Feeling stuck lately? A lot of us are. But is it really fair to blame it all on the pandemic? Well, not exactly. Granted, this virus situation has made life a whole lot harder for many of us, but our true issues lie much deeper and far precede these pandemic times. The following are eight habits that might be keeping you stuck, unhappy, and unfulfilled as well as some tips on how to turn things around for the better.
1. What You’re Focusing On
This is by far the most important point, thus the number one status. Why? Because our thoughts become our reality. What do you spend most of your time thinking about? If you’re like a lot of people, you likely spend more time thinking about problems and concerns rather than solutions or opportunities.
If all you’re thinking about is what’s wrong in your life; what you don’t have; what you failed at; the people who wronged you; the problems you’re currently dealing with; how do you expect this energy to translate into your physical reality? Negatively, that's how.
Yes, we all have problems and more than a few reasons to be complaining. But you know what else we have? Free will. That means we can choose what we focus on, what we are thinking about, where our mental energy goes. If that’s not empowering I don’t know what is. So, please, do your future self a favor and stop thinking negative thoughts, focusing on the difficult, the bad, the unfair.
Instead, every time you catch yourself thinking this way, ask yourself: “Is the energy associated with this thought something I welcome into my reality?” If not, then consciously make the choice to shift your focus to something lighter and more positive. Over time, this will get easier, and you’ll notice a real shift in your overall mood, attitude, and outlook on life.
2. Shifting the Blame
“It’s because of the pandemic.” “If only he/she would change, things would finally get better.” “If only my boss could see how much work I’m putting in.”
Blah, blah, blah. Just stop. You may think that shifting the blame for your own problems to others may feel liberating or that it takes the pressure off of you but, what you’re really doing, is giving your power away.
If you are allowing your circumstances to be dictated by the behavior of others or by external influences, you have no power at all. There goes your free will. Out the window. Please don’t do this. Yes, your circumstances might have become more difficult due to another person or situation, but focusing on the seeming injustice of it all and assigning blame isn’t going to get you feeling much better.
Instead, take back your power and understand that you are responsible for the choices you make in life — choices that can make your experience even more depressing or much more positive. Don’t get stuck by blaming your circumstances on external factors. You are the author and designer of your own life; don’t ever give that position of authority away.
3. Unhealthy Attachment To the Known
You’ve definitely heard this one before: get out of your comfort zone. Why? Because that’s where real growth can happen. If you feel stuck, a likely reason could be because you’ve been in the same environment doing the same things for too long. Ask yourself today, are you too attached to what is known? To what is comfortable? To the done and proven? If the answer is yes and you’re currently feeling stuck in life, you might want to consider trying something new.
It could be as small as trying out a new sport or as significant as getting a part-time job in a different industry. Get a piece of paper, write down some new things you’d like to try if you had no fear and all the confidence in the world. Then ask yourself: What’s the worst that could happen? The answer is usually not nearly as scary as we think.
4. A ‘Maybe Later’ Attitude
Do you feel stuck because you’re an over-procrastinator? Or maybe just too afraid of taking decisive action now? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking: “Well, maybe in a few years I’ll try that out,” or “Once I get a college degree/a higher paying job,” or “After I’ve become an expert in the field.” We never know what life will have in store for us so we can’t simply assume we’ll be around in five years, one year, heck, even tomorrow isn't guaranteed! That’s why it’s so crucial to take action on your goals and dreams now and stop putting them off any longer.
Always wondered what it would be like to own a baking business? Now’s the time to try it out. Have you spent years dreaming about starting a YouTube channel but always talked yourself out of it? Why not test out that idea now? In fact, I think I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve been interested in writing since I was sixteen. I always knew I had a talent for it plus it was something I was passionate about. Yet it’s only now, six years later, that I’m finally taking action and cutting that ‘maybe later’ crap. Instead of blaming the pandemic, I’m actually grateful for the time it has given me to truly reflect on what kind of life I want to be living.
This is actually my first article on this platform and I couldn’t think of a more fitting topic to write about to help others who are where I was until recently. It’s scary, yes. Uncertainty? Definitely going to feel that too. Still, I’d rather feel some fear now than a pit of regret in thirty years.
There’s no better moment than the present. I guarantee you you’ll feel less stuck the moment you start taking action towards the things you truly want to bring into your life.
5. Selling Yourself Short
This is another rampant issue plaguing society today. “Oh, I don’t have any special talents,” “I don’t have anything of value to offer,” or, simply put: “I suck at everything.” Hmm, really? I don’t think so.
If you were completely useless with zero talent you wouldn't have been born. The fact that you’re here today, on this planet, means you have something of value to offer others. All you have to do is find it, develop it, own it, and share your talent with those who need it.
What comes easy to you? What do others struggle with that you see as rather simple? What do others compliment you on? Is there something others are doing that maybe you could do even better? Take some quiet time with a notebook and pen, and I assure you at least ONE thing will come up.
6. Not Investing in Your Own Growth
All those lattes you buy every day at Starbucks? The money you spent on the clothing you do not need? The cash you spend every other week getting your nails done? Or all the food you impulsively order on the weekends? Ask yourself, is that really the best way you could be spending your hard-earned income? Are you spending your resources wisely?
Of course, the amount of disposable income and time each of us has varies greatly, but that’s not the point. The point is to ask yourself if you could be investing more of these valuable resources into yourself rather than in things that won’t have a long-term beneficial impact on your self-development. Whether it’s an expensive coaching course or a monthly membership at your neighborhood gym, take a moment to reflect on whether you feel stuck because you’re not growing enough. Maybe it’s time to start using your resources more wisely.
7. Living in the Past
Maybe you feel stuck because you’re actually stuck in the past. Are you holding any grudges? Still thinking about that disappointment that happened years ago? Are you still reliving that time you failed at X? Well, then it’s going to be quite hard to feel free in the present moment, right?
If it’s a person you’re stuck on, forgive them, let them go. Don’t do it for them, do it for yourself. If it’s a past disappointment or failure, see what lessons you can learn from it and move on. If you’re sick of feeling stuck then you have to drop all the past baggage you’ve been carrying. Once you do this you make space for new opportunities, new people, new ideas, and new beginnings.
8. Lacking a Grounding Practice
A lot of us are so busy every day, practically living life on auto-pilot. This doesn’t give us the opportunity to take a birds-eye view of our lives and really assess whether we’re going in the right direction; if we’re happy, fulfilled, or not. This is why it’s so crucial to have grounding practices that can help us cancel out all the noise, gain clarity, come back to the present moment, and feel less stuck.
There are many options when it comes to finding a suitable grounding practice. For example, you can try the more traditional practices like meditation, prayer, nature walks, or yoga. But, I get it, not everyone is into that kind of stuff. So what else is there?
Any kind of creative practice like journaling, painting, crafting, singing, dancing, and the like can be very helpful in gaining mental clarity and releasing stress. Traditional forms of exercise like running or swimming are also great options. Finally, the easiest practice of all: breathing. This can be done anywhere, anytime, and requires very little effort. Just try it out.
The point is to find some time every day to come back to the present moment, stop obsessing about our daily activities, and to simply be. It’s not rocket science, it’s just taking a short break for your mind. A cluttered mind can’t translate into a fulfilling, happy, productive life. So next time you feel stuck, why not take a break?
These are uncertain times we live in. A lot of us are confused, stressed, and worried about the future. But living with an anxious, negative mindset is only going to keep us stuck and unhappy. If we want to get un-stuck we need to start making some changes, pronto. See if you can try correcting these habits over the course of the next month. You’ll be surprised as to how quickly your life can change once you start doing the inner work. If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s how quickly life can change. So, how long are you going to wait to start living the life you’ve always wanted?
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