Getting Unstuck: 5 Steps to Moving Yourself Forward
We all have those times where we really want to do something, but we just can’t seem to do it. Feelings of self-doubt, being overwhelmed, lost, or afraid keep us in a state of procrastination and ambivalence. Often when this happens, our self-esteem also begins to be challenged as we start telling ourselves we’re a “failure”, because we aren’t moving forward. However, this state of limbo doesn’t need to become permanent. No matter how difficult or impossible it may seem, you can climb out of this cage! Here are 5 ways to help guide you through the process of becoming unstuck:
Decide If You’re Really Stuck
Often times, the feeling of being “stuck” is really just a lack of decision making. When you’re wrestling with something, one of the first things to do is consider whether or not you should even be wrestling at all! Think about the thing you’re fighting and ask yourself, “Do I really want to make a change, or do I want to accept where I’m at?” This can go either way. For example, you may be struggling with wanting to expand your career, and decide that you really are at a place where you want to push yourself and do more. Or, you might decide that while that may be something you’d like for yourself in the future, right now is a time where your priority focus is growing and nurturing your family, and you’re okay with simply maintaining your career for the time being. Either way, you must decide to either give yourself permission to be okay with things the way they are and let go of the fight, or make a conscious decision that you do want to move forward with change.
Explore Your Options
If you’ve decided that you want to begin making a change, the next thing to do is explore your options. What are the possibilities? How big or small do you want this change to be? What resources and supports do you have? What tools do you need? For example, if your goal is to begin exercising, think about what kind of exercise you want to do, the places you can do it, how much time you’d like to dedicate to it, etc. Allow yourself to imagine that this change can actually happen, and think specifically about all the things that can get you there.
Consider the Barriers
Now it’s time to face the obstacles. What is standing in your way of moving forward? Sometimes, you’ve already removed the main barrier of indecision, and this step doesn’t feel as necessary. However, there still might be other things such as your schedule, budget, personal insecurities, and other limitations that you’ll need to get past. It’s important to remember that sometimes change requires sacrifice and self-discipline in order to achieve the greater good. Here is where it might be helpful to pull out a piece of paper, and make two columns: on one side, list all the barriers; on the other side, list all the answers to overcoming those barriers. This may take some time, but once you’ve figured out how you’re going to manage the challenges, the entire process of change likely won’t feel so overwhelming.
Take a Step
Once you’ve worked through decision making, exploring options, and considering barriers, it’s time to take action. Take one step in the direction you’ve chosen, and then assess how that felt. For example, if you’ve decided to improve your marital relationship, maybe you decide to purchase a relationship book to begin reading with your partner. Perhaps it’s enough for now, or perhaps that step gives you the excitement and confidence to take several more steps forward, such as scheduling a date night, or making an appointment with a couple’s therapist. This may be the scariest part of the process, because it requires some faith and vulnerability. But remember, you’ve taking preliminary steps to prepare you for this moment, you are in control, and you can pull back anytime you want to. It often simply takes that first step to propel you into a steady walk or run towards the thing you desire.
Always Practice Self-Love
No matter what place you are in the process, even if it’s at the very beginning where you’re realizing just how stuck you are, always practice self-love. Being stuck is not who you are-it’s a place you are at. Beating yourself up about it will only wrap you tighter in feelings of shame, doubt, despair, depression, and self-loathing. It’s okay that you’re struggling. It’s okay that moving forward feels difficult. These are feelings everyone experiences, and they are no reason to treat yourself unkindly. You simply need to acknowledge that they’re there, and use them as information to help yourself through the journey. Just because something may be hard, that is no reason why any doors should be closed to you.
Getting stuck is normal. It’s simply a sign that you need to slow down, and consciously process whatever is making you feel stuck. However, you don’t need to waste countless amounts of time and energy trying to will yourself out of being stagnant. Go through the process one step at a time, and before you know it, you will feel motivated and free.