Never assume that you’re stuck with the way things are.
Life changes, and so can you.
“I don’t know what to do.” “I’m in a rut.” “I feel stuck.” These are words Angel and I hear frequently from coaching clients and blog subscribers (subscribe here) alike. We all struggle with this kind of mindset sometimes, and if you’re struggling right now, it’s time to push through. There’s plenty you can do.
The truth is, you have the power to move forward no matter what obstacles block your path. You have the power to live up to your highest vision of how your life can be. You have the power to follow through and make significant progress on your biggest goals. You have all this power because you have the CHOICE. In each moment you can choose what you think, what you do, and who you want to be.
If you’re being pulled in every direction by forces beyond your control, take time to realign yourself with what you value most in life.
You don’t have to continue doing things the way you’ve always done them. You don’t have to be held a prisoner by your old, familiar habits and assumptions.
Today is a new day, filled with new possibilities, so remember…
- Feeling stuck is a FEELING, not a fact. – When we feel stuck, typically our first instinct is to look outside of ourselves for someone or something to blame. In reality, we ought to be looking at how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, and how we plan to respond. Your life is your responsibility. While you can’t always change what’s outside of you, you can certainly change your perception of it. And the funny thing is, when you change the way you look at things, the things themselves change.
- Yesterday’s bad news is not worth reliving. – You can’t have a better today if you’re still thinking and worrying about yesterday. Whatever could have been or should have been, doesn’t matter. Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you have one foot on the brakes when you’re thinking about the past. In order to free yourself, you must learn how to let go of whatever old news is keeping you stuck. Release your regrets. Discard yesterday’s frustrations. Refuse to entertain old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto these things is holding you back from a new beginning. What is it you want to let go of today? Do it!
- Feeling stuck is a sign that it’s time to make a change. – It could be a change of heart, a change in your perspective, or a change in your habits. But the point in any case is that the way you are doing things is no longer working. Imagine yourself as a river, flowing into a great ocean. Oftentimes a river grows narrower and appears on the surface to lack movement just before it breaks through to the larger body of water. The same thing happens to us as we prepare for a breakthrough in life. Our flow must contract before it can expand. And the contraction is equally important to the expansion. (Read Buddha’s Brain.)
- What you need to do won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. – If you’ve been asking the same questions for a long time, yet you’re still stuck, it’s probably not that you haven’t been given the answers, but that you don’t like the answers you were given. Remember, it takes a great deal of courage to admit that something needs to change, and a lot more courage still, to accept the responsibility for making the change happen. Growth and change may be painful sometimes, but nothing in life is as painful as staying stuck where you don’t belong.
- An excuse is standing somewhere between you and the next step you need to take. – If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. This may be tough to accept, but it’s the truth. Stop making excuses for why you can’t get it done and start focusing on all the reasons why you must make it happen. The only person who can truly hold you back is you. So no more excuses – it’s time to change. It’s time to choose what’s best for YOU. Oftentimes when we feel stuck, we are waiting for something magical to happen. We wonder when the winds will change in our favor. We do this instead of embracing the present and admitting the change we need to make. What is keeping you from stepping forward? If not fear of failure, then what? Insecurity? Laziness? What is your excuse? We all have one. And when we focus on our excuses more than our steps forward, we walk in a circle and fall into the familiar pit we call “Stuck.”
- Other people’s opinions can only stop you if you let them. – If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone else, you’ve already forgotten your value. Don’t do this to yourself. Care too much about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. Your freedom lies not in the physical space around you, but in your mind. As long as you cling to other people’s definitions of your truth, your beauty, and your happiness, you will always be chained. Thoughts that begin with, “I have to…” or “I really should…” reveal where we feel most obligated to direct our energy. Redefine things for yourself. Write your own definitions. Finish your own sentences. Find your own way. And most importantly, listen to your intuition. It already knows what you truly need. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Authenticity is liberating. – By allowing yourself to be yourself, you allow others to be themselves around you too. This creates an honest, liberating environment in which to live. In a society where people love to point fingers and poke fun, you can only fight social judgment with naked honesty. When you speak up about your challenges and open yourself up to receiving care and support, you allow others to do the same. The truth is, we’re all in this together, undergoing the same learning process and internal struggles. We’re all equally perfect in our imperfections. There’s no reason to hide behind lies.
- Real growth happens from the inside out. – If the conditions are right, it’s easy to grow horizontally by acquiring more money, newer cars, bigger homes, etc. Vertical growth, on the other hand, is when you stay in the same place with the same things, but grow deeper and deeper into yourself. It’s when you can say, “Five years ago I would lose my temper in a few seconds, but now it takes all week.” This kind of growth is more rare, but it’s the only true growth there is. Sadly, many of us feel stuck, and we age much faster than we grow, because we focus exclusively on horizontal achievements. We spend so much of our lives going through the external motions of what society tells us ‘maturity’ is – getting married, buying houses, working our way up the corporate ladder, etc. – that we fail to concentrate on our own inner growth and goals. We never allocate enough time just for us.
- Life is a journey, not a destination. – Detach from the results of your efforts. A lot of internal change comes about from letting go of ingrained social fears, superstitions, and doubts about what is “normal.” By letting go of what “should” happen or what “could” happen, you free up your life to various little surprises and joys. You may not lead the exact life you want, but you will lead a meaningful, miraculous existence, guaranteed. Life is sometimes difficult, but it’s not a chore. Make it an adventure. Make it fun. Make the choice to feel good about yourself, about your world, about your possibilities and the step you’re taking right now. (Read The Untethered Soul.)
- You’re way stronger and a lot less stuck than you think. – Take heart, and remember that the biggest breakthroughs often come after a long period of being stuck. Which is why feeling stuck for a while is necessary. Embrace this. When things seem to be at their worst is the ideal time for you to be at your best. If you can’t take a big step forward, take a little one. Tip-toe if you must. Just keep reminding yourself that you are strong enough to take the next tiniest step, and that this step is the only step that matters right now.
What would you add to the list?
What do you try to keep in mind to motivate yourself when you’re feeling stuck?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with the community.
Photo by: Zuhair Al-Traifi