanding what procrastination really is and the source of your avoidance tendencies is important in moving them out of the way and help you start the productivity momentum.

            Make procrastination under your control!

            More About Procrastination

            Reference

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