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How To Get Unstuck: 8 Ways To Spark Positive Change

How to get unstuck? If you landed on this article, I’m guessing that you’re wrestling with some stagnation in your life, and you’re looking for a way to alleviate it.

The good news is that feeling stuck is completely normal. We all find ourselves in ruts from time to time and there’s always a way out no matter how bleak things seem.

The following article will show you how to get unstuck by implementing powerful keystone habits that can shift your life onto a more positive course.

 

What Does It Mean To Feel Stuck?

Being stuck has a different meaning for everyone because we’re all wrestling with different demons and obstacles.

Speaking broadly though, being stuck means that you’re not making forward progress on the things that are important to you. 

This lack of forward progress is likely leading to feelings of shame, guilt, and resentment. These emotions tend to perpetuate the toxic habits keeping you where you are.

In other words, being stuck means that you’re not acting in alignment with the type of person you want to be. It means that you’re feeling strong urges to change who you are, but your negative internal dialogue is making it difficult to act on these urges 

 

3 Common Reasons Why We Get Stuck In Life

Before talking about how to get unstuck, it’s important to point out some potential root causes of why you may be struggling to find positive momentum in life.

There’s a number of reasons why we tend to get stuck in life, but here are the most common:

 

#1: We Lose Sight Of Our Goals

Does this sound like a familiar story?

You get motivated and write down a specific goal you want to achieve. For the first few days, maybe even the first week, you’re taking action towards those goals

At some point, you find it difficult to be consistent and start running out of steam. A week or two later, you’ve lost sight of those initial goals completely and have relegated back to your old habits.

If that sounds like where you’re at right now, then of course you’re going to feel a little guilt and shame about your situation.

What makes this even more difficult is that with each failure, you instill the belief that you’re not capable of becoming a new person.

 

man standing in a field

 

#2: We Let The Past Take Up Too Much Of The Present

Our past plays a big role in the decisions that we make in the present. And when we feel stuck, it’s likely because our self-perception is being colored by demons from the past that we can’t shake.

At this very moment, who you are is simply a combination of all of the choices that you’ve previously made. These choices have led to internalized beliefs that govern the way that you see the world, and consequently the types of behaviors you engage in.

Now with time, these past demons can be overcome. You can create new beliefs, adopt new habits, and completely reinvent yourself despite your past experiences.

But right now, your past is the most domineering influence on your choices.

 

#3: We Struggle With Consistency

There are no shortcuts to achieving meaningful changes in life. In order to become a better version of who you are, there’s no getting around the daily grind of consistent, focused action.

Almost everyone can put in the work when they feel motivated. It’s the people who show up regardless of their motivation levels that achieve outstanding personal growth.

So if you’re inconsistent with the effort that you put into your primary aims in life, this is likely a major factor in the lack of meaning you’re experiencing.

 

Is It Always A Bad Thing To Be Stuck In Life?

Many people wondering how to get unstuck make their situation worse by subscribing to the belief that being stuck is a bad thing.

And although I’d agree that it’s not a good thing to feel stuck in life, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bad thing either. 

Here’s what I would say about being stuck — It’s a natural part of the journey for anyone who’s ever found the key to being happy, fulfilled, and successful..

Sure, in an ideal world you wouldn’t feel stuck, and you’d be making forward progress daily on the goals that are important to you. 

But not one person can say that they’ve lived every day of their life like this. If you closely examine the lives of the people you admire, you’ll often find long-term periods of struggle characterized by the same self-doubt you’re feeling right now.

And yet, people don’t remember them for the dark times in their life. They remember them for the light they were able to create out of the darkness.

It won’t be easy, but you have the opportunity to do the exact same thing. The period of struggle that you find yourself enduring is here for a reason — it’s not meant to break you, it’s meant to make you stronger.

 

chess board

 

How To Get Unstuck & Move Forward In Life: 8 Tips

Hopefully by now you’ve realized that being stuck isn’t the end of the world. It’s in fact an opportunity for you to create a better, stronger, and happier version of yourself.

However, those outcomes happening are predicated on one thingthe level of action you take to alleviate your current situation.

The following section of this article will cover eight tips for how to get unstuck and start moving your life forward. My hope is that reading this section will arm you with actionable advice that you can leverage to turn things around.

 

#1: Accept Where You Are

If you’re wondering how to get unstuck, there’s two key mindset shifts that you need to make before taking action.

The first one is completely embracing where you are right now. Even if you’re unhappy with several aspects of your life, that won’t change the fact that it’s your starting point.

Love it or hate it, you have to start somewhere. But if you continue to be consumed by your past demons and loathe the choices that you’ve made to get here, your journey to getting unstuck will never get off the ground.

Accept that who you are right now isn’t permanent. You’re not going to be stuck in this place forever.

Going forward, the only thing you can control is your commitment to becoming the best version of yourself.

 

#2: Accept That Getting Unstuck Is A Long Term Journey

Another key mindset shift that you need to make in order to change your life is that getting unstuck is a long-term process.

So many people fail to change simply because they underestimate how long it takes. The person you are right now is based on a system of beliefs that you’ve acquired over years, even decades.

You’re fooling yourself by thinking that you can untangle these beliefs with a few steps in the right direction. It will likely require several months of consistent action in order to start to feel like you’re turning into someone new.

That doesn’t mean you won’t see signs of growth along the way, because you certainly will. But achieving the radical, life-altering shifts you’re looking for is simply a matter of patience.

 

man sitting on a bike

 

#3: Stop Hitting Snooze & Wake Up Early

If you’re wondering how to get unstuck, avoiding the snooze button is a great place to start.

If you don’t snooze and regularly get up at your desired time, then you can ignore this section of the article.

However, if you routinely find yourself pressing that snooze button and starting your day behind the eight-ball, then stay tuned for an app recommendation that will help you eliminate this problem entirely.

Now I know you might be thinking to yourself, “It’s just an extra 15 minutes of sleep, what’s the big deal?”

Well for starters, you know all too well that sometimes an extra 15 minutes of sleep turns into an extra 30 minutes of sleep, or an extra hour, or even an extra two hours.

But furthermore, the act of hitting the snooze button goes much deeper than just trying to catch some extra Z’s.

The reason that hitting the snooze button is so damaging is because you’re essentially admitting defeat before the day even starts. What you’re conveying to the world when you hit the snooze button is this:

“I’m not quite ready to take you on yet.”

Your alarm going off signifies the first battle of the day. Are you going to get up even though every part of your body is telling you to stay in bed, or are you going to choose instant gratification?

This first critical decision you make sets the tone for the inevitable tug of war that will ensue each day between your long-term goals and instant gratification.

If you’re struggling with the snooze button, there’s an app called Alarmy that will help you instantly alleviate this problem.

Alarmy acts as an accountability partner by forcing you to get off your ass in order to turn off your alarm. The app is programmed with certain “missions” that need to be completed before your alarm stops ringing.

By the time you’ve completed your chosen mission, you’ll find it easier to transition into your morning routine since you’re already up and out of bed.

Downloading this app marked the death of my habit of hitting the snooze button, so hopefully you’re able to achieve similar results.

 

white alarm clock

 

#4: Start An Exercise Habit

Exercise is one of the best types of habits to build if you’re wondering how to get unstuck. It cannot be understated how powerful regular exercise can be if you’re feeling lost in life.

Does it help you improve your physique? Obviously, but the real benefits are what it does for your emotional state.

Exercise imparts a tremendous sense of well-being among the people who make it a regular practice:

  • They have more energy throughout the day
  • They experience improved sleep
  • They feel more relaxed 
  • They display improved resilience when faced with life’s challenges.

Not only that, but a study published by Harvard Medical School found that regular exercise was an all-natural antidepressant, reducing the chances of major depression by a whopping 26%.

That’s because exercise drastically changes our brain’s wiring. And it’s these neurological changes that make it easier to fight back against life’s challenges.

The biggest obstacle to building an exercise habit is consistency. I already know that some of you are reading this thinking, “I’ve tried this before the habit didn’t stick, what should I do differently?”

I have two suggestions for you:

Tip #1: Start Small

Remember in the first section where we talked about accepting where you are? Well, that mindset is critical for turning any behavior into a habit because it forces you to recognize your limitations. 

So instead of thinking that you can start working out for an hour per day/five days a week, what if you started by simply doing 10 pushups per day?

It’s not the sexy, radical shift you’re looking for, but that’s exactly what makes it such an effective way to foster long-term behavior change.

Every time you win the day by completing a small habit like this, you prove to your brain that you’re the type of person who exercises every day. This subtle identity shift creates a foundation that allows you to aim higher.

 

woman working out in a gym

 

Tip #2: Choose Something You’re More Likely To Stick To

The great thing about exercise is that you don’t have to endure a bunch of pain and suffering in order to reap the benefits that it provides.

You’re more likely to follow through on a habit when you enjoy it. So if you don’t wanna lift heavy weights or spend hours on the treadmill, you don’t have to!

  • Make exercise a social activity by finding a friend/neighbor who wants to go on hikes/walks with you. 
  • Engage in a physically demanding sport that you enjoy such as tennis, biking, basketball, or even ultimate frisbee.
  • Sign up for a yoga class/dance class if you’re interested in either of those things.

By making exercise a little more enjoyable, you’ll be more likely to make it a staple in your life.

 

#5: Begin Tackling Your Fears To Get Unstuck

If you’re feeling stuck right now, fear is likely one of the biggest culprits.

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that we experience. And it often causes us to retreat to comfort instead of moving closer to our ideal self.

  • We don’t start the business we’ve always dreamed of starting because we’re afraid that it’s going to fail
  • We don’t approach that man/woman we find attractive because we’re afraid of experiencing rejection
  • We don’t ask our boss for the raise that we deserve because we’re afraid of the discomfort associated with that conversation

These are the choices that make or break our happiness in life. And the more that we let fear win in these moments, the farther we move away from the life that we deserve.

Learning how to get unstuck coincides with learning how to not let fear stop you from doing the things that you want to do.

The best way to do this is by creating what psychologists refer to as a fear hierarchy. In order to create a fear hierarchy, you first make a list of situations that bring about feelings of fear.

Next, you rank these situations on a scale from 1-10. The score you give is dependent upon the level of fear you would experience in that particular situation.

And of course, the final step is taking action by voluntarily exposing yourself to these situations.

The idea is that through systematic exposure, you’ll become desensitized to fear and teach yourself to take action in spite of it.

For example, let’s say that you’re a man who lacks confidence and is afraid of approaching women. 

Here’s what a sample fear hierarchy might look like for you:

  • 1 – Watch videos of men approaching women on the street 
  • 2 – Walk down the street and nod your head at women passing by
  • 3 – Walk down the street and make eye contact, then quickly look away. 
  • 4 – Hold eye contact until they look away from you
  • 5 – Walk down the street and say “hello” to each women that passes you
  • 6 – Walk down the street and say, “Hello, how are you?” to each woman that passes you
  • 7 – Ask a woman for directions somewhere
  • 8 – Give out genuine compliments to women who walk by you
  • 9 – Approach a woman, introduce yourself, give them a compliment, and then leave and tell them to have a nice day
  • 10 – Approach a woman and introduce yourself, give them a compliment, and then try your best to carry on a conversation. Finish off the interaction by asking for their number.

The reason why a fear hierarchy works so well is because it slowly builds up our courage muscle. 

You start with things you know you can do, and then gradually move into uncharted territory where you’ll need to overcome some resistance.

However, the confidence that you gain from the previous steps in the hierarchy make it easier to overcome this resistance.

So if you want to learn how to get unstuck, try creating a fear hierarchy for a specific area of your life that you’re struggling with. As long as you take action, you’ll find that these situations aren’t that scary after all.

But most importantly, you’ll gain the courage to act on your true desires even when fear attempts to get in your way.

 

ghost teaching someone how to get unstuck

 

#6: Get Unstuck By Reading Atomic Habits

I’ve read dozens of self-improvement books so far in my life. However, James Clear’s Atomic Habits is by far the most compelling, eye-opening book that I’ve come across.

I stumbled upon this book during a time in my life where I was trapped on the self-improvement hamster wheel — a period where I’d set goals, not follow through on them, and then experience intense shame for my lack of commitment.

This book armed me with a completely different view on successful behavior change. It helped me realize that forming new habits and changing my identity didn’t need to feel like such an uphill battle.

Clear touches on many different concepts in the book, such as how to break bad habits, how to design your external environment for success, how to form new habits and actually stick to them, and much more.

It’s not just your typical book about habits. It’s a how-t0-manual for getting what you want out of life.

So if you want to learn how to get unstuck, this is the most impactful and actionable book that I can recommend to you. Click here to check out the book in further detail and read some of the reviews from other people who’ve read it.

Now if you’ve already read the book, my suggestion is to self-reflect on whether or not you actually applied the principles that it discussed. If not, be sure to re-read it with a commitment to actually put Clear’s words into action.

 

#7: Get Unstuck By Opening Up To Others

When you’re in a place of stagnation, it’s difficult to admit that to other people. It’s the natural human tendency to avoid placing ourselves in situations where we may be judged or feel vulnerable.

We often hide our true thoughts and emotions because we’re worried about whether or not they’ll be accepted by other people. However, a consequence of this is that we shut out other people from knowing who we really are.

So if you’re feeling stuck, start leaning on the people close to you by opening up about your struggles. It’s going to feel a little scary, but the burden you’re carrying around will feel instantly lighter after the fact.

The people you open up to may offer wisdom that will help you see things from a different perspective. Or better yet, in the spirit of openness, they may share their own experience with similar struggles, and talk you through how they worked through it.

There’s really no downside and all upside to opening up to people who have your best interests at heart.

 

two people talking about how to get unstuck

 

#8: Just Choose One Thing To Get A Handle On

Perhaps the most important part of getting unstuck is limiting your focus. If there’s one thing that you take away from this article let it be this — in order to change anything about your life, it needs to become your number one priority while everything else takes a back seat.

I know that may be hard to hear right now because you’re probably thinking, “But it’s not just one thing making me feel stuck! There’s many different things about my life that need to change for me to get unstuck!”

I can genuinely empathize with that feeling, because it’s the same mindset that I carried through life while wondering how to get unstuck.

The thing is though, that mindset got me absolutely nowhere. All it did was cause me to set a bunch of goals, never make progress on any of them, and rinse and repeat that process months later.

And each time this happened, it felt like a little life got sucked out of me. The moment that things began to change for me is when I identified the biggest source of unhappiness in my life and put 100% of my attention into addressing it.

This meant giving up some goals that were really important to me. But it was this act of letting go that gave me the freedom to dedicate all of my resources to the single biggest demon in my life — social anxiety.

So what’s the biggest source of unhappiness in your life?

Your weight? Your personal relationships? Your social skills? Your work habits?

Here’s a better question:

If someone came up to you and granted you the power to change just one aspect of your life, what would you change

The answer you come up with to this question should be the one thing that you dedicate all of your focus to for the next several months.

Because what you’ll notice is that when you address the biggest source of guilt and shame in your life, addressing everything else becomes easier.

 

man writing on a piece of paper

 

Final Thoughts On How To Get Unstuck

Well, that wraps up this article on how to get unstuck and start moving your life in a positive direction.

When you’re feeling stuck, it can be overwhelming to think about the work it will take to make the changes you want to make. 

However, on the other side of that work is a better, stronger, version of yourself. All you have to do is focus on moving forward every day. If you do that, and are willing to remain patient, the results will take care of themselves.

It might take a few months, or several months, or even a year or two before you feel like a completely different person, but the good news is that life is long. 

And once your desired changes have taken shape, you’ve got decades to go after everything else that you deserve.

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