Feeling Stuck? 7 Strategies to Get Back on Track
Feeling stuck or trapped in a rut? Today is the day for you!
It was Laurence J. Peter who said, “A rut is just the grave with the ends knocked out.” If you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, tell me where you’re at! Where are you stuck?
This is something I want to address more often because with my private coaching clients, it comes up a lot.
We get in our heads, get stuck in worry, have trouble making decisions, are afraid to change something, we’re paralyzed with fear. This happens with everyone.
Oftentimes, when we get stuck, we’re waiting for something externally to happen. “If only this would happen, then I could move forward.”
Change comes from within! You need to start with change within yourself before you’ll start to see things happening.
Do you want to be one of those people that life happens to, or do you want to make life happen? That is something to consider.
Change happens when you make a change, so I’m going to talk about seven things you can do to help yourself get unstuck and move forward (and a little bonus item)! When you decide to make a change, things happen, don’t they?
Number one: Gratitude.
Two emotions cannot exist within your head at the same time because they are different chemical reactions. So, when you find yourself feeling stuck or depressed, focus on gratitude instead!
Do this as practice: Right now, think of something you can be thankful for. Health, home, job, car, family, faith, friends, children? What are you thankful for today?
It is also helpful to remember that there is a difference between pain and suffering. Where pain is an actual physical reaction in your body, suffering is a story you tell yourself in your head.
I always go back to that quote from ‘The Princess Bride’, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
This happens all the time, someone may say they feel threatened when they only feel uncomfortable. Are you truly in physical pain? You may be.
I had breast cancer last year so I know pain, but suffering was the story I told myself. I found myself wallowing, “Boohoo, woe is me!”
It is easy to get caught up in that and I did, at times. I won’t lie, we’re all human and it is a real thing.
But try to focus on gratitude instead. It may not take away the physical feeling of pain, but it will release endorphins into your bloodstream. What are endorphins? Painkillers!
Another trick is to put a pen in your mouth and walk around like that for two minutes doing odd jobs. It forces your face into a smile and triggers endorphins!
So, gratitude and misery cannot exist at the same time, and gratitude is much healthier.
Forgive yourself for past mistakes.
Apologize if you need to apologize and learn from it. Forgive yourself and move on, because that could be a cloud hanging over your head.
Are you blaming yourself for things turning out differently than you wanted?
Sometimes we get a God complex and we blame ourselves for things that happen. If you are angry at someone and wish they get a flat tire, and then they get a ticket and you feel guilty for it… did you really do that?
If you think your thoughts are that powerful, focus your thoughts on awesome, positive things!
Joy is a decision. Peace is a decision. Happiness is a decision. It doesn’t happen to you, it happens when you make it happen, so forgive yourself and move on!
Number two: Change your perspective!
Once you release your grip on the past, you will be able to see your current reality in different ways. Mediate, learn to refocus on things that are happening in the present in a different way.
Have your alone time, travel, do something different. Even if it’s just part of your daily activities: Change where you sit, move your furniture, go to a new grocery store, visit a new gym, switch up your workout routine.
Changing the little things will help you change the prospective of what’s in your life.
Number three: Start with small things.
Don’t try to change the world, or change everything at once. To get out of a rut, all you need to focus on are the tiny things.
Change your morning routine, if you have one.
In my Gorgeous Within group, our gorgeous gals were working on a new morning routine this week, writing down their current morning routines and deciding what to do differently.
Brush your teeth three times a day instead of twice, make new friends, meet new people. Every choice you make matters, so make it a positive, good one.
Sometimes we are tempted to skip the small things, but don’t!
It’s the accumulation of little things that add up to big change.
Number four: Explore your purpose.
Everything in the universe has a purpose. You are not here by accident, you are not reading this blogpost by accident, you are not on this planet by accident.
As a Christian, I don’t believe God looked down and wondered, “Where did that person come from?” No, He has a purpose for you. What is it?
If you aren’t sure, pray, meditate, think about it. It may not be to be in the public eye, but behind the scenes people are irreplaceable! Your purpose does not have to be some huge thing. Maybe it’s helping someone overcome sadness right now.
Perhaps you’re exceptionally good at putting a smile on someone’s face. How many people really smile at you during the day, and how does it make you feel? It’s important!
You could have a purpose to protect animals, or to raise children. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” If you do have children, don’t be focused on another purpose. Your children ARE your purpose.
Stepping onto my soapbox for a moment: We are so focused on other things, we are not forming our young adults properly and giving them that step-up in life that they need.
Consequently, we look around and wonder where all these selfish people came from. Hello!
But trying to find your life’s purpose: What makes you so absorbed that you lose track of time, what are you good at, what makes you feel inspired?
What made you happy in the past, and what makes you happy now?
Start thinking about these things because as our life goes on, our purpose may change.
As the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey says, “A change is as good as a rest.”
Number five: Believe in yourself.
Trust that you can reach the expectations and goals that you have set. Make a list of your strengths and positive traits.
I meet so many people that focus on the negative of themselves. No, tell me the positive things!
What do you like about yourself, your business, the clothing in your closet, your body type? Remember that you are capable!
Think about things that you’ve succeeded at in the past. You are a survivor because you are here right now, because we’ve all had to overcome something. No one lives a perfect life.
Remember that when you look at other people—they aren’t showing you the messy parts of their lives, but they have them. Look at the incredibly successful people who commit suicide.
From the outside, they have everything, but we are all dealing with something.
Number six: Practice being hopeful!
Life has many disappointments, so don’t expect so much! Don’t expect perfection because is that really realistic?
Maybe you’re experiencing the natural protectiveness of pessimism, so your expectations are so low you have no hope.
Overstretching our expectations and being so pessimistic to protect ourselves from harm and disappointment, results in us just walking around depressed. There is happy medium—hope is in the middle.
Meditation, prayer, reading inspirational books, listening to inspirational speakers can help.
I was listening to Chalene Johnson the other day and she said that she isn’t on SnapChat first thing in the morning because her priority is herself!
She picks out an inspirational thing to listen to in the morning (the night before), she isn’t on social media, checking her email, etc.
She’s fixing that space between her ears, and that is what we all have to focus on.
You do not walk around hopeful all the time, you need to work on it.
Number seven: Change your diet.
There are many foods that have been associated with negative thoughts and feelings. Removing wheat, dairy, and sugar could help.
Do it for a minimum of three days so it can work through your system and see what happens!
Bonus tip: Consider speaking with a professional or your pastor.
There is no shame in that. As humans, we are very social creatures by nature and we aren’t meant to face life alone.
Sometimes, just turning to someone in your life that you love and trust and saying, “I need help” is the most powerful step that you can take to get out of a rut.
Focus on gratitude. Wallowing cannot exist in your brain at the same time.
Change your perspective by doing something different in your routine.
Make small changes.
Get in touch with your life’s purpose through meditation, prayer, or reading.
Believe in yourself and define previous successes. If you know what you’ve overcome in the past, you know you can overcome it again.
Help other people.
Change your diet.
And, your bonus: Talk to a professional.
If you felt this was helpful and you know someone who would benefit from this, please share it with them. Smile at someone today, and remember to be positive!