If you’re feeling stuck, it’s a great time for self-inquiry.
Have you ever experienced a time where you were feeling stuck, frustrated and dissatisfied with the current state of your life? When you knew something needed to change, but you’re just weren’t sure what?
We all go through phases where we feel stuck. Sometimes it’s because we’re caught up in analysis paralysis, trying to figure out the “right” answer. Other times, it’s because we honestly don’t know what to do to move ourselves forward. In some cases, we may know what to do, but we’re too debilitated by fear to take any action.
Maybe we’re simply so overwhelmed with the current state of our lives (Work! Bills! Family obligations!) that we can’t even be bothered to think about how to get ourselves unstuck, so we just continue on our path, however unsatisfying.
This becomes even more frustrating, because by doing nothing, nothing changes.
Ask yourself these questions when you’re feeling stuck
1. In what specific area am I feeling stuck?
Think about the specific aspect of your life where you’re feeling stuck. Sometimes the feeling can be overwhelming, and it seems like everything is going wrong. But if you had to narrow it down, where do you feel things are the most frustrating? Where are you the most blocked? What part of your life would you most like to change? It could be your career, your finances, your relationship, etc.
2. What is it that I want most right now?
Ask yourself what it is that you truly want most. Get really specific. If there were no bounds or limits, what exactly would you want your life to look like in this area? Note: If you feel stuck on this question, it’s probably because you aren’t allowing yourself to truly envision the big picture of what it is you want. Imagine there are no downsides and no limits, you could have anything. What would you come up with?
3. Why do I want this?
Imagine actually receiving and experiencing the change you most want to see. Tap into the emotional level of what achieving this new state would mean. Why do you want this? How much do you want it? Why is this so important to you?
4. What do I hope it will bring me?
We all have imagined the outcomes that new things or experiences will bring us. We want the new job because we expect it will come with a larger salary and more comfortable life. We want a new relationship because we want to be in a partnership and feel loved. If you got what you wanted, what do you expect will come along with it? How do you expect to feel when you get it?
5. What’s standing in my way?
Now that you have a clear picture of what it is you want, it’s time to get honest with yourself. What do you see as obstacles? This includes external limits like family obligations and work hours, and internal limitations such as thoughts like, “I don’t deserve this,” or “I won’t be any good at this, so why try.” List all of them, both external and internal.
6. Which of these obstacles do I know to be 100% true?
Now that you have your list of obstacles, ask yourself, how true are they? Are they facts or are they assumptions? What are you assuming of each of those obstacles? When you start questioning which are actually true, without a doubt, your list may whittle down. (While these mental blocks still require the work of dealing with them, you can now call them out for what they actually are: real or assumed.)
7. How can I reframe things to better support myself?
You probably realized that there are some obstacles on your list that you can deal with, and some that are more deeply held beliefs. Awareness of a limiting belief is the first step to changing it. If the message you’ve been telling yourself is not serving you, how can you reframe it into an affirmation or mantra that can help you? For example, the thought that “I won’t be any good at this, so why try,” can become “I will never know until I try, and I make the commitment to trying.” Rewrite your limiting beliefs into new messages that you can use to support yourself in the journey to get what you want.
8. Who can help me?
If you have gone through these exercises, and still feel frustrated, stuck, or like you just aren’t able to see the path on your own, try reaching out to a trusted friend or coach. Having a separate, unbiased, third-party perspective can help you see things for what they are and can open your mind to another way of thinking. Working with a professional certified coach can help you to move past your barriers and define your own personal path to success.
9. What is one step today I can take to move forward?
It can feel overwhelming to do all of the inner work. You might feel exhausted and want to stop there. But dealing with your thoughts and taking action is the only way to truly get out of being stuck. What is one thing you can do today (however big or small) to help move yourself in the direction you desire?
If you go through this process, and still feel stuck or unclear, take your time and be patient with yourself. But remember, that clarity comes from engagement, not thought.
So once you have identified what it is you want, where you’re stuck, and how you can reframe things to better support you, choose an action that moves you forward. Action builds momentum, brings clarity, and provides the impetus necessary to move you forward in a new direction.
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