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Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm

Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm

While we are creatures of habits, our habits can quickly become stale, leaving us feeling stuck or unsatisfied in certain areas of our lives. This is especially true for individuals who have been working in one position for many years.

The truth is that it is natural to feel stuck during points in your life and these moments exist to remind you that you are always growing and evolving, and crave change after a while of doing the same thing day in and day out.

Regardless of whether you feel stuck because you are unsatisfied and are looking for more out of your career path, or because things have simply become repetitive and you need to find more joy and purpose in your current position, here is why you feel the way you do and what you can do about it!

Why You May Feel Stuck in Your Career

You may be surprised to learn that there are actually quite a few reasons why you may feel stuck in your job after being on your chosen career path for years or even decades.

Let us go through some of the most common ones and see if you can find one that you can relate to!

1. You’re Undervaluing Your Worth and Your Abilities

No matter which career path you have chosen, you are going to experience competition.

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While teamwork is an important part of employment and you have to be able to cooperate with your coworkers, you are also expected to be great at your job and can only secure a position if you prove that you are one of the best people who has applied for the position.

That being said, once you secure a position, it can be easy to take a look around and determine that it would be hard to move up due to the misconception that others are “better than you”.

The problem with this type of thinking is that it can prevent you from moving forward while others continue to excel. No one is better than you! You have your own set of skills and strengths that give you a competitive advantage in comparison to others.

You can leverage those strengths to get to where you want to be in your career. Undervaluing your worth and abilities and not moving on because of this is one reason why you may feel stuck in your job.

2. You’ve Become Too Comfortable (and Have Lost Sight of What Matters)

If you’re not someone who is experiencing self-doubt that has prevented you from moving forward, you may simply feel stuck because you have become too comfortable where you are.

Learning new skills and being re-trained for a position can be a daunting task, and it can be easier to say, “I’d rather stay in a position where I know what I’m doing.” It doesn’t help if this position provides you with enough money to lead a comfortable lifestyle.

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You may be comfortable but comfort doesn’t equal contentedness. Your comfort may be the main contributing factor to your feeling of being trapped in your job.

If you’ve settled for your job because it provides enough for you, evaluate the reasons behind this choice to settle and seek comfort rather than progress or purpose.[1]

3. Your Work Doesn’t Challenge or Fulfill You

Your career path is generally one that you have some passion for, or one that you enjoy. It is also one that should inspire growth and should keep you engaged and challenged throughout the course of your career.

During the course of your career, you may find yourself at a plateau where your work is no longer challenging or you are no longer finding the value in what it is that you are doing. If this is the case for you, ask yourself, when did this happen? Why don’t you feel the same way you do about your work as you did before? Where did you lose that sense of purpose?

Only by figuring out where things have dropped off will you be able to pick up the pieces and begin to enjoy the qualities that attracted you to your position in the first place.

What You Can Do About It

Being stuck can leave you feeling helpless, but your life is in your hands. If you’re feeling stuck in your career, take control of the wheel with some of the helpful tips listed below!

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1. Determine Your Personal Needs

Feeling stuck is like feeling hungry or tired; it means that there are needs that need to be met that are not being met at the moment.

Sometimes, this results in a complete change of direction in terms of your career path; and other times, it means that you just need to tweak some of the current aspects of your job so that you can continue to love it.

The most important thing you can do right at this moment is to figure out what you need and lack in your career. Is your career providing for you? If so, what parts don’t you like about it and what things do you need to change to fall in love with your job again? If not, what career do you want and what skills will you need to learn to get there?

Once you figure out some of these harder questions, you will be better able to change your course to reach your destination.

2. Make a Plan That Will Help You Get There

Whether you’ve chosen to stick with your current position or go for a completely new one, you can’t just wing it. You need to make a solid plan that will help you to get to where you need to be.

After you’ve made a list of your needs, break down that list into solid actions that need to be carried out, so that you can move forward with your career goals.

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Do you need to learn new skills? If so, where can you learn them and when can you make time to learn them? Do you need to apply for new jobs? If so, what type of job are you looking for and how will you be able to acquire that position? Does your resume need to be padded? Are you prepared financially for the change?[2]

It can be a bit overwhelming to cultivate change in your life but it will be worth it in the end. A solid plan will help you along your journey.

The better you plan, the better the results will be and the fewer roadblocks will be in your way as you move forward in your career.

3. Stick with It!

Change only comes with consistency. Becoming unstuck in a situation where you feel trapped is not something that will happen overnight.

You need to constantly work at it and work with the end goal in mind. This will either be changing your career or putting your current job through a makeover. Use that as your motivation while you are following your plan. And then you are guaranteed to succeed!

The Bottom Line

Our life is full of cycles, which means that you are going to have to refresh every so often.

If it is your career that is starting to feel dull and can use a rebirth, the tips above will help you to break free of your work entrapment and begin anew.

More Resources About Getting Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Nicola Fioravanti via unsplash.com

Reference

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Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good 13 Things to Do When You Feel Uninspired and Stuck How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire 10 Reasons Why You’re Demotivated and How to Overcome It 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

Why is it important to be goal-oriented? If you make goals without asking yourself what your true strengths and values are first, you could put yourself on the fast track to disappointment. On the other hand, if you don’t set any intentions at all, you could bounce through life like a pinball doing what others want without accomplishing what’s really important to you.

Fear not. Here are 8 powerful ways to be goal-oriented using the ENVISION method (Endgame – Nesting – Value – Inspiration – Superpowers – Intimates – Openness – Nourishment) that will help you create a successful, meaningful life:

1. Start With the End in Mind

To ensure that you make goals that matter, stand back and examine your life from a broader perspective. Think about the happy ending you would like to achieve, the “E” in ENVISION, and work backwards to determine how you’ll get there.

For example, if you’d like to generate goals for yourself over the next five years, write down where you’d like to be professionally and personally five years from now.

Where do you see yourself in relation to work? What’s your family life like? What type of friends and social support group do you have? What are your hobbies? 

Next, ask yourself where you would like to be one year from now relative to what you’d like to accomplish in five years. Write the answer out in enough detail so that it seems real to you. Then, ask yourself where you’d like to be three months from now. Be specific.

What about one month or one week? What one small action could you take this week to come closer to achieving your master plan?

This exercise is a fun and eye-opening way to line up your goals with the bigger picture of your life so that you won’t waste your precious time on passing fancies and other people’s agendas.

2. Create Nested Goals

The most efficient way to achieve your goals is to nest action items inside them, the first “N” in ENVISION. Goal-oriented people get specific about when, where, and how they’ll reach their objectives by breaking them down into sub-goals.

Make your aspirations challenging but not too hard. Each one should be measurable. Instead of writing “I’d like to write a book,” try setting an intention such as “I’d like to write two hours a day, four times a week” and mark space on your calendar for it.

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Make your aims positive and keep track of your progress. Instead of business goals like “I’d like to quit my stinking job,” think about what a desirable career would look like. Try “I’d like to develop educational toys with like-minded people in a virtual office,” and then send out your résumé to companies with matching job openings.

Come up with alternative pathways to your goals so that if one doesn’t work, you’ll already have plan B in place. It’s normal to fail and experience setbacks. This goal-oriented strategy will help you move forward on the pathway to your dreams no matter what happens.

You can learn more on creating effectively goals here:

3. Get Clear on Your Values

Before you start setting goals, it’s important to ask yourself what you really value, the “V” in ENVISION.

The number one regret of people on their deathbed is that they did not live their dreams. Don’t let that be you. To avoid living a life full of “shoulds” and obligations, make a wish list. Jot down what you really want, and put all the reasons you think you can’t have it aside.

These aspirations can range from the material (such as a new car) to the psychological (high self-worth), to the spiritual (inner peace), to pretty much anything you can think of. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy.

Giving yourself permission to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to getting it. Be sure your goals speak to your soul.

4. Make Time for Inspiration

As you put your goals together, think about how you can find downtime to become goal-driven and receive inspiration in your life, the first “I” in ENVISION.

Americans put in the longest work hours and get the shortest paid vacation time in the developed world. Those of us “lucky” enough to have jobs have added another day to our work week because we now check work emails and calls from home. It’s easy to see why it’s hard to stay motivated toward specific goals in the long-term. 

However, the second regret of the dying is that they wished they didn’t work so hard. Research shows that people who engage in creative hobbies and side projects are happier and flourish more in life because they can generate new ideas and express themselves uniquely.[1] Feeling energized and playful, they get more done in less time, become better problem solvers, and receive better evaluations at work.[2]

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5. Form Goals Around Your Superpowers

Research shows that people are more likely to succeed when they develop their natural strengths, the “S” in ENVISION, than work on their weaknesses.

You can find your superpowers by answering these questions.

Each of us has a unique purpose in life. Most of us don’t realize it, though, because we’ve been pressured to conform to someone else’s idea of who we should be. Fear of change and staying in our comfort zones stunts our growth. Stretch yourself and take a risk if you want to find out what makes your heart sing.

Make an action plan to create a life in which you express your superpowers on a regular basis, whether it be through your vocation, a meaningful side project, a worthy cause, mindful parenting, volunteer work, or whatever else sparks your interest. This goal-oriented strategy guarantees you’ll thrive at work and at home.

6. Make Time for Intimates

When setting your goals, be sure to carve out time for your intimates, the second “I” in ENVISION. Intimates refers to close friends or people you have close relationships with.

The fourth regret of the dying is that they were too busy to see their friends much.[3] Make it a point to connect with real friends, people you can turn to for sympathy when you need it, confide in about most things, and be your true self around.

A new Cigna study shows that nearly half of Americans feel alone or left out.[4] According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad at Brigham Young University, the detrimental effects of loneliness is the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.[5] She warns that:

“Loneliness and social isolation are linked to around a 30 percent increased risk of having a stroke or developing coronary artery disease.”[6]

Become goal-driven to avoid loneliness

    Being with your friends is not only good for your soul, but it is also essential for your health and well-being[7]. Put it in your goals.

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    7. Open up Emotionally

    When crafting your goal-oriented life, be sure to include ways you can open up about your feelings, the “O” in ENVISION. The third regret of the dying is that they wish they’d had the courage to express their true feelings instead of stuffing their emotions down to keep peace with others.

    To lead a fulfilling life, it’s important to prioritize talking and behaving honestly with others instead of hiding your true feelings. According to Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps[8]:

    “Start with identifying your emotions (e.g. angry, hurt) and understanding what triggered you to feel this way.”

    She recommends you try to understand your feelings and practice self-compassion for having them. When you’re calmer, try to understand the person who upset you. This will help you respect and care about yourself and the other person.

    If there is someone you need to talk to or a situation you’d like to resolve, honor your feelings. Whether it be writing a letter, making a phone call, or visiting someone you haven’t seen in years, put it on your goal list.

    Be sure to meet in a safe environment if you’re confronting someone who has abused or harmed you. Tell the truth as you see it, and try to be kind.

    Sharing your genuine feelings may bring you closer together, and it may not. It doesn’t really matter how the other person responds. What matters is that you expressed your true self. Make emotional honesty a habit by adding it to your goals.

    8. Nurture Happiness

    To be more goal-oriented and succeed in life, nurture the people and activities that bring you joy, the final “N” in ENVISION.

    The fifth regret of people on their deathbed is that they wished they’d let themselves be happier. Instead, they stayed stuck in old patterns and pretended to be content when they weren’t.

    If you don’t like your job, make it a goal to look for a new position that aligns your paycheck with your purpose. If you are entrepreneurially-minded, think about turning your passion project into a business you love. If you have multiple passions, consider pursuing a slash career (e.g., copywriter/coder/career coach).

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    According to Forbes Magazine, many companies are beginning to see the value in hiring employees who have side gigs that differ from their main vocations. You’ll bring in multiple streams of income and experience more meaning and fulfillment in your life.[9]

    If you are unhappy with your marriage or romantic relationship, set a goal to do something about it. Do you need to go to counseling? Do you need to move on?

    If you’re on the fence about whether to keep a friend in your life, be goal-oriented about getting closure on the issue. Take care of yourself in the process by completing positive daily tasks, like taking yoga classes or getting a much-needed massage.

    Whatever you do, make it a goal to show compassion as often as you can because it will boost your happiness.[10] By helping others in need, you not only can decrease their suffering, but you can also make yourself happier than you could by directly pursuing activities to make you happy.

    Final Thoughts

    In summary, the ENVISION method shows you how to blend lessons from the five regrets of the dying with effective goal-setting techniques that center around your strengths to become goal-driven.

    It may seem like a lot of work at first glance, but, in truth, it should only take you about an hour to piece together a list of goals following these guidelines. Why not trade an hour of watching television or engaging in social media to do this instead? You can always get online and watch TV later to reward yourself for becoming more goal-oriented.

    You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring what would make your heart sing. It’s worth investing in yourself this way. You have the power to create a life that totally rocks by setting the intention to do so. As the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi wrote,

    “What you seek is seeking you.”

    More Tips on Achieving Goals

    Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

    Reference

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