Getting Unstuck: 9 tips on how to move forward with your life – even if it’s hard
There are times when I feel I just get stuck…like I can’t quite move forward with things. You know the one, when you find yourself procrastinating, making excuses and generally feel disconnected or distracted from your goals. You can see what you want but it seems a bit out of reach, or the time/commitment required to get there feels a bit too overwhelming. This could include a work project or new healthy routine you’ve been meaning to get on with or a creative block…like me getting on with writing this blog lol.
There are many reasons and causes for this stuck-ness, and some of the ideas I’m going to share will probably not shift much for you if you are depressed, grieving or have any mental health issues. However, if your blocks or stuck-ness are not deeply embedded or chronic, then there’s always something you can do to move forward – if you want to.
Not surprisingly, coaches encourage people to take action, because in action, there is movement and the possibility of change. After all, we all know that repeating the same patterns and behaviours over and over again gets us nowhere fast.
“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” Tony Robbins
So, if we understand that we need to be in action to shift things in our lives, what are some of the ways we can do this? I’d love to say to you, ‘well all you have to do is this one thing….and your life will be sorted’… But that would be a lie. Often, it’s the cumulative effect of small but consistent steps that help shift behaviours, habits and mind-sets. So here are a few tips to get you started.
1. You’re better than you think you are
A lack of self-belief in yourself can really hold you back. Making yourself small, or belittling yourself, or focusing only on your flaws rather than strengths can stop you from moving forward with your life. Maybe you find yourself more concerned with pleasing others before yourself. Perhaps you feel you are not capable on some level. However, you must start to see and feel that YOU are worth your love and attention. You are valid. You have a place in this world. Your thinking can get the better of you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do something about it. Start choosing different, more empowering thoughts about yourself. You do deserve better; you are worth your love and self-care. Spend a few moments every day to tell yourself this – even 60 seconds a day can make a positive impact. If you nourish yourself, you are also in a better place to help others. Mantras and positive affirmations can be powerful. Find one that resonates with you, even if at first you don’t ‘believe’ it. For example:
“I am worthy.”
“I am enough.”
“I surround myself with good things, and positive people.”
“Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self-esteem.” —Jillian Michaels
2. You can change
“A leopard can’t change its spots” is a phrase we sometimes hear when people talk about not being able to alter behaviours. Well, that’s just a myth and I believe, and have witnessed that we can indeed change and shift for the better. You can literally re-programme your thinking. And you can make changes in your life. You have more choice that you realise. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is possible. Each day, each moment is a brand-new opportunity to shift. Sometimes that means letting go: of a relationship, or work or people that don’t fit with who you are any more. And other times that means releasing an idea, or belief that no longer serves you. Letting go can be a hard thing to do – particularly love, anger or grief. Creating alternatives, motivating yourself with new goals, viewing your experiences with new perspectives can all help you move forward and change for the better.
Let go, and you grow.
3. Change your perspective
When you can’t see the wood for the trees, step out of the forest.Close your eyes and take some deep breaths…imagine yourself climbing a big hill or flying higher and higher, viewing the ‘problem’ you’re dealing with from a completely new angle, an alternative perspective. What do you see? What do you notice about your situation? What needs to change? Seeing things at a macro level can often bring new clarity.
“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery.” —Rick Warren
4. You are imperfectly perfect
It is human to be flawed. Our upbringing, our life experiences and accompanying thought patterns all contribute to what we see as our imperfections, our faults. This notion is exacerbated by comparing our self to others – not helped of course by social media. So, instead, focus on all your strengths and positive attributes – yes you do have them. We each have something unique and wonderful to offer this world.
“When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target.” George Fisher
5. Find comfort in the discomfort
Changing and shifting is not always easy. There’s rarely an elevator to success, more often than not, you have to take the stairs. Making changes can sometimes feel like two steps forward and one step back. So, it can be helpful to accept that the discomfort you feel means you’re in unfamiliar territory; you're stepping outside your comfort zone and this is a normal part of growth. We have a tendency to avoid or even run away from the challenges of say a healthy consistent practice or new mind-set thinking it might just be too hard to maintain. Instead we stay put in that warm, cosy ‘velvet groove’ and we miss out on the opportunities that are there for us. Like a snake shedding its skin, or a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon to become the butterfly, the discomfort is part of the process, but the rewards are great – embrace it.
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” —Abraham Maslow
6. Make the changes fun and rewarding
If you’re stuck in procrastination, dreading a particular task, or there’s new routine you’d really like to get on with but have found a million excuses to put off, why not brainstorm with yourself or others on how to make the whole thing more enjoyable? Perhaps you could reward or incentivise yourself to complete the job. Or make a game of the it to make it more interesting and engaging and invite friends or family to support you. Make it more playful and you may find it more pleasurable. If that doesn’t call to you, try having someone hold you accountable – like a coach or friend.
7. Move your body
It’s amazing what changing your physiology can do for shifting your mood or helping you come up with new ideas.So, the next time you feel unable to do a job or task, get up, go for a walk/run/swim/do star-jumps/dance – anything that gets you moving.
8. Half full
Yes, I’m bringing up that gratitude stuff again. For me, this is one of the most effective, soothing, life affirming practices I can engage in. Because rather like the perspective exercise, when I am in gratitude and appreciation for what is working in my life, there is simply more hope and greater positivity in my energy and approach. Seeing the silver lining in even the darkest of clouds helps keep you on track and allows you to see opportunity in just about every situation, however stuck you may feel to begin with.
9. One step at a time
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain
Yeah, the task list can seem big, perhaps the goals are huge…but doing one, two or three things daily towards that mission of yours will effect change. Before you know it, you’re already a third of the way up your mountain.
So, there you have it.I invite you to get stuck in with getting un-stuck! I’ll be checking in with my coach about getting stuck into to my new website…watch this space.