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Published on April 9, 2019

Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck

Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck

Most people struggle with mastering their mindset, they feel stuck in their lives, careers, and relationships. They struggle to find a way to move forward. They have big dreams, but they feel like something is holding them back.

If you feel this way, you are not alone.

Most people want to increase their productivity and profitability. They want to have better relationships and better lives. However, getting unstuck is about having a better mindset and tactics. Ignoring the mindset will not lead to durable change.

In this article, I will mention five questions that have the potential to help you master your mind, gain a better understanding of your emotions, manage your time better and help you get unstuck.

A positive mindset is the most powerful weapon in your quest for success. The road to success is hard,  it is full of obstacles, and adversity. If you doubt yourself, you won’t be able to attain the success that you deserve.

Mastering your mindset requires you to unleash your inner strength, avoid negative self-talk, and ask yourself the tough questions:

1. What Is Holding You Down?

“The hard choices—what we most fear doing, asking, saying—these are very often exactly what we most need to do.” — Tim Ferris

My inner voice held me down for a long time. It convinced me that I was not smart enough, strong enough or good enough to do what I was trying to do. I finally learned to silence my inner voice and go after my dreams.

If you feel stuck and your inner voice is holding you down. Ignore that voice.

Some people allow fears to keep them stuck in their situations. Fear has the ability to keep you stuck and control your mindset. Tim Ferris silence his fear by stating his fear out loud,

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“By becoming familiar with the worst case scenario, you begin to melt the fear holding you back.”

He designed an exercise called ‘fear-setting,”[1] Ferris learned when he faced his fear on paper, it was easier to defeat it in real life. He understood that fear was holding him down and preventing him from accomplishing his goals.

What is holding you down?

2. Whose Permission Are You Looking For?

“You Don’ t need permission to chase your dreams. Go execute.”  — Gary Vaynerchuk

You do not need anyone’s permission to be yourself and to share your gifts. Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur and New York Times Best Selling Author, wants to write a new book about giving yourself permission to do your thing.[2] He believes that the only permission you need to be yourself is your own permission. Give yourself permission to be great.

When you want something, go for it. Do not wait for others to approve your choices. If you want to quit your job, quit. You do not need your friend’s approval to do it.  If you want to improve your relationships with your kids, start today. You do not need your ex-wife permission to do it. If you want to lose weight, start eating healthy. Do not worry about what other people think of you.

As a little kid, I was fascinated by writing short stories, but I was too afraid of what other people would say about my writing. I was waiting to be picked, for someone to tap on my shoulder, and ask me to write. I was waiting for permission.

If you want to do something, stop asking for permission, and go make great things happen. When you succeed, your fans will show up, do not worry about them, start shipping your work.

3. What Ignites Your Fire?

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” — Ferdinand Foch

If you want to get unstuck and grow, you need to start asking yourself, “What ignites my fire?”  Answering this question will get you closer to your goals, and it will help you master your mindset.

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Find out what ignites your fire. What makes you happy? What drives you?

Steve Jobs knew what ignited his fire, he was obsessed about design. His obsession started when he was a little child, he loved the idea of simple and elegant design. Anytime he faced with a problem and felt stuck, he asked himself, “What is my obsession?” The answer was always the same, simple design.[3]

Designing simple products is what ignited his fire. Find out what you are obsessed about, and you will find what ignites your fire.

If you want to get unstuck, adopt the finding the fire mindset, and ask yourself  “What ignites my fire?”

Feeding the fire will keep you focused, motivated and productive. Find and fuel the Fire.

4. What Commitments Are You Making?

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”  — Vince Lombardi

If your marriage is not as good as you like it to be, check your commitments. If your relationships with your kids, it is not where it should be, revisit your commitments. If you are not earning the money that you like to earn, recheck your commitments.

Your commitments are the bridge between you and your ideal life. Commitment is a mindset that is guaranteed to get your unstuck from any situation you find yourself in.

Being stuck is not about lack of knowledge, it is about lack of execution. If you want to execute your plans, adopt a commitment mindset.

Commitment mindset is about accountability and ownership. If you want better results in life, own your problems. If you want faster results, be accountable for your work. Commitment is the bridge between you and your goals.

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If you want to get unstuck, commit to doing the work. Ken Blanchard talks about the importance of commitment,

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

If you want to get unstuck and move your life forward, stop accepting excuses, and commit to doing the work.

5. What Change Are You Seeking?

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” — Abraham Maslow

If you want to master your mindset, you have to be clear about the change that you are seeking.

Are you trying to have a better work-life balance? Are you trying to launch your first business? Are you trying to regain your health? Are you trying to manage your emotion better? Are you trying to build a better relationship with your spouse?

What change are you seeking? Once you get clear on your goals, it is easier to get unstuck and shift your mindset. Be clear on your goals, and the change that you are seeking.

In 1954, Roger Bannister was 25 years old, a medical student at St. Mary Hospital in London. Bannister was vocal about running a mile in under 4 minutes. He devised a new training regimen, he started to run alone more frequently and with harder intervals. The British press called him a ‘lone wolf’ and suggested that he needed to change his regimen if he is serious about competing.[4]

He would spend hours envisioning himself crossing the finish line in under 4 minutes. He shifted his mindset  from “This is an impossible goal” to “I want to be the first to do this.”

At that time, it was considered a physical impossibility to do that, but he focused on psychological training more than his physical training. He started to master his mindset. Bell Taylor wrote in HBR that Bannister understood that he had to overcome a psychological barrier first and a physical barrier second.[5] On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes – 3:59.4 to be exact becoming the first human being ever to do so.

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Roger Bannister silenced his inner voice, gave himself the permission to be great, understood that running alone ignited his fire, made a promise to be the first human to break the 4-minute mile, and he was very clear about the change he was seeking.

Final Thoughts

If you are stuck, ask yourself the above five questions. Once you answer them, you will realize that you are more powerful and capable than you realize.

Stop letting fear, society and your inner voice slow you down. You have the power within yourself to follow your own dreams and achieve your goals.

It starts in your head, and your head can be a scary place to be. Don’t allow your negative mindset to take control of our own feeling. A little self-criticism is a good thing, it can be a reality check that recalibrate your actions. On the other hand, excessive self-criticism tends to prevent you from moving forward and cause you to identify with your shortcomings.

Instead of beating yourself up, and identifying yourself with your shortcoming, take a few deep breaths and reflect. Instead of saying I’m a failure, say I failed at this project. Do not say I’m a smoker, say I smoke. Focus on the action that you like to change instead of focusing on your feeling.

Start practicing positive talk, instead of saying I’m overweight, say I would like to lose 5 pounds and I know how to do it. Make the choice to be kind to yourself, and stop all negative self-talk.

Answering these five questions will unleash your inner strength, allow you to master your mindset, and get you unstuck from any undesired situation you find yourself in.

These answers will be your guide to master your mind, build better relationships, manage your time, conquer your crises, overcome daily obstacles and increase your productivity.

More Resources to Help You Get Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Luke Southern via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Luay Rahil

Luay Rahil is a speaker, and the Founder of Lead with Integrity.

Why Negative Self Talk Is Bad for You (And How to End It in 3 Steps) How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck

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Last Updated on September 17, 2019

30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

I sat in the quiet, cold, white doctor’s office in Sydney, Australia. There was crinkly loud paper under my legs as I waited for my MRI results. I had been in pain for months and desperately wanted to know what was wrong. The doctor removed his glasses, pointed to the images, and told me I had a compressed disc in my lower back, narrowing of the spinal column and arthritis.

I was 21, living in a foreign country and alone. I burst into tears and all the worst-case scenarios ran through my head. He told me I could never run again, and worse, I would need to stop exercising completely for an indefinite period of time. Sports, activity, exercise, running, being athletic and adventurous – that was my identity and had been for most of my life. I went home and crawled in bed. I felt hopeless, defeated and depressed. My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, came over and tried to cheer me up. But it seemed nothing could do so.

My life as I knew it was over. If I couldn’t be an adventurous athlete, I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore.

This wasn’t the first time I had been told by a doctor never to run again. In fact, it was the fourth. The first was at the age of 16 after my first knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus. The second and third times were in college. Once was my sophomore year when I was training for a marathon. I have always wanted to run a marathon (and still do), but had to stop two weeks short of the finish line as I developed stress fractures in both of my femurs. The other, my junior year, I found myself on the surgery table, removing part of my meniscus. The doctor once again, as others before him, told me that I should never run again. I nodded my head, healed my knee, strengthened my leg in physical therapy and once again hit the pavement and the sports field.

Which leads us back to the doctor’s room in Sydney. This time it wasn’t my knee. It was my back. And the doctor told me if I chose not to listen this time, if I DID continue to run, that I could pinch a nerve, causing the potential for serious problems long term.

Pain I could handle, but the thought of being paralyzed, or worse, was not a risk I was willing to take. Continuing to ignore my doctor’s advice and push through the pain was not an option anymore.

It was time I started taking better care of myself and my body. It was time I learned what self-care looked like.

I hate the term self-care.

I have always cringed at the term self-care and therefore, any advice to follow it. Even today, the word still makes me uncomfortable. Something deep within me feels weak when I hear it; like I’m not tough enough or I can’t handle what life throws at me.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always been an athlete, or because I was raised in a fast paced, entrepreneurial family. At six-years-old, I remember walking behind my dad at the store. He kept a fast pace. I yelled ahead, “Wait up Dad, slow down!”. His reply, “Hurry up, speed up, catch up, run!”

So that’s what I did most of my life. I hurried up, sped up, caught up and ran. If I was in pain, I sucked it up and worked through it. If I was tired, I pushed through. If I was sad or upset, I pushed it aside and moved forward.

In my mind, self-care meant slowing down, not progressing; for those who couldn’t keep up. To use a term from my grandpa, I thought self-care was for ‘sissies.’

But what I didn’t realize until that wake-up call in the doctor’s office was that self-care is the very thing that allows us to do everything we want to do in and with our lives.

It is what gives us the energy, strength and resilience to keep going.

I want to emphasize something I wish someone had told me. Maybe someone did, but I needed them to take me by the shoulders, shake me, look me in the eye and say it.

Self-care isn’t for sissies. Self-care is not for the weak. It is not a luxury. And it is not selfish.

When you don’t take care of yourself, are too hard on your body, or don’t take care of your emotional needs, you are at much higher risk for burnout, a variety of mental health issues including anxiety and depression, physical injury and illness.

Not taking care of yourself will always catch up to you. Sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve had a wake-up call of your own.

Why Is Self-Care Important?

Self-care is quite literally taking care of yourself. It isn’t just about getting a massage. It is any action you take to preserve and improve your health, wellness, happiness and fulfillment.

We’ve all heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” or “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” These are self-care. You cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself first. This takes on a whole new meaning when you also have kids and a family.

    self

    Self-care is doing what needs to be done so you can be balanced and energized to achieve all that you want out of life. Self-care nourishes your mind, body and spirit and allows you to thrive. It increases your happiness, ability to be successful and the quality of your life and relationships.

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    When I look at it that way, not as something for the weak, but as something to help us live our best lives, then instead of becoming an ‘nice to have’ it becomes an important and essential part of life. In fact, I now know it’s the only way to live my fullest life.

      That’s why I’ve pulled together 30 ways to practice self-care so you can live your best life. I’ve got you covered from an integrative wellness approach – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

      How to Practice Self-Care: 30 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

      Let’s start with the basics. These are self-care practices you can do daily. Many take very little time or energy, and most can be done in less than five minutes, some in less than one.

        1. Breathe

        Deep breathing increases circulation by bringing oxygen to your muscles and brain. This increased oxygen content leads to greater energy and healthier muscles, organs and tissues. Breathe deeply more often. What happened when you started to read this? Did you take a deep breath? Great, you’re already practicing self-care.

        2. Eat Well

        Your body is a machine and food is your fuel. Simple as that. I’ve learned two main things studying diets over the years and working with top health doctors:

        First, focus on eating real, whole, nutrient-dense food; avoid processed foods and refined sugars.

        Secondly, find what works for you. There are lots of options out there – pale0, Mediterranean, plant-based, you name it.

        3. Stay Hydrated

        The human body is composed of 50-65% water. Some parts of our bodies, like our brain, heart and lungs, are more than 70%. Drinking water is a simple, effective way to take care of yourself.

        Aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses daily. It takes no extra time, energy and effort, so grab a glass and start hydrating.

        4. Sleep

        I used to wear it as a badge of honor that I didn’t sleep much. However, increasingly more studies are coming out on the importance of getting enough quality sleep[1] and, more importantly, the consequences when you don’t. Make sleep a priority. Your mind and body will thank you.

        5. See Your Doctor

        How long have you been putting off making an appointment, tolerating constant pain or dealing with something that just isn’t right?

        Most things can be dealt with if they’re caught early – and are much harder to manage if you wait. Grab your phone, schedule an appointment now.

        6. Express Gratitude

        In order to live a life we love, we must first love the life we live. Research continues to surface on the science and benefits of gratitude.[2]

        Being grateful is one of the simplest, yet most powerful, things you can do to take care of yourself. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

        7. Take Supplements

        Name what ails you and research or ask your doctor what vitamins, minerals, or herbs can support your health and well-being. For example, those with a B-12 deficiency are much more likely to experience anxiety and Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to all sorts of health problems.

        I take turmeric/curcumin to reduce inflammation,[3] and B2 and magnesium supplements recommended by my neurologist for hormonal migraines.

        Always make sure to check the quality and efficacy.

        8. Hug Your Kid, Spouse or Pet

        Hugging boosts your oxytocin levels (the love hormone), increases serotonin (elevates mood and creates happiness), strengthens the immune system, boosts self-esteem, lowers blood pressure, balances the nervous system and releases tension. Only a few seconds can put you in a positive mood.

          9. Meditate

          Yep, you knew this was coming, didn’t you? Check out how to meditate here . And, if you’re one of those people who think you can’t meditate (I feel you, I was one of you!), no more excuses. Try it.

          10. Get Bodywork

          I said that massage wasn’t the only form of self-care, but it is a good one!

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          Bodywork is a staple of my self-care routine. Our bodies store emotional tension in ways that we don’t even realize, and bodywork allows us to release that tension.

          Options include chiropractic, stretching, cranial-sacral therapy, myofascial release work, osteopathy and reflexology.

          11. Take a Hike

          Get the blood flowing. We all know the benefits of exercise. This might be a walk, run, hike, trip to the gym, yoga or stretching. Whatever you do, get your blood and body moving.

          Feel like you don’t have time? Try this short, 4-minute workout:

          12. Spend Time with Those You Love

          Schedule a date night with your partner, a special day with your kiddo or happy hour with your BFF. We are biologically hardwired for relationships and connection.

          Studies prove that people who socialize often have higher levels of happiness. This doesn’t have to be face-to-face; sometimes a phone call is all you need (and can fit in!).

          13. Take a Vacation (or a Staycation)

          More than 50% of Americans don’t use all of their vacation days. Take time off away from the routine of life. Make time to have fun, recover and reenergize.

          14. Do Something Just for Fun

          When was the last time you did something because it was fun or gave you joy? Not because it had a tangible benefit, purpose or ROI?

          Crank up the music and dance. Laugh with your kids. Head to the bowling alley. Play a game. Write. Buy flowers. Follow your passions. Attend a fun event.

          The real ROI? A better, more energized, happier self.

          15. Treat Yourself and Your Body

          When you look good, you feel good.

          Get a haircut, have your nails done, enjoy a facial, manicure or pedicure. When we take care of how we look physically, we feel better emotionally.

          16. Spend Time in Nature

          Studies have shown spending time in nature has a wide range of health benefits including lowering your stress hormone levels.[4]

          Get outside. Head to the forest, hit the beach or take a hike. Walking barefoot and ‘grounding’ can be especially healing.

            17. Eliminate Toxicity and Negativity

            Make a conscious effort to hang out with people who feed your soul and make you feel energized and alive. Eliminate or reduce the amount of time you spend with people and situations that drain you or leave you feeling exhausted.

            Surround yourself with love, encouragement and positive energy.

            18. Take a Bath

            This is a simple and inexpensive way to take care of yourself.

            Add in a little Epsom Salts, essential oils or that bath bomb you have lying around. Light a candle, sit back, relax and unwind.

            19. Practice Self-Reflection

            Self-reflection is about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs.

            Take time regularly to hop off the hamster wheel of life. Think about what’s working and what’s not, acknowledge your wins and successes; identify what to keep and what needs to change.

            Try journaling or check out tips for self-reflection here: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

            20. Feed Your Mind

            Learn something new! As humans, we have a need to use our full cognitive capacity. We are here to grow and evolve and learning is a huge piece of us feeling energized and alive.

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            Take a class or online course. Read a book. Listen to a podcast.

            21. Lend a Hand

            We also have a need for significance, contribution and making a difference. Among many other benefits , volunteering has been shown to help people feel healthier and happier.

            22. Unpack your Baggage

            Self-care is about taking care of your whole self. Often this means dealing with emotional trauma, past events or limiting beliefs.

            See a therapist. Talk to a coach. Have the conversation you need to have with that person you’ve been angry with for decades. Find a way to move forward.

            23. Be Adventurous

            Get outside your comfort zone. Be brave. Challenge yourself.

            Whether that be a backpacking trip, trying a new activity, or pushing yourself physically, mentally or emotionally, you’ll feel proud, confident and strong.

            24. Tidy up!

            There’s a reason Marie Kondo has become a sensation. When we seek minimization in our homes, schedules, and lives, we feel more at ease and less stressed.

            Try simplifying one area of your life and experience a new level of peace. Have a read on Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, it may inspire you a lot!

            25. Feed Your Spirit

            How are you feeding your soul? This can be anything that relates to you feeling inspiration which means, ‘in spirit’.

            Connect with what makes you feel close to something deeper, bigger, higher – or makes you feel more connected to yourself. This might include meditation, spiritual or religious study.

            26. Get Creative

            We all have a need to grow, use our creativity and express ourselves fully. Find your creative outlet. Paint, dance or take photos.

            Not artistically creative? Ask questions, problem-solve or build something.

            One of my daughters loves building. When she ideates, draws up plans and brings them to life, she is noticeably happier and more confident.

            27. Be True to Yourself

            Self-awareness and being true to yourself are essential to living a happy, fulfilled and successful life; therefore, these are critical elements of self-care.

            Listen to your inner voice. Identify what you need. When we are out of alignment with ourselves, we are more stressed, overwhelmed and at higher risk for health issues.

            Here are 11 ways to be true to you: How To Be True To You When Life Pulls You Off Track

              28. Set Boundaries

              This is important to healthy relationships, a strong sense of self-esteem and healthy life. You must know what you will and won’t accept.

              Identify where energy is leaking out from your life. If you continue to give when you have nothing to give or say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’, you will continue to suffer.

              Know, acknowledge and honor your limits and boundaries – physically and emotionally.

              29. Escape

              While avoidance and numbing can be detrimental, a little escape can help recharge your batteries.

              So watch that reality TV show without guilt, catch the latest movie, delve into that novel, or head to the museum. What transports you and completely allows you to shut off?

              30. Be Nice to Yourself

              Be kind, patient and understanding. Treat yourself like you would a close friend. Speak to yourself as you would someone you love.

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              You are enough. You are doing enough.

              Give yourself a break, a little more love and a lot more compassion.

              You are doing a great job – time to tell yourself that.

              Start Taking Care of Yourself Now!

              Now you have 30 ways to take care of yourself! However, you may still have nagging thoughts in the back of your head about why you can’t.

              Ditch Your Excuses

              Here are the most common excuses I hear with a strategy to help:

              I don’t have time for it.

              How many hours per day do you spend watching TV or on social media? Some studies show that the average adult spends over four hours watching TV and over two on social media. What if you took just half that to take care of yourself? Or 1/10th?! We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

              It’s what you choose to do with that time that counts. Many of the suggestions above require no time at all. Take a breath, drink an extra glass of water, speak nicely to yourself, grab an apple.

              I don’t need it.

              Trust me, if you don’t take care of yourself now, you’re going to get that wake-up call one day, if you haven’t already.

              I guarantee it’s going to take a lot more time and energy to fix what’s broken than to take care of it along the way. You have a responsibility to do this for yourself.

              I’m too tired.

              Great! Take a nap. Then you’ve done your self-care for the day. No joke.

              Too often when we are tired, we drink coffee, reach for a sugary snack or find some other way to distract ourselves.

              Self-care is different from day to day. Some days it will be harder than others. Each of the items on the list are meant to GIVE you energy, not take it away. You’ll be amazed at how much more energized and awake you feel after one of these practices.

              It‘s just too hard.

              One big reason people don’t get started is because they think it’s going to be hard. Don’t fall into this trap and do nothing at all.

              Choose something that feels simple and easy to do – and do it. There is no step too small.

              Know Your Motivation

              It’s not the action of self-care that’s most important. It’s about what you get by taking care of yourself.

              What is the real value or importance of self-care in your life?

              To be a better mom, look good, be healthier, have more energy, reduce your stress levels, feel better, see your grandkids graduate from college, get that promotion, sustain the business you’re building, perform at your very best?

              Know your why so you can tap into the motivation for taking care of yourself. If you’re doing this because you ‘should’, it just won’t happen or be sustainable. You must do this because you see value, purpose and benefits at some level. What are those for you?

              Final Thoughts

              “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to life” – Jim Rohn

              Self-care is about doing what makes you feel good – mind, body and spirit.

              If you remember only one thing:

              Do more of what makes you feel good, brings you energy and joy and do less of what doesn’t.

              Had I taken better care of myself in my late teens and my early twenties, I might have avoided two knee surgeries, stress fractures and arthritis. Had I taken better care of myself in my thirties, perhaps I could have avoided anxiety and a near breakdown . But that was my journey and it led me here. And I have to say, I’m pretty happy where here is.

              So now, in my forties, while I still may cringe at the term, I pay attention to and practice self-care. And I often wonder if maybe, just maybe, I continue to take good care of myself, I may just be able to run that marathon one day after all.

              More About Practicing Self-Care

              Featured photo credit: Samantha Gades via unsplash.com

              Reference

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