As a coach, one of the most common frustrations I hear from individuals is that they feel stuck. No matter how driven or motivated we are, each of us goes through cycles in our lives when we are stuck in a rut. It can be compared to being on a treadmill—working hard but not getting anywhere. As busy as our lives may be, we’re not making much progress. We feel a lack of balance, enthusiasm or inspiration in one or more areas of our lives.
Like most writers, I occasionally experience writer’s block, when my thoughts and words are just not flowing. Typically, it occurs as I’m nearing the end of a project such as writing a book. Rather than panicking, I have come to accept the fact that it is inevitable to have periods of creative slow down. When these experiences occur, I’m not hard on myself because I believe that it will pass. My solution to writers block is to take a mental break. By taking time off from the project, I can clear my mind which helps to regain greater insight and clarity.
Multiple areas of your life are happening concurrently. In each of these areas there is something you are seeking to accomplish. You may feel stuck in one or more areas at the same time. Conversely, there may be only one facet of your life in which you’re lacking, causing it to become your over-riding focus. Negative emotions can create panic, frustration or feelings of hopelessness. They typically spring up as you lack the direction or drive required to get unstuck.
Getting unstuck doesn’t have to be a difficult process, but it does require motivation. The motivation has to come from within you. You may have to muster the will to break bad habits and weaknesses that keep you stuck, such as excuses, procrastination and slothfulness.
Here are 10 practices you can use to help break out of a rut and begin living a more fulfilling life:
1. Change Your attitude. Reading self-help books and listening to motivational speeches will not lift you out of your rut. These resources might inspire you temporarily, but sustained motivation comes from within. If you’re going to reclaim your life you must believe in your ability to successfully overcome the momentary stall. Bring your thoughts, feelings and behavior into alignment.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or not energetic, shift your attitude from the negative to believing that you will get through it. A winning attitude will help you see clearly where you want to go and soon your feelings and behavior will follow.
2. The Buck Stops Here. Your outcome is not limited by your past mistakes or what people may have done to you. Take your life back. Don’t allow bad breaks or setbacks cause you to give up on pursuing your future goals and aspirations. Taking responsibility for changing your life will empower you to break free from that rut. The only person who can stop you from getting unstuck is you. Re-align your focus. Refuse to complain or play the blame game.
3. Change your circle of influence. Show me who your friends are and I’ll show you your future. Your friends are a reflection of who you are and where you’re headed. When you closely associate with negative people, their negative energy rubs off on you.
If you are stuck, look around and take an assessment of the company you keep. Are you surrounded by positive, goal-oriented, energetic people? Associate with people who support your beliefs and values. Distance yourself from unproductive relationships that drain your energy and prevent you from stepping up to the next level.
4. Be accountable to someone. Being accountable to someone will not only help you to break free from your rut, but it can keep you from getting stuck in the first place. It’s not enough to just set an intention, you also need to declare your commitment to someone you can trust to help hold you accountable. It could be a friend, mentor or hired professional such as a coach.
An accountability partner will help you stick to your goal through to a successful completion. When your choices and behavior are not in your best interest, your accountability partner can call you to task. Accountability and success go hand-in-hand. Being accountable will cause you to take control of your life, stop making excuses and create your own environment for success.
5. Change your routine. In order to stay motivated it is often necessary to change your routine. Even your most pleasurable activities can become dull when there’s no break from the routine. Your pleasant surroundings can seem like a prison if you don’t periodically break away from them. We require variety and change in order for our lives to thrive. No matter how satisfying the rut may be, it can get old and stale after a while.
If your daily routine is to wake up, get ready for work, go to work, come home, go to bed, wake up… your life will become boring and unmotivated. You can add variety to your life by making simple changes such as taking a different route to work, trying a new hairstyle, eating at a different restaurant or re-arranging the furniture.
Putting variety back into your life is much easier than you might think. Simply adding a bit of variation to your everyday activities can be like a breath of fresh air.
6. Take a small step forward. As the old adage goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. An important key to getting unstuck is to take a step forward. However small, any progress is better than none at all. Taking action creates progress for success. Perform a task every day to keep your forward momentum.
Even if your goal looks like a giant from your vantage point, with deliberate, successive blows, you can conquer it. How do you eat an elephant? You got it—one bite at a time!
7. Change your inner dialogue. Our minds can be a cesspool for stinking thinking. We can get bombarded by unwelcome thoughts from internal and external forces. If we’re not careful, we can talk ourselves out of health, happiness and success based on what we allow to take root in our minds. Anytime you entertain thoughts of fear and doubt your forward progress will stall.
Turn down the volume on the voices of fear and self-doubt that are trying to hold you back. Recognize where the voices are coming from. Fear and doubt are enemies of the soul that stand between your present and future. They are imagination based. Fear is a feeling, not a fact. Most of the time we imagine the worst will happen, but usually it does not.
8. Do something else. Being stuck in a rut could be an indication that it’s time for something new. You could simply have a classic case of boredom or it may be time to consider making a major life change. If your life is at a low point, rather than becoming withdrawn, get involved in social activities. Join a fitness class, networking group, church outing, hobby, sport or other activities that will give you social contact.
If you sense that what you’re feeling is a nudge to make a life-altering transition, then follow your intuition. When something resonates strongly within your spirit, don’t just ignore it. Meditate on it. Test the waters by exploring the possibility. If your intuition intensifies, then take an additional step, and so on.
9. Give your life balance. Hard work may be one of the key ingredients to success, but we must fold recreation and relaxation in the mix. We need to take time to enjoy life and revitalize ourselves. If you take life too seriously, you can end up with burn-out and fatigue. Scheduled down time relaxes your mind, body and spirit. It is during these times that your mind is free to dream and imagine. You become more creative and resourceful when your mind is free from the daily cares of life.
10. Recognize the signs. By identifying these characteristics early you can take charge before getting stuck in a rut. Stay in touch with your feelings and behavior and take note of how aligned they are with your desires and aspirations. Notice how responsive you are in stressful situations, when tempted, feeling angry or bored. The earlier you recognize these characteristics, the more likely you are to resist getting stuck.
Regardless of what has your life stuck, use these 10 practices to get unstuck and get on with your life!
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**As an entrepreneur, author, speaker and coach, my mission is to provide expert solutions to people all across the nation and internationally. I collaborate with individuals and entrepreneurs to confront their challenges and achieve transformative results. To receive a complimentary download of, "Ten Fundamental Truths You Must Believe to Manifest Your Dream!" visit http://www.rebecca-mcclain.com