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Life Potential

17 Things to Remember When You Hit the Wall in Life

Written by Sarah Browne
Sarah is a speaker, writer and activist. She has published on Forbes, Lifehack, Tiny Buddha, Thrive Global, Elephant Journal, and more.
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You think you have it all together, then suddenly one day, you don’t. You think you have the best in front of you, a road you selected with presumably no detours and then suddenly, you hit a wall. It can be discouraging when your best laid plans go awry but that wall is one you can bounce back from.

It can seem impossible to bounce back; it can seem like this dead-end is permanent.

Well, it’s not. It’s time to refocus your ambitions, your love life, your story, whatever ails you and to remake yourself.

You have what it takes inside you. You have everything you need right here, right now, to abandon the path you were on and create a newer, better one.

The light in you is meant to be seen, especially in the dark.

What Does It Mean To Hit the Wall in Life?

When talking about things to remember when you hit the wall in life, it is very important to understand what ‘hitting the wall’ actually is. Technically it means for an athlete to suddenly lose energy and momentum during a race.

If we consider life as a race, and all of us as athletes, then hitting the wall in life would be to come across such instances and obstacles that derail us or demotivate us from our path. It slows down our momentum and drive, and we find ourselves unable to finish the race.

You hit a wall in life when you are unable to make progress or move forward with something. This inability can be physical such as losing a limb, having a bad injury, etc., or mentally like having social anxiety or other mental health issues.


Does Everyone ‘Hit the Wall’ the Same Way?

One of the main things that stand in the way of normalizing getting back up in life, is assuming that falling down looks the same for all of us. For some people, hitting the wall looks like not being able to continue with daily life due to failing mental health.

For others, it could look like loss of creativity and inspiration, inability to do good at work, and feeling overwhelmed. Therefore it is important to understand common signs of hitting the wall instead of looking for specific scenarios.

Signs That You Might Be Hitting the Wall

It is important to recognize when you might be hitting the wall in life to avoid feelings of overwhelm, burnout, and failure. Spotting the signs early can help you make better decisions towards rehabilitation and could possibly help you deal with it in a healthier way.

Here are some of the most common signs of hitting the wall in life that you should be on the lookout for in yourself and those around you:

  • A heavy feeling in your legs
  • Disinterest and loss of faith in your work or hobbies
  • Disturbed sleep patterns, stressful dreams, and hallucinations
  • The feeling of failure and anxiety of not meeting expectations
  • Labored breathing and a heavy feeling in your chest
  • Frequent crying when one is unable to perform a task

When you hit that wall in life, you need only remember– you have been through things before. You’ve gotten through them. You’ll get through this wall, too. You’ll overcome. You’ll beat the odds. You’ll make it.


When you get there, don’t forget to look back every so often to see how far you’ve come. That’s your Why in the midst of making it through this. You’ve made it before. So you will again.

It isn’t easy. But it can be done. No matter the circumstance, you have once choice in life: how you respond. That has to do with attitude. Greater attitude leads to greater character, meaning you will bounce back better when you take things in stride.

Equip yourself with the following mentalities, and you will be free.

Hitting the Wall in Different Areas of Life

Hitting the wall may affect different areas of your life. If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed or lost, here are some specifics about how you can improve several different areas of your life when you feel that you’ve hit the wall.

1. When You Hit the Wall in Your Career

As sad as it is, it seems like most people don’t like their job or career. It’s simply not what they imagined.

If you have hit the wall in your career, here are some things you can do.

Reflect on Your Talents and Goals

Sit down and try to analyze what you’re good at—and then try to find a career path to match the gifts that you have to offer the world.

Set Your Sights on a Promotion

Maybe it’s time to challenge yourself by going for a higher position. It will help you grow as a person, and it will probably put more money in your pocket too!

Start Looking Into Another Career Path

If you’re unhappy with your current career path, start looking for another one.

2. When You Hit the Wall While Dating

These days, the dating world is very frustrating for most single people. However, there is still hope if you try these things.

Try Different Ways of Meeting People

Dating apps

and websites are the most popular thing to do these days. It can be a good thing to try;

Learn to Read Red Flags

In order to avoid getting involved with the jerks, flakes, and losers of the world, you have to know how to read the red flags with the people you date. They may not always be obvious, but they’re always there.

Don’t Give up Hope

It may take months, years, or even a couple of decades to get it right, in the meantime, learn to love yourself and your own company as that will only strengthen any relationship you ultimately build.

3. When You Hit the Wall in Your Marriage

For many people, marriage is difficult. If you’ve hit the wall in your marriage, try these things:


No one is a mind reader, so you have to speak to each other about your problems.

Have Empathy

If you get rid of your “competitive” spirit in your marriage, then you will have to have empathy for the other person’s point of view.

Seek Help If Needed

If your marriage feels so far gone that you don’t think you can possibly fix it together, then seek the help of a trained professional.

4. When You Hit the Wall As a Parent

Being a parent changes the way you see both the world and yourself. There are days that are amazing and other days when you feel as if you’re doing everything wrong. If you’ve hit the wall with your kids, here are some things to try.

Have and Enforce Rules

If there are no rules in the house, then the atmosphere turns chaotic. Children thrive on structure and routine.

5. When You Hit the Wall in Your Personal Finances

Most people have a love-hate relationship with money. They love it when they have it, and they hate it when they don’t. If you’ve hit the wall with your financial situation, here are some tips:

Figure out a Budget

Many people have no idea where their money is going. To solve this problem, make a budget and stick to it[2].

These tips can help you keep your personal budget under control.

6. When You Hit the Wall While Planning for the Future

Thinking about the future can be daunting. If you don’t know where your future is going to take you, then it’s time to try these things:

Write Down Your 5, 10, and 20-Year Goals

You can’t get somewhere without knowing where you’re going. Sit down and visualize where you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years.

Make an Action Plan

Now that you have your long-term goals written down, you need to make a plan of action. Write down the things you will do every day, month, or year that will accomplish those goals, and then actually take action!

Minimize Stress

Whether it’s relationship drama or overspending your paycheck, some of the stress is within your control, so minimize stress when and where you can.

17 Things to Remember When You Hit the Wall in Life

Here are 17 things to remember when you hit the wall in life:

1. All You Need Is Inside You

When you are recovering from hitting your wall, you have to remember that you got yourself this far already. Everything you need to move forward, the drive, the resilience, the will, is already inside you. You have the tools, the ability and the power to get through that wall to the other side.

When you look within, you can realize your self-worth. The outside world may disappoint us or let us down, but when you look to your own self for strength, there is nothing that you can’t do or accomplish or recover from.

2. Your Story Isn’t Over

Hitting a wall can feel like the end of life as you know it, and it may very well be. But just because one chapter of your life is coming to an end doesn’t mean your story is ending.

What feels like a dead end is actually a new beginning. You have to adapt it to your story — the story you are telling yourself in order to get through difficulties ahead; the story of you. You can’t turn back. You can’t pack up and just call it quits. You have to still find a way to move forward. It can be with the simple thought: “This doesn’t end here.”


And it doesn’t. It won’t. Not if you don’t let it.

Your story will keep going; in fact, it’s meant to. All you have to do is live it. You won’t love every second of it but in the end, you will have told it your way.

3. Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

You can find what you need in the mentality to start over every day. Today is that day, the day you figure out what is most important to you. You find out how strong you really can be. You learn from the lessons of the detour or dead-end and, begin again.

Appreciation of what you still have and can offer will keep you from feeling like a failure. Appreciate how far you’ve come already. See what is still left and what you can do.

You’re still alive. You’re still breathing. Sometimes, that’s all we’ve got, and sometimes, that’s all we need.

4. Surround Yourself With Supportive People

The people you surround yourself with are the ones that define you.

Healing and getting back up on your feet becomes much easier when you have people who support you and build you up.

So take some time to realize the influence others have on your life and decide who you want to limit your circle too.


5. Just Show Up

You’re not always going to be motivated to move past the wall, and you’re not always going to want to put your best efforts into a day. And that’s okay, as long as you show up.

If you have no energy to solve the problem, just show up, even if you don’t know how it’s going to end. We don’t have to know every outcome in order to start solving problems.

So, just show up. Just be there. Don’t expect any answers or insights. Don’t expect to see what the future holds. One thing is for sure — there will always be obstacles but, so will be opportunities. You just need to show up in order to find them.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

6. Find Your Fire

What ignites your soul? You need to harness that. Find your fire when you hit the wall. Burn right through it.

Steve Jobs once gave a commencement speech at Stanford,[1] where he discussed “connecting the dots.” With each flame or passion for life, you begin to connect the dots. You start to discover what makes you tick, what moves you, especially in times where you feel you have nothing left.

He says that when you follow your heart and intuition, you “somehow already know what you want truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”


What sets you on fire? What can’t you live without doing, being or loving?

7. Pave the Way

You might have hit the wall, but somehow, somewhere, someone already paved the way for you to get as far as you have. And maybe, you’re paving the way for someone else.

Find out who has accomplished what you are trying to do. Or who has opened doors to getting there. Realize you are next in line.

You only need to realize that you are never alone. Great men and women have come before you. You just need to see them, to hear their voices, to find their strengths and utilize it for your own path.

8. Be Humble

Be humbled by life’s twists and turns. You may think you have it all, then one day, you do not. It keeps us from taking it all for granted.

You may lose what you think you’re supposed to become, but you’ll never lose what you’ve already done. Instead of getting angry, get humbled. See the world a whole new way. You weren’t meant for that path, so instead of turning around, turn it around.

This one isn’t the easiest, because we want to feel capable of everything at all times. We want to soar with the wind beneath our wings. But it is finding out you can fail that you also find you have the power to start again. In failure, we find our truth, what truly defines us. Everything else is icing on the cake.


So, be humbled. Be self disciplined. Be loyal to this life. When you hit the wall, be humbled.

It is not easy, but it is worth it.

9. Start Again

Don’t waste this time wallowing in self pity. It’s time to start again when you hit the wall. You can only do so much while dragging your feet with your head down. You need to look up, stand tall, stand proud — proud of the chance to start again.

You don’t measure your success by how easy the path was. It was how you manoeuvred through things you needed to overcome. If everything came easy to you, you’d miss out on the meaning of it all. And that is a far greater loss.

Your day is here for renewal, for becoming who you need to be. Life will change, that’s its constant, and so will you. If you stayed the same all your life, you would never grow. You need growth in order to change and be changed.

Be open to renewal, for the rest to come naturally and focus on the greatest and most important change of all, the goodness of you finding an opportunity in this obstacle.

You don’t need much other than that. You may think you do, but you are free when you acknowledge life’s simplicities and all their worth.

10. Stay Positive

It makes sense to become negative in the face of negativity. It feels natural to want to become defeated and depressed. But you’re only sabotaging yourself.

“Change your thoughts, change your life.”– Wayne Dyer

Every day, make a gratitude list. Say daily mantras in order to make peace with yourself.

When you look around you, you’ll want to think about the negative. Instead, train your mind to look for the positive. Repeat the positive that you find over and over again until it becomes natural to see it.


Why does this work? Some could say the universe, some could say we change our brains in the habits we form, etc. but ultimately, it’s about recognizing that not everything is what it seems. The brain automatically wants to pinpoint the negative. You can reprogram that by simply believing. Believe in the good. See the good. That’s how it works. It’s always been there. You just have to look.

11. Separate Social, Work, and Personal Lives

It can get tiring to manage all three aspects of your life when you feel like it’s going nowhere.

Separating social, work, and personal life is important to find mental peace and focus on what’s important.

An example of this could be limiting social media usage to make the need to live up to expectations less scary.

12. Take Deep Breaths

Just because the walls in life can be opportunities for growth and new direction, that doesn’t mean they aren’t stressful. If you’ve hit a wall, you’re likely facing some hard times. It’s important to make time for self care. Take it easy while you recover. Relax, refocus, and breath. Deep breaths. Focus on the negative leaving with your exhale, and focus on the positive returning on the inhale.

Meditate on what matters. According to Meditation 101,[2] observe thoughts, do not judge them in mindfulness meditations. That way you can focus on your breath.

An example of a meditation you can do is Mimi Page “Reflection”:

There are a ton out there!

Meditation can happen anywhere, anytime. It can be while stuck in traffic. It can be while waiting in line at the grocery store. Its’ not just a practice. It’s a mentality. One that can make all the difference.

13. Break Things Down To Make Them Manageable

Any task can feel cumbersome if done entirely in one go and in a daunting manner.

One of the most helpful things you can do is break tasks into smaller and more manageable sections. This helps you make achievable goals that boost your confidence and help you get better. It can also help you set your priorities for any task.

14. Help Others Along the Way

There’s nothing more rewarding than to help someone else with something we have struggled with.

What you give, you get back ten fold. It gives you a reason to right the wrongs in your life. It gives you a reason to turn the page to starting living the next chapter.

When you help others, you become less afraid of the obstacle in front of you. You remember that you’re not alone. You’re alive, and that life is worth it. Others will inspire you with their own willpower, their own story. When you reach out and help someone, you make a difference. That means you have not been defeated yet. That means you must not give up.

Helping others is recognizing a universal truth — we all deserve love and light. You deserve to know what it’s like to have recognition, too. When you help others along the way, you realize this:

“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” — Etienne de Grellet

15. Bounce Back

According to Dysheada Rheed,[3] resilience is the act of ‘bouncing back’ or resisting to cracking under pressure.

There’s no going back. You’ve come this far, too far, to just give up. It’s time to bounce back.

Furthermore, resilience is driven by two things:

A Strong Why

When you have a strong why, you are able to bounce back from the present problem.

It does not mean you solve everything. In fact, it may mean you overcome simply because you keep going due to this why. For example, Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor, has said that if you have a strong enough why, you can “overcome any how.”

The Ability to Adapt

When you are adaptable, you realize you can find gratitude in any situation. This is key to bouncing back when you hit the wall. You discover that you can not only face something, you can learn to work with it rather than against it.

A great analogy is when one is stuck in a current, they should not start fighting against the current. They should go with the flow. This is how to surpass one’s circumstances and ensure survival.

16. Look Back On Your Progress

One of the best ways to make the need to make progress look less intimidating is to look back on it.

Instead of thinking ‘I should have achieved more by now,’ think back on where you started. This will help you feel like ‘I have achieved so much since then’ instead.

A healthy mindset is one of your most powerful weapons.

17. Change Your Life

It’s time to learn that things aren’t working. So, what do you do? Stand there and stare at them? No, you make them move. You change your life. You change what isn’t working to make what is right come together. You only need to start with the small things and gradually tackle bigger things.

All you need is inside you, remember? And all you need is to find your fire, your passions, to connect the dots.

Don’t be a passive spectator in your life. Get proactive. Go for the win. When you hit the wall, you can learn how to climb over it. Dig your feet in and start to climb. Use whatever ledges you can find. Use what you have to pick yourself up.

That’s being resourceful.

That’s being resilient.

That’s doing what is right.

Final Thoughts

You can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do and love whoever and whatever you want to love. It’s time to be restored in all you are meant to be. It’s time to bounce back. It’s time to just be. Just trust. And you’ll find yourself on the other side of that wall, looking back thinking “I did that, that was me.”

You’ll get through it. I know you will.

Good luck.

More About Getting Through Tough Times

Featured photo credit: Piotr Chrobot via unsplash.com


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