Why do I feel stuck in life? 10 ways to get unstuck.
What does it even mean to feel stuck?
Feeling stuck manifests differently in everyone, but there are patterns we can use to group them. Here are some common causes of feeling stuck:
Feeling stuck in said career because of how much time, money, and effort has already been invested in it. See: sunk cost fallacy.
Telling yourself it’s too late in life to make a change.
Feeling drained from your daily routine, and therefore too exhausted to invest in your personal goals and relationships.
Having perfectly followed “the plan” laid out by someone else, yet not feeling fulfilled. Instead, feeling unhappy and unsure what you are actually passionate about.
Scared of failure.
Not being surrounded by the right people - those that support and encourage you, and also those that have a similar drive.
These feelings exacerbate with time, resulting in a life full of regrets due to fear and inaction. For example, the number one regret of the dying is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
What’s going on under the hood?
It’s so hot right now to hate on routine, but routine isn’t the problem - a routine you hate is the problem! Falling into a routine based on someone else’s “plan” is easy to do; you allow yourself to sleepwalk through life, not having to make intentional decisions or create your own path. You end up working toward goals that don’t truly align with who you are and what you desire.
Almost all of us have experienced feeling stuck at some point, but most of us don’t know what it means. Mel Robbins describes feeling stuck as a signal: when you need food, you feel hungry. When you need water, you feel thirsty. When you need sex, you feel horny. When you feel stuck, you need something that you’re missing - exploration for your soul.
We all crave growth, but growth is only experienced beyond our comfort zones. We tend to overthink, procrastinate, and doubt our abilities, so we hold ourselves back. Sticking to our comfort zones is a habit we often develop based on other people’s stories about safety, security, and stability. Do you want to remain bored or do you want to feel a renewed passion for life? Challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone and you will be met with rewarding experiences and knowledge about yourself and your passions.
How to approach life differently:
Appreciate your one, finite life. Live life in a way so that you minimize your regrets of inaction due to fear.
Don’t settle. Settling removes the onus from you to do the work. Chase what your heart truly desires to find your purpose.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment. It is never going to come and you will never “feel like it”.
Implement ‘activation energy’ - “the least amount of energy required to activate atoms or molecules to a state in which they can undergo a chemical reaction.” Whatever it is you want to do - do it. Find the energy required to physically begin and you have overcome the hardest part.
When you “don’t feel like it”, do it anyway. For the things you know you truly desire, don’t let your excuses get in the way. Move past your feelings and act on your ideas.
Stop the negative self talk. Work on rephrasing your self talk in order to improve your mindset. For example, you might say “This is too hard for me, I can’t do it.” Instead, say “No matter how it turns out, this is a great opportunity to learn.” Improve attitude towards yourself and you will improve your confidence too!
When you have an impulse to act on a goal - ACT! Don’t hesitate or overthink it, just take action. Your action may be as simple as writing it down as a goal that you will then make a plan for.
Live intentionally. Nothing changes if nothing changes. From now on, every action that you take should have a clear intention. Don’t sleepwalk through life anymore. This does NOT mean that you can’t watch tv or do something else relaxing, just make sure you’re doing that activity because your intention is to relax or take a break. Make a list of what you want to get done today, ask yourself why you want to do these things, and prioritize the tasks that bring you closer to your goals. Our lives are full of stimuli and it is all too easy to get distracted. Being intentional every day is paramount. Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can help you make choices that inspire and motivate you.
Forge your own path. Don’t follow anyone else’s path. Look to others for inspiration and guidance, but be sure that you are making your own choices. Maybe what you crave most is freedom for your time, so a 9 - 5 job might not be right for you! Design your life intentionally.
Time is your MOST valuable, non-renewable resource. Spending time and energy toward tasks that don’t align with your values, goals, and desires is why you feel a lack of fulfillment. Instead, focus only on what you truly desire. Create your plan of action and hold yourself accountable.
Your life, your path. Make decisions today that your future self will be grateful for.