Have you ever felt that you’re stuck in a situation in your life? That might be in this job, we’re not enjoying anymore, but we feel like we cannot leave. It may be in a romantic relationship which seems to not to go anywhere or our health and fitness which does not get to the level where we’d like it to be.
I was definitely there – particularly on the job level and yes, also in my previous relationships. I felt like I was moving in circles and could not see any progress at all. Situations where my job left me frustrated and bored, but I felt unable to move or change.
Or, as it happened very recently that I worked and worked on my Better Workplace Project and at the same time had to deal with some personal matters…and suddenly found that I had lost track and stopped dead in the latter. I was stuck.
With the result that all this energy which drove me before evaporated and my mood reached an all time low.
No energy – no action and definitely no progress.
Time to get up, take a break and a step back. And to remind myself of the strategies which get me “unstuck” again.
Sometimes we find ourselves stuck as there are things that tie us down and hold us back.
Last year while I was driving on the motorway my car suddenly lost power and made strange noises (this would have been the moment to stop, I did not). When I took the car to the garage it turned out that the damage was massive (turbo gave in) and the repair would cost me a little fortune. I decided to look for another solution without knowing what this could be.
Fast forward to today: A year later I have sold my car. Unrepaired. It had stayed in my garage for over a year, I had to de-register the car, pay for the parking space (not a cheap thing in this part of the world) and worst of it – the issue was permanently on my mind.
Only once the car was gone, did I realise the relief of no longer having so much energy wasted on this matter – taking energy away from more important things in my life.
It’s absolutely amazing how sorting out issues can bring our whole life back in motion. Whatever it is we’re avoiding – doing the taxes, sorting out our finances, finally filing for this divorce after having lived apart for years (oh yes, I know people in that situation) or whatever else is holding you back - HANDLE it.
Stop avoiding. Issues that will be in your mind constantly are energy suckers when ignored.
Get the present right and the future will be brighter.
Before getting on our path, we better know where we’re going. Sounds logical, right? But how many of us just start the days, weeks and month without having a real idea what the goal of our actions is?
A vision does not have to be a 5 year plan. Depending on our current situation, it can be a very short-term goal: I’d like to get out of this debt for the car until….I want to be able to pay my mortgage every month….I’d like to clear the air with my colleague who are giving me a hard time.
See yourself out of your troubles for now. The vision does not have to be the biggest dream, but consider how can you make the next week or month better.
This might not be you - depending on where we’re coming from our vision might be on a completely different level. Maybe you are already super successful and had your vision, but you’re still stuck and frustrated. Honour this frustration – it is o.k. to sometimes be restless, ashamed and vulnerable.
We're only human after all.
That’s the time to re-visit our vision and to possibly expand or alter it, and to define what’s the next step for you, something you can and want to persistently work on.
Sometimes we got this vision, but we’re still stuck. Dang…
Well, there is a solution to that….how about setting deadlines, otherwise the temptation of procrastination is HUGE, at least for me.
A book you might want to write or a skill you’d like to learn - if you don’t put a deadline in place for what you want to achieve, chances are you won't.
Rather schedule the individual steps related (!) to your ultimate vision - develop habits and routines in your calendar now (I give you permission to stop reading and do it NOW).
It is normal to be drawn to the comfortable life, which often means that we are easily distracted by tempting TV series, instead of writing a book or training to hike Mount Everest eventually, even if this is what we dream of and want to do.
On a very practical level: Writing down those goals and dreams on a piece of paper, sticking them to the wall, where I can see them on a daily basis and breaking it down into digestible and doable goals for each week and each day helps me greatly to progress.
For your book this might be writing a page or two each day. Results into a 360 – 720 page novel in a year…or you’re finished in 6 months. Sounds good, no?
In October last year I met my accountability buddy at a training. At that stage I had not the slightest idea that she would be exactly that, but while catching up after the event, we realized that we could overtake this “service” for each other.
It is so much harder to say to someone else “Ehmm, I did not get around to doing this…or I got distracted”, then saying it to yourself. That’s called peer pressure. Having someone who checks in with us every week is perfect to help us to stick to our own goals. It also forces us into actually creating them if they were not clear in the first place.
This also works by sharing our ideas and dreams with a larger circle – our friends. After a while they’ll probably tell us TO GET IT FRIGGIN’ DONE after we told them for the hundredth time about planning to swim through lake Geneva or writing a book or picking up marathon running. ;-)
That brings me to the fifth strategy - closely connected with the previous one.
Whatever our dreams and goals are (for some people this might be just getting through every day of the week sanely for others this might be creating the next 7 figure launch), don’t let yourself of the hook.
We are all facing fears of some sort when approaching some new and big projects, however, if we’re not willing to push through our fears, we are unlikely to achieve much.
Avoiding it won’t make the fear go away. Sorry. So be courageous and most of the time when we have pushed through we wonder why we didn’t do it earlier, as our personal worst case scenarios hardy ever occur (well, mostly).
Important: Let’s celebrate our successes! Even if they are small. Every step is progress. So if you are striving for financial freedom, celebrate each saving you deposit on your saving’s account. If you are writing a book, celebrate each finished chapter…or even each page written. If you finally made this call to the hot guy (or girl) you’d love to take out for dinner, celebrate.
Always the better alternative to beating ourselves up for not doing it – I bet that never served anybody.
Having read all of the above might have made you feel even more stuck than you were before.
Ever asked yourself the question, if what you feel is not being stuck, but you’re just resting, unable to move forward? Are you in a state of being constantly tired?
Then you might simply get too little sleep, which leads to a lack of attention and focus and can push down the threshold to becoming impatient and frustrated much quicker – sounds familiar?
Get a good night sleep and take care of your physiology.
This is the basis for everything, including influencing your willpower.
I guess I don’t need to elaborate on this topic anymore – there are so many articles about this one.
In short: don’t be the person who browses on the internet endlessly without purpose, but learn to become the researcher.
Nothing against a bit of Facebook browsing every now and again. However, doing that constantly throughout the day will lead to being distracted and not having any blocks of uninterrupted time to work on whatever requires the focus.
Silence all those notifications from devices and apps when you work (or talk to someone) and focus on what you’re doing.
I’m not trying to spoil your fun here, but it’s been proven so many times by now: Our brain in incapable to multitask, instead we switch between tasks, which is distracting and time consuming.
You might have heard that we are the sum of the 5 people we spend most of our time with. Who are your 5 people? Are they working on some big dreams or ideas?
If not, the lack of ambition might have just taken hold of you too.
Check out who in your network are the highest achieving people and get involved. Hardly anybody I ever asked for help and advice said no so far.
Another option is to read, listen to or watch inspiring people talking or writing about their journey. Ever went to a conference where you came out all fired up and ready to jump into the work toward your goals? Well, I did.
Getting our social circles right can help us immensely when we are feeling stuck – so rather choose those, which energize you instead of those sucking the living daylight out of you.
Getting unstuck means getting back our energy and willpower to move forward. And this is not the super ambitious woman talking (well, I am ambitious, but that’s not the point). As human beings we all have this innate desire of wanting to grow and progress in our life.
For some of us it’s just covered under some debris and the comfortable life.
Sometimes it may be buried under our beliefs, that we can’t change anything anyway and everything and everybody else is responsible for our misery.
However, taking care of your health and surrounding yourself with the right kinds of people and using our time wisely have a huge potential to give us energy. If we have a dream, we ought to be prepared to go for it. Otherwise it will always stay a dream.