Thursday, July 16, 2015

Getting Unstuck

Something's different.  Something doesn't feel quite right.  You may have noticed it creeping in bit by bit, or it may have hit you all of a sudden.  It could center on one segment of your life, like a "tired" marriage.  Or it could include a few--your boring job, distant friends, and spiritual crisis.  You may even yearn for a total life transformation; a clean slate.  You feel this incredible need to change, but you don't quite know how to go about it.  You're not even sure what you want.  You're stuck.  So, how can you get unstuck?  Let's take a look at some questions you can ask in order to pull yourself out of the muck and live a more satisfying life.

Why do you feel the way you do?

Find a quiet place to study your feelings.  Where did they come from?  When did you first notice them?  Were they sparked by a person's comment, a song, something you read? Getting to the source of your feelings can help you start to figure out what you need to do to ease your mind.  For example, you find yourself increasingly agitated and unable to concentrate and look back to when it started.  You may link it to an article you read on the Internet about a study reporting that a medication you are on has been found to cause cancer.  That's enough to make you agitated for sure.

What is your goal?

Choose deeply personal goals and think about why they mean so much to you.  Say you want to lose weight.  Decide why you want to.  Is it because you want to control your diabetes, or do you want to be able to have the energy to play with your grandchildren?  Those are solid reasons to lose weight.  On the other hand, setting such a goal because your spouse thinks you should isn't going to provide as much incentive to stick to the healthy eating and exercise plan needed to reach your goal.  Healthy weight loss doesn't happen overnight.  It takes time, commitment, and patience.  So, if your goal is to lose weight, dig down deep to find that solid reason why you want it to happen.

How will you feel when you achieve your goal?

Imagine how it will feel to reach your goal.  Again, let's use the weight loss example.  Imagine how you will feel when you hit your weight loss goal.  Whether you want to lose 10 or 100 pounds, imagine how you'll look and feel once the weight comes off.  Imagine how you will feel when your clothes fit loosely and you no longer get out of breath walking up and down stairs.  How will your life be different?  Looking ahead to when you've accomplished your goals can help you stay motivated to actually make it happen.

Who can help you accomplish your goal?

Sometimes you can get stuck in life because you don't feel you have anyone to help you out of your rut.  If, for example, you want to change careers but need additional education to do so.  You may be paralyzed by the fear of striking out into new territory, or you may not think it's financially possible to pay for the necessary degree.  If making this change is important to you, you need to take action.  Find out from colleges and universities in your area and online if you qualify for financial aid.  Also, talk to your family to see if anyone would be willing to help you out with the costs you'll incur, or even provide babysitting for your kids while you attend classes so you don't have to pay for expensive daycare.  If you do borrow money from friends or family, however, make sure you discuss when the money will be repaid to avoid any misunderstandings.  You can also look into getting a low interest loan.  There is a solution for whatever is making you feel stuck.  Reach out to those around you and let them help you find that solution.

What steps can you take to achieve your goal?

It can be pretty daunting to look at the big picture.  Instead, break things down into smaller steps so they seem more managable.  For example, if you would love to start your own business but feel overwhelmed by all that entails, break things down.  Make a schedule of what needs to be done on each day.  You'll want to start by checking into how much money you'll need, permit requirements, office space, and business loans.  You'll also have to get office equipment and a website, possibly hire staff, and advertise your business.  Take your time, learn the ropes from a mentor, get advice from other professionals you respect, be smart about managing your finances, and you'll reach your goal as a successful business owner.

What or who is standing in the way of accomplishing your goals?  How will you knock down those road blocks?

If you have difficulty standing for long periods of time or have a lot of doctor's appointments, you may think you'll have a hard time finding a suitable job, so why bother. What should you do?  Discuss the issue with your caseworker if you have one. When you go to interviews be straight forward and let the interviewer know that you need to be able to sit down for work, or at least take frequent breaks.  Also, be honest about the times you may have to miss work.  There's a possibility your supervisor can work with a temp service to cover for you in the event that you need to miss work for surgery or lengthy illness.  It won't hurt to inquire.  Another option is working from home.  There are plenty of opportunities for stay-at-home workers.  You may even be able to work remotely (from home) for local companies.  Check with your area job service or online job sites such as, and  Make sure you research the validity and reputation of the various websites and employers before taking any jobs online. 

What tools do you currently have in order to accomplish your goals?

It is important, when you're stuck, to take note of the resources you have available to help you break out of your rut and meet your goals.  For example, if you are experiencing a spiritual crisis, you may want to talk with someone from your local house of worship, either a fellow member or the pastor or rabbi.  Or family and friends.  You may also search for a plethora of books and videos on the subject.  Also, consider listening to your heart.  Find a quiet place to sit and think about what you truly believe.  Are you religious?  Do you consider yourself more spiritual than religious?  Do you feel the need to worship with other members of your faith at a church or synagogue, or would you rather speak to your Higher Power amongst trees and rivers and wildlife?  Are you disillusioned by your current faith?  Are you curious about another faith?  Explore those avenues and see which one feels the most authentic to you.  

What tools do you need in order to reach your goals?

Let's go back to the example of starting a business.  You've got your financing, your office, your staff, your business cards, your website, your office equipment, your insurance.  What else do you need?  Do you have a reliable car to use for the commute to and from work?  If you have children, have you arranged for reliable daycare?  Have you bought suitable work attire?  Have you looked into networking events to get your name out there?  And don't forget to work on your confidence.  Be confident that you will succeed.  Take charge of this opportunity you've dreamed of for so long and know that you can make it in business, doing what you love to do.

What's your deadline?

What is your deadline for meeting your goals?  This is a very important question.  You need a deadline to remain accountable and stay on track toward your goals.  Say it's January and you want to start college in August.  You're married with a family and will need a reliable vehicle to make the commute to school.  The cost of tuition and books will drain your savings account.  It's time to start putting away some cash toward that new car.  It doesn't have to be brand new, but it has to be a good one.  The same goes for anything you truly want to accomplish--you need to set a time by which you will hit your mark, lose that weight, pay off debt, learn to drive, make partner at the firm, get your first apartment, make a profit from your business.


  • Do what makes your heart sing, both in your personal and professional life. 
  • Surround yourself with positive people who support your goals and celebrate little victories on the road to making those ultimate goals reality.
  • Your journey toward your goals could be a smooth one or a rocky one, or a mixture of both.  Be patient and persistant.  Don't let the rough times get you down.
  • Your goals may change along the way.  That's okay.  Go with your gut and do what feels right to you at the time.
  • Are you stuck or just in transition?  Ask this question before making any major life changes.

When it comes right down to it, getting unstuck is up to you.  Yes, you can seek help but the bulk of the work is yours.  You must commit to making your life as fulfilling, rewarding, and exciting as it can be.  Nobody else can do that for you.

Are you stuck?  I'd like to hear from you.  Email me at or post a comment below.  

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