Feeling stuck—whether it’s in work, love, spiritual growth, or any other aspect of life—is frustrating. Sometimes you might feel directionless for long periods of time while other times you may just need an extra push to get from here to there. Either way, being stuck is no fun and has the potential to derail you indefinitely.
One of the biggest challenges with being stuck is the innate desire to fix things immediately. Anytime you encounter an obstacle on the path to your goals and desires, the first instinct is to reconcile the situation as soon as possible and get back on track. Yet, sometimes the harder you try to get unstuck the deeper you seem to go.
A good place to start is to figure out what kind of “stuck” you are. Are you deer-in-headlights stuck, or sinking-in-quicksand stuck? It's important to get clear on whether you're waiting for your inner creative director to kick back in, or if you're the kind of stuck that you can't get out of alone. Oftentimes you just need to shift your trajectory a bit—move your body or light the proverbial fire under yourself. But other times your stuckness requires a helping hand.
Whenever you find yourself a little more stuck than usual, try these steps to help you make the leap.
1. Ask for a Hand
People often feel that they need to do everything alone. But no one ever does everything alone. Oprah didn't build her network alone and Richard Branson didn't build his empire alone. It's important to remember to seek support when you need it. Talk with a friend or peer who has some expertise in the area where you're having trouble connecting the dots, and share your challenge with them. Chances are, they might have some sage advice that will provide just the clarity you're seeking. If they've been successful in this area, model your behavior based on their experience.
2. See the Challenge as an Opportunity
Oftentimes a little shift in how you perceive your experience is exactly what's needed to view it through another lens. When you focus on what’s wrong, you tend to perpetuate more of the same negative thinking. See if you can find what's right about the situation, or look for the hidden lesson. When you can see with the eyes of opportunity, your learning will afford you the wisdom to move around the obstacle.
3. Change Up Your Daily Routine
As creatures of habit, there’s a tendency to run on autopilot when it comes to accomplishing tasks. If you find yourself stuck, try mixing up your lifestyle. Get up earlier or later, and lengthen or shorten daily routines to make room for different activities. Go for a walk in nature instead of hitting the gym for a high-impact cardio workout. Meditate twice a day for 30 minutes each time instead of once a day for 10 minutes. Switching things up enables you to access different parts of your brain, which can enhance your awareness and increase bursts of creativity.
4. Get Honest With Yourself
Many people sabotage their own process, consciously or unconsciously, as a result of deep-seated fears and limiting beliefs. Whenever you aren't able to achieve your goals it's because there’s a discrepancy between what you say you want and what you’re actually experiencing. Get honest with yourself about what it is you're trying to accomplish and ask yourself if it's really what you want.
5. Take Action Every Day
The choices you make every moment of every day truly do matter. When you take action and do little things every day that are in the direction you want to go, you make progress even when we don't necessarily see any immediate gain. This can be tricky because those little things are just as easy not to do. Because they don't seem like a big deal in the moment, it's easy to negotiate away from doing them. Remember, it's the small things, the ones that seem so insignificant they couldn't possibly matter, that become compounded over time, and before you know it your mission has been accomplished.