Feeling Stuck? 5 Ways to Get Unstuck in Life & Getting Back Into the Flow
Are you feeling stuck in life or at work? Do you feel like you should just start over in life? You’re not alone. It’s a nearly universal human experience to feel stuck at some point in life. Whether in a career, relationship, or even in identifying the next goal — most people will feel stuck at some point. But how do you get unstuck in life and getting back into the flow?
Feeling stuck is like having an aching sense that you need to do something, anything to propel you out of your current state — but you can’t.
It’s like you’re frozen. Nothing feels available or good enough. When your mind presents something, you convince yourself it’s not the right choice, or you’re simply unable to do it. You don’t know what to do to fix it, and the sense of being overwhelmed is hovering uncomfortably close to your psyche—probably near the area where your screams are stored and you keep your biggest and best teardrops. So, you beat yourself up on a continuous loop, disappointed by your inaction. The good news is: feeling stuck is a common issue that can be addressed with a few helpful practices.
The feeling of being stuck is one of the major stressors in life. It causes health issues and the effects are compounding.
Over time, the feeling will evolve into anxiety and fear, and it will finally overwhelm you and take a toll on your mental health. To get unstuck in life, you need to figure out why you are stuck, what areas of your life do you feel stuck in, what you should do to move past the barrier, and where you should go moving forward. In short, you need a battle plan and a roadmap.
Falling into a slump happens to all of us, even the most driven and productive people.
It can feel really frustrating because we all want to feel like we have direction and motivation but instead we feel like we’re in limbo with our hands tied. Feeling stuck in life can be caused by a variety of factors, such as feeling overwhelmed by choices, struggling to find a sense of purpose, or dealing with difficult life situations. Whatever the reasons is, trust that you can overcome it.
Take a few deep breaths–it’s going to be OK. Here are five suggestions that have worked for me to get unstuck and getting back into the flow.
While feeling stuck is terrible in its own right, sometimes, the change itself is so scary that staying stuck is a great runner up. If you’re stuck on a decision, a life goal, or a dream, here are five strategies to create movement and get back into the arena!
Set Goals That Actually Matters
This might sound obvious but we all get sucked into False Objectives at times. When you’re setting goals in your career and your personal life, make sure they are goals that matter to you. Working hard toward big achievements that don’t align with your values, priorities, and who you are at the core is a fast-track toward feeling stuck. Choose goals that align with who you are at the core, and work toward goals that align with your inner strengths and gifts. This will help you maximize your potential and minimize the stuck and frustrated feelings.
Having an idea of where you want to get to in life is great, but perhaps that’s not something you can imagine right now.
That’s okay. Not having the long term vision doesn’t mean you can’t still take the short term steps toward a more satisfying life. In fact, doing things to alleviate some of your pain points in the short term can enable you to think more clearly about what it is you want in the more distant future. Write down what daily goals are achieved and what isn’t. By doing this, you teach yourself that you are not losing. There are plenty of things that you can achieve every day. This will also tell you that you are moving forward, even though with small steps.
Big goals are often the antagonist of success. While setting goals that challenge you can lead to success, much of the time they don’t.
To get unstuck and achieve your goals more often, make your goals smaller. Break your goals into bite-sized pieces that may seem ridiculously easy but are key to building the systems that lead to success. Small compound habits are more impactful in the long-run than one-time goals are in the short-term. Behavior scientist, BJ Fogg, has coined the term “tiny habits” to describe these small, achievable actions that help us achieve our goals and build better habits. To accomplish big things, go smaller.
Listing down activities that you’re passionate about and that support your core values will help you to figure out how you should be prioritizing your time moving forward.
On the other hand, creating a list of ways to get unstuck will build the foundations of your plan of action. Use this list to brainstorm ways you could potentially move forward out of your stuck state. Don’t hesitate. Take immediate action to get yourself out of your current predicament and moving forward with purpose. If down the track you find that your momentum has slowed, then it could very well be due to a lack of urgency on your part. Doing things without urgency means that you don’t have enough reasons to make the necessary changes in your life.
Your goals are like a lighthouse, it will guide you and show you the way when you are stuck and lost.
But sadly, most people don’t have goals. And even if they do, they don’t review their goals regularly enough. What most people will do is that they will try to set goals in their heads, without writing them down. And after a while, they will forget about their goals and never do anything about them. Never let this happen to you. Stop being like most people. Instead, be proactive and commit to your goals. Write down your goals, create actionable plans to achieve them, and most importantly, take action and make progress. Remember, when you are stuck in life, revisit your goals.
Clear Your Mind
Though you can’t always control your external circumstances, as long as you’re still breathing, you are the only one who regulates how you feel on the inside. You are capable of surviving under extreme conditions and persisting through discomfort to accomplish incredible feats–even when you feel stuck.
What you believe about yourself and the world around you creates your reality.
When the record player inside your head is on repeat with self-limiting beliefs and statements that hold you back, it’s impossible to become unstuck. Changing your thoughts to align with what you want in life will allow you to reconnect with your own inner knowing and intuition. Become the master observer of your mind by taking note of every time you have a thought that is out of alignment with who you are or what you want in your life. If you can’t move trying to go in one direction, find other possible courses. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in one place, search somewhere else. There are always possibilities. You just need to want to see them.
The first thing you need to do is realize that “feeling stuck” is a story you’re telling yourself. It’s a state of mind, not reality.
Maybe you feel tired or uninspired but you don’t have to stay that way. Don’t judge yourself for your thoughts, just accept and change them. Reframe “I’m stuck” to “I’m looking at the opportunities available to me,” or “new ideas on are their way to me.” Turn “I’m tired” into “I have all the energy I need and I’m going to be productive today,” or if you need it, “it’s ok for me to rest and recharge.” I’m going to be really honest with you, if you aren’t willing to change your thinking nothing else I recommend will work either. So if you feel resistant to changing your mindset that’s what you need to work on most.
It may come as a surprise, but when you’re feeling stuck, decluttering and reorganizing any area in your home, office or car can be very effective at helping you to clear the energy around you.
One of the best parts about decluttering is that you don’t have to tackle a large area – this strategy works even if you only focus on the glove compartment in your car, a drawer in your kitchen or nightstand, or one shelf on your bookcase. When you take the time to clean up the physical space around you, you send a signal to your subconscious brain that you desire more flow in your life.
To move forward, we need to clear our minds and make space for the thoughts, tasks, and goals that will help us get unstuck.
It’s also good to work on stepping back from the thoughts in your head and view them objectively. If you can look at your thoughts without judgment and devoid of emotions, you can see them for what they truly are and work on improving them. Again, this is something that takes daily practice. Any form of mindfulness is the start of a clearer and more effective mind. Remind yourself that your thoughts do not define you as a person, and practice letting go of attachment to them. This is the first step in improving your mental health and stopping feeling stagnant. Consider how your actions affect your emotional reactions and if they are in line with your desired outcomes and perceptions. Progress and achievement require a great deal of repetition. Keep at it until it’s second nature to you, then stop.
Share Your Stuckness
It’s easy to get stuck if you’re trying to accomplish something and you’re struggling to believe it’s possible to accomplish it. Instead of letting yourself be isolated and stuck, commit to learning from people who have done what you aspire to do. This can help you believe it’s possible to achieve the same goals. It can also help you to be inspired to progress forward instead of staying in stuck-land.
Open up and share your frustrations with friends, family, or people close to you that you can trust and support you.
Talking to someone else helps. Look around you. You’ll be surprised to know that there are plenty of people who have experienced similar adversity as you. Everybody makes mistakes, but a great number of them are moving and growing. They are not stuck. How did they do it? What’s their secret? Talk to them, ask for their advice, take notes, learn from their wisdom, and implement their tips. There are people in your circle of friends that are true confidants. They know you. They have your best intentions at heart. They are good listeners. They are unbiased. Not every one of your friends will fit this profile; most likely, just a select few. Go to your strongest allies, and get their input.
Sometimes we’re just too in our heads and feelings to see things clearly, so it’s harder to find a solution to our problems.
Other people can give you a new perspective on yourself or your situation, so talk to a friend, family member, or a therapist. An outsider may be able to offer a new point of view, and help us see alternate possibilities. Sometimes we just need to vent, so maybe all you need is someone to listen and sympathize. Sometimes, all you actually need to get unstuck in life is talking to someone who understands you. Sharing your feelings, talking about your burden and hearing how it looks in other people’s eyes can make you understand your situation better. Even if you don’t find the exact answer on how to get unstuck in YOUR particular situation, talking about it still is helpful and therapeutic.
Find someone who will tell you to get your butt in gear even when you don’t want to get started.
Share goals, dreams, and work schedules with this person. Ask them to keep you on track and offer to do the same for them. You can get there on your own, but often knowing that you’re accountable to someone will make it easier to get — and stay unstuck. Don’t try to do it alone. If that’s what is really making you feel stuck, you really need to solve it as soon as possible, or you’re not going to create the life and business that you want.
Are you feeling lost in your career path?
Connect with people on LinkedIn and other networking sites where people are talking about career or contact a career coach. Find a way to talk with someone who has more information and experience than you. Lack of confidence in your body and so you choose to avoid dates? Well, it is time to see that personal trainer or someone who will help you to work on your self-image issues. You’re the only person who is holding yourself back, so take power back. Don’t just sit around with a list of problems on a piece of paper, thinking that you can’t do something or can’t find a way out. Get in touch with the person who is a few steps ahead of you and ask them how you could work with them.
Reflect, Refine, and Repeat
It’s you who create these thoughts and it’s you who can change them. You have the power to change your beliefs and reframe your mindset. So to wrap your effort of being unstuck, change your mindset. Instead of thinking about how you can’t do anything, think about all the possibilities that you can do. If you can’t move trying to go in one direction, find other possible courses. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in one place, search somewhere else. There are always possibilities. You just need to want to see them.
Consider what went right and what could be done better in the future. Improve your ability to observe and take action on your thoughts.
Remind yourself that your thoughts do not define you as a person, and practice letting go of attachment to them. This is the first step in improving your mental health and stopping feeling stagnant. Consider how your actions affect your emotional reactions and if they are in line with your desired outcomes and perceptions. Progress and achievement require a great deal of repetition. Keep at it until it’s second nature to you, then stop.
When it comes to getting unstuck, our natural tendency is to look for the answer outside of ourselves.
It’s almost like we have this belief that if we knew the answer, then we wouldn’t be stuck. Therefore, we must not have the answer. Well, that’s true and not true. It is true that the current version of you, the one that’s feeling stuck and frustrated, doesn’t have the answer. However, the “best self” version of you, that one that slays issues like this for breakfast, he or she does have the answer. You see, the reality is, you have all the knowledge you need to get yourself unstuck.
What would the very best version of yourself do to get out of a rut? Or one of the people you look up to?
Channel your best self or your hero and take some small steps. You DO NOT have to be that person today, be you can get a little closer to being them. The very best version of yourself should be always optimistic and proactive. You know that getting out of a rut takes time and effort, but you’re willing to put in the work. First, you take some time for yourself to assess the situation and identify your goals. Then, you set about making a plan to achieve those goals, one step at a time. Throughout the process, you remain positive and motivated. You know that setbacks are inevitable, but you don’t let them discourage you. Instead, you use them as learning opportunities and continues moving forward. Finally, when you reach your goal, you celebrate your success!
Imagine yourself, in the future, as the best version of you. What would that version of you want you to do today?
Making decisions from the viewpoint of the future you can help you move forward and prevent the stuck and frustrated feeling. When you make decisions from the viewpoint of future you, you will develop perseverance and reap the benefits of delayed gratification. Today’s society is very focused on instant gratification, but a lot of great things in life take time and effort. Learning to take small steps forward by making decisions from the future you’s standpoint can help you progress toward your biggest goals and dreams.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Another common reason why a person may feel stuck in their life is because they do not want to take the risks required to change it. They are afraid of change, and though they may not be entirely happy there, they prefer to stay well and truly within the confines of their comfort zone. If you can relate to this, you ought to try to challenge how you think about risk.
You might try to achieve something, not quite manage it, and find yourself in a situation you’d rather not be in. But you’d rather not feel stuck either.
So it’s often the case of considering whether the downside is that much more of an unwelcome position to be in than where you are now, and comparing it to the upside and how much better that might be. And you have to factor in the feelings of regret you will inevitably have if you don’t act at all. If, as will sometimes be the case, the risk doesn’t pay off, at least you can say you tried. If you do nothing, you will live until your last breath wondering “What if?”
Of course, you don’t have to take reckless risks. You can take calculated risks instead.
If you’re unhappy in your job, you can take the risk of a pay cut in the hope that you get higher job satisfaction somewhere else. But you don’t have to do so until you have saved up some money to make that transition to a lower income more manageable. Or you could take the risk of moving to a new country for better weather and a lifestyle that is more suited to your personality. But you can always rent out your current home, safe in the knowledge that you could return to it if your new life doesn’t quite meet your expectations. Once you manage the risk as much as you can, it comes down to facing your fear of change head on and taking that leap.
It seems counter-intuitive, but we often make self-sabotaging decisions in order to avoid facing our fears.
Normalizing our current situation helps us make it seem not so bad or as limiting as it actually is. We rationalize that “the devil we know” is better than the one we haven’t yet met, and use that as the reason to stay stuck, safely within our comfort zone. The comfort zone is an alluring trap, the siren song that tells us that we ought to be able to stay here and still live our dream life. It’s kind of like living inside of a box where you just fit and believing that there is room for you to reach for the stars. Well, sometimes, to see the stars, you have to blow off the roof.
We choose the comfort zone because it makes us feel safe and secure, and as a result, it makes us begrudgingly complacent with the status quo.
The circle metaphor fits all this talk about comfort zone for a reason. Your circle can expand or contract based on your ability or inability to face your fears. Within its parameters are all the things that you currently feel comfortable doing, but outside the circle is where are the things that you want and need to do, but due to fear you are held back from doing. Expanding your comfort zone boundary depends on your willingness to face up to the fears and anxieties that you normally associate with the things lying outside of your comfort zone. By not choosing, you are actually making a choice. Not exercising your ability to choose means you are choosing to stay stuck.
In a culture that celebrates progress, achievement, and forward movement, feeling stuck can be extremely uncomfortable. The key to getting unstuck and back into the flow is using your mind, emotions, and body so that they work for you, not against you. The more we feed a thought, the stronger it becomes. So next time you feel stuck, remember your positive thoughts help you align with positive emotions. When you connect back to your internal compass, you’ll always feel more grounded in your external reality.
Once you get the clarity, take conscious, consistent, massive action in the direction of your best life.
Just remember this, that stuck feeling is actually a great thing, because that means that you’re aware of the fact that you’re not where you’re supposed to be. So, honor it. Be grateful for feeling stuck, knowing that it means there’s something so much bigger and better out there for you. If you do that, not only will you get unstuck, but you’ll create a life that you wake up excited to live!
When you constantly reflect on what you truly want and whether you’re doing the things that lead you to what you desire, you’ll feel less stuck gradually.
You must look beyond your short-term anxieties and create a vision for yourself one, two, or even five years down the road. Map it out in your mind. What do you see? Without looking at your horizon, you’ll end up feeling stuck as you look down at the choppy waters of life.
Whether you feel stuck for a week or for a year doesn’t really matter. You do the best you can with what you have.
But something I’ve noticed is that the longer I’m stuck, and the more I surrender to it, the more I learn when I come out of it. It is the darkest periods of my life that have taught me the most about myself. I’ve learned that life isn’t all about accomplishing things. Sometimes it’s about resting and letting things be. These periods are no different than the seasons. There’s sun. There’s snow. There’s light, and there’s darkness.
Being stuck in life is not fun. Now that you’re out of the trap, plan your future well so you will never get back to the situation.
Unlike a ship that’s run aground, a car stuck in the mud, or a fallen tree blocking a river’s path–the particular stuckness of humans can be one of choice, state of mind, and perspective. Remember: it’s never too late to start over in life. Choose to see your situation through a different lens and see what opens up for you. Hopefully, by using the tips above, you will get unstuck, find your agency and ultimately change your life.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.