How to Get Unstuck in Life
That feeling of being stuck can be simply frustrating for a day or two or it can go on much longer and become a real problem. Here is a powerful way to help you get unstuck in life.
Feeling stuck or unable to move forward can feel debilitating. It seems to feed on itself—the more stuck you feel; the less likely you are to take action. Getting unstuck may even feel impossible.
And here’s the thing. Getting unstuck isn’t just good for you–it’s good for your family and everyone else in your life. When you are living your best live, you make everyone else’s life better.
What Can Getting Unstuck Do in Your Life?
August 2021 Update: I wrote this post FIVE years ago and what a difference five years can make. When I wrote this post, I was still fairly stuck. I didn’t have a job. I was divorced. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I was not living my best life.
Fast forward to today and here is what I created in these five years and it all started with this post!
- I have a successful blog that is now a financial asset. As in, it makes good money every single month.
- I am a certified life and weight loss coach.
- I have a thriving life coaching business.
- I had two amazing romantic relationships. (not at the same time 🙂
- I have a strong and close relationship with my adult children.
- I have three grandchildren that light up my life and I am an unforgettable and awesome grandmother!
- I lost weight and have kept it off for years.
- I bought my very first car by myself! I went from a 14-year old car (talk about STUCK) to a brand new car.
- I discovered that I LOVE to hike and explore and have travelled more than I could have imagined.
- My two businesses have replaced my income from my college job that required a Master’s degree
My friends, 15 minutes a day CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
What Does Being Stuck Look Like
- You have no energy
- Lack motivation to do things
- Physical issues are holding you back
- Life feels boring
- You feel like you are missing out
The Downside of Being Stuck
At heart, we know we’re alive because we’re supposed to be doing something. We’re supposed to contribute to the world we live in.
The worst part of being stuck or not making progress is the feeling we’re letting ourselves and others down.
We know we have something inside ourselves that is just dying to get out. But sometimes we don’t know how to do it.
Last night I was talking to a dear friend who feels very stuck at the moment. I can empathize because I spent a good year or so feeling stuck after my divorce a couple of years back.
Her situation is different but that dreadful feeling is similar. Even if you are making some progress you can feel like you are swimming through mud.
The sad part of her situation is that she feels called to do something. And she’s not doing it, year after year.
Not only does she feel bad; the world is missing out on a unique contribution that only she can make.
During and after my divorce, I felt like I was in a fog and unable to get anything done.
Yet, I did manage to make progress and learned that it is possible, even during trying circumstances to not only get unstuck but to make actual headway on significant goals.
It’s not always fun! But in the end, it made a difference in my life, changed my beliefs about what I could accomplish, and ultimately gave me a process that I use even now.
How to Get Unstuck in Life
Sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference. Trying a new way of doing things can help budge you from feeling stuck to feeling like you have a life that matters.
To get you started, I’m sharing a process that worked for me at my lowest point in my life.
Because it worked so well, I continue to use it whenever I feel stuck with a project or something I have put off for a while.
Step One: Be kind to yourself
First of all, be kind to yourself. This is just a period of time in your life.
I suspect that these times help gestate ideas and purpose. Who knows, maybe you just really need a rest?
I got frustrated with myself sometimes because I felt like I would never recover or be of any use again.
Feeling stuck and unable to progress might mean that maybe, just maybe you need a rest! I think my spirit was worn out from pleasing people for the last thirty years. Maybe I needed to withdraw and rest my spirit for a time?
Instead of trying to shame yourself or beat yourself up, give yourself some COMPASSION. Talk to yourself nicely.
I am serious about that. The first way we sabotage ourselves is by how we talk to ourselves. Some of the ways we talk to ourselves are so ingrained that they feel natural and helpful.
But they are so dangerous. Your self-talk may be a major reason why you feel stuck!
Step Two: Pick something to do
Just pick one or two to get started. Pick the one that seems easiest. Or pick the one that seems most important. Or pick the one that just seems like the right one. No matter what you decide on, the process is the same.
You really can use this for almost anything you want to accomplish. I like picking one thing at a time because you can really see progress and also see why you usually don’t get things done.
Whatever you decide to start with is fine. The skills and habits you practice, will work for anything.
You’ll get all the benefits by going through this process with ANY thing you choose and commit to.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Exercise or walking
- Writing your book
- Writing a blog post
- Doing paperwork or taxes
- Cleaning out a closet, cabinet, or a drawer
- Sewing or another craft
- Planning your meals for the day
Step Three: Commit to 15 minutes a day
Commit to starting it. Here’s the trick: commit to a very tiny block of time, each and every day.
Set a timer and work on it every day for fifteen minutes. There may be days you end up doing more but don’t make that your goal. Your only goal is to do your fifteen minutes.
To be honest, I still use this method. Almost every blog post I write hits a time when I just don’t quite know where to take it.
When I feel stuck, I just set a timer on that day and write anyway. I often exercise in smaller chunks because that allows me to not stress too much about it and just get it done.
At first, it might feel like it’s not enough time invested to make any progress. That is just a LIE your brain is telling you. It’s not true. You will make progress and you’ll gain momentum!
It’s common to think that if you can’t devote big periods of time to something that it’s not worth doing. That is simply not true!!!! Here’s what results in not making progress–not doing anything.
It’s so funny, our brains want us to believe that not doing anything is better than doing just a little. Your brain will try to convince you that you have to spend lots of time to make progress.
You may end up spending a lot of time–but you don’t have to do it all in one day.
Consistent, everyday attention to one project does work—even when you don’t feel like doing it.
Step Four: Don’t Wait for Motivation or Energy
Take “feeling motivated” out of the equation and just show up, set your timer, and do what you can in the period of time. Do this every day. Or at least five days a week.
Put the time you are going to do it on your device calendars. This creates time and accountability, plus you get a reminder every day.
Some days it will feel better than others.
One mistake that those who don’t get things done is that they wait to feel motivated to do something. Here’s some good news! You don’t have to feel motivated or inspired to do good work and get things done.
The real secret to accomplishment and getting unstuck is working whether you “feel like it” or not. You just set the timer and do it.
It might sound simple but it is a game-changer.
Step five: Celebrate your progress
Find ways to celebrate your progress! You show up and do your fifteen minutes. Take a few seconds and feel gratitude for yourself.
Remind yourself that this is important and that every minute you spend on this makes a difference.
At the end of the week, look back over what you’ve done. Again take time to acknowledge this new habit you are creating.
If you are tempted to tell yourself it is no big deal, tell yourself that it IS a really big deal. You are doing something for you and it won’t always feel easy. But you showed up for yourself! That is a HUGE deal my friend!
Your future self will thank you!
When It’s Time to Get Unstuck
No matter how you feel, there is probably one thing that you’d like to be working on or doing.
That’s the thing that is always whispering in your ear that really, you need to be working on this. And no matter how many times you brush it off or try to ignore it, it doesn’t quite go away.
Or maybe it’s staring you in the face every day, demanding that you do something.
This can be anything! It could be walking every day. Doing your taxes. Writing. Painting the living room. Cleaning your closet. It could be several things.
My Story of Being Stuck Big Time
During my divorce, I decided to start work on a resume writing certification. As a career advisor, I had been writing resumes for eight years and I was ready to take my skills to a new level.
For some reason, I picked the most rigorous, challenging resume writing certification process. It was the one that felt right. The only problem was, about half way through, as it was getting really difficult, I got stuck. I was floundering with one of the assignments.
What I started doing was setting my timer every day for 15 minutes and working on my project. Every day.
For a while, it seemed like I was getting nowhere. However, after many days of this, my project did start taking shape, and I became less stuck. I continued with this method as needed for the completion of my certification.
Not only did I complete my certification but the assignments I turned in, passed on the first try, which was unusual for this particular course.
Being stuck and using this process to get unstuck does not result in sloppy or crappy work. Not only will you make progress but you can still do quality work that you will be proud of!
Now, what is that thing you want to get done?
How to Get Unstuck in Life
How to get unstuck in life is NOT about how you feel every day.
It is about creating a new feeling, the feeling of accomplishing things in your life.
How to get unstuck in life is about showing up and doing something every day. Whether your goal or project is something you want to do or something you have to do, these steps will get you there.
Keep showing up my friends! I love reading your comments and hearing how you are living your own Think Big Life. Please feel free to join the conversation below.
Writing this blog has been a huge part of getting unstuck for me.
Through consistent daily commitment, I have written about so many things that are important to me and because of this, I have had to be accountable for living my life authentically.
Feeling stuck in life feels painful. However, it does not have to be a chronic or terminal feeling.
You can get unstuck and begin creating a life you love. Today.
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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.
Thank you Sara. Talk about perfect timing. I have just been through a terribly frustrating 15 minutes and decided to come rest on my bed and distract myself with Pinterest. Your pin was among the first I looked at and I just felt like this was the answer I needed in that terribly frustrating angry episode I was having (a meltdown is more like it). I AM SOOOOO STUCK. This is exactly what I am committing to doing from this day forth. I cannot thank you enough. Blessings to you Sara.
I love this! Those 15 minutes are so valuable and can make all the difference!
Great advice. I am stuck! I wake up most mornings ready to take the world but it never happens. As a result life has piled up all around me and I have so many things that I have to do but they are not getting done. Off now to set my timer for fifteen minutes and do something!!!
It really does work! And 15 minutes actually feels great.
I love this! This is what I did to get unstuck when it came to self care around 6 littles. Baby steps. 15 minutes of easy yoga to start. REMEMBERING to take vitamins every day. Lol. Now 18 months later I’m taking time every week for face masks and nail stickers!
This post has inspired me on how to focus my work days when it comes to building my blog. Thank you for sharing your story!
I’m glad it helped! Good luck on the blog–consistent steps over time is the secret.
I am stuck. I’m going through a divorce and I gave up my career.
I have been in my bed for about a year or so. Everyone says get over it.
I am lost and I would like to move out of my bedroom.
You will! You are healing a huge grief. Start taking small steps and it will happen.
I write as a hobby and recently started working on a story that I started 3yrs ago! At first my goal was 5k but now it’s 10k and as a writer I often get stuck all the time.(aka writers block) My grandfather has a lake in the neighborhood and I usually just go their I find it helpful to be able to relax near water.
What you’ve said has given me some hope.
I’ve recently discovered that the man who I thought was my best friend, my real love, would prefer to be intimate with prostitutes than me.
At 52, my life needs to start over and feeling stuck is an understatement!
Thank you. I was meant to find you today.
[…] at the difference that setting the intent to learn something and not quitting until I do, makes. Sometimes something I’ve struggled with for weeks will suddenly become clear very quickly after declaring my commitment to […]
Thank you so much for this great advice. I’ve felt stuck for almost 2 years now and desperately need to move forward in 2018. Rather than showing up and doing small things, I have allowed my feelings to paralyze me and nothing has gotten done. I appreciate your tips. I am considering starting a lifestyle blog to get all this stuff out of my head. I cannot possibly be the only person who feels this way and desires positive momentum in life. Be blessed.
Hi Nicole. Thanks for the note! Little things done consistently really do add up. I started my blog with anything but a Think Big Life. It helped me articulate all the stuff I really did know and could share. I say go for it!
Thanks Sara – really good to get a starting point – the timer tip is very positive.
The timer is my secret weapon for getting things done. It really does work great!
[…] How to Get Unstuck in Life from My Think Big Life. Because every one needs to get unstuck once in a while. That’s especially true for me after a long winter! […]
A simple and easy to way to get you started.
Thank you for sharing it with us.?
Such good advice. Starting is the hardest thing, and the thought of having to commit to only 15 minutes makes anything doable.
Thanks Kate! I always seem to have to sneak things through my resistance.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I shall start setting my timer everyday! I can’t wait to start. Many blessings.☺
Sandra–I swear by it. Though, I sometimes forget about it. But it really does help. Wish you all the best. Sara
Sara, thanks for the article, it’s been almost eleven months and nothings really working…I don’t know what to do…i am try your timer idea…thanks once again……….
I hope it helps. It’s been a lifesaver for me. Progress made slowly is still progress!
This is something I should start doing, I have a few things I want to spend a bit of time on each day, setting a timer sounds like a good option. Thanks!
It really is a great option to get things moving. Even a small amount of time, as long as it’s consistent, will add up and allow you to accomplish things that are important to you.
Wow it is crazy the day I had I a bad dream about my divorce I happen to see this. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much this helped me out so much, I actually started tearing up, thank you so much for helping me out.
Rosie, I am so glad it helped you! Going through a divorce is absolutely the worst–no matter why. Always, be kind to yourself and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
I really enjoyed your article. As I have been stuck for months.
I plan on trying your idea of setting a timer. Here is hoping it works??
Hi SuzAnne, I hope it works too! I honestly find that any small effort, made consistently will get me unstuck. It might not feel like it at first but eventually those tiny efforts add up and gain some momentum. Sending good thoughts your way!
This was amazing read, definitely something to start working on.
Your steps to getting unstuck comforted me in so many ways. Just to know that this is pretty normal a year or two after a divorce. You also simplify it by acknowledging 15 min is progress. Thanks for the hope!
Tiffany, thanks for writing–I’m glad it helped. Divorce is a huge life change and people who have not gone through it, really don’t know how much it hurts. You’ve got this!
I really needed this. Thank you so much!
Christy, I’m so happy it helped!
I am a big fan of committing 15 minute everyday to self-improvement. I find myself trying to tackle massive projects all at once, but the idea of spending a small, set amount of time each day to one or two would be much more productive, and easier to work into my life at a full-time rate. Love this post!
Thanks Sara! Sometimes when I have TOO many ideas coming at me at once, it helps if I assign 15 or 20 minutes to each one. And massive projects, yeah, I definitely have to start small to get those going.
I will surely try this 15 min. timer thing and I will share this with my coachees. Thank you!
Hi Jeannette. Thanks for the comment. Small incremental actions really work if done consistently. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me!
Great advice. I’m currently stuck and I know the answer is writing a list (for me) and committing to that block of time each day. It’s hard, but I have to start somewhere.
Start as small as you need to start easily! I find it’s more about consistency rather than making big chunks of time.
Thanks for visiting.
[…] Sara writes about how to get unstuck in life! […]
WOW! This has been one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject of getting unstuck. Most of them are so long and drawn out, with so many complicated steps that you’re discouraged before you ever start.
This one has given me the notion that there is hope…even for someone like me. Thank you.
Dian, there is hope, especially if you have the intention to get unstuck. It all starts with hope, belief, and intention. And I’m with you on getting frustrated with complicated processes! Thanks for reading and commenting.
I so agree with what you have said here. Sometimes we simply need to do SOMETHING. It can often feel like we aren’t moving when changing our focus is what we need.
Hi Sheryl. It’s so much easier to wait for motivation or inspiration. But it’s in the doing something that we sometimes find our motivation or inspiration.
This is very true! Baby steps are all it takes. I’ve been there before. It’s not a good feeling, but it’s definitely not a permanent place.
I hear you Summer! I’ve accomplished a lot in my life with baby steps.