What to do when you’re stuck

There have been times in my life when getting out of bed and checking my email seemed intimidating.

Sometimes momentum just comes to a halt.

If your motivation, your enthusiasm, or your vivacity has dwindled, the problem is that you’re stuck. Your routines and habits are no longer working for you.

What you need is a jump-start to get back on track. The trick is to change your thoughts and your behaviors just  bit to get you back on track. Here are the techniques that work for me. Most of them only take a few minutes. Try one or two to get yourself unstuck.

Exercise: personally, I’m a runner, but even just a few push-ups, 10 minutes of yoga, or a brisk walk will boost your energy levels and help you get unstuck.

Create a gratuity list: with pen and paper create a list of the things in life that you’re grateful for. Don’t stop until you’ve written down at least 20 items. This will shift your focus from the blahh to the awesome and help you get going in a new direction.

Remind yourself of your intention: why are you doing what you’re doing? If the process sucks (and let’s be honest, sometimes the process sucks) remind yourself of the outcome you’re working towards to push yourself in the right direction.

Do something spontaneous: this is my favorite approach to getting unstuck. Watch a foreign film without the subtitles, call in sick and spend the day playing with animals at the SPCA, go crash a lecture at the local college, use a new route to get to work and stop at the first cool thing you pass, serve lunch at the soup kitchen, just do something – anything really – to disrupt the pattern of being stuck and refresh your routine.

Take a vacation: Vacations do two things. One, they refresh you. That’s the obvious part. The more subtle part though is that they also force you to tie up loose ends before you get on the jet and further helping you get unstuck.

Pick a place you love, a place you’ve always wanted to go, or a person you adore but haven’t seen in a while, and go. Just hop in the car, but a train ticket, or get on the jet and go. Nothing is really holding you back besides you.

Meditate: sometimes all it takes is an intentional pause to put things back in perspective. Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes for two minutes and focusing on your breath.

It’s no fun to be stuck. Getting unstuck is your responsibility though – it wont happen automatically. Don’t complain. Don’t feel bad for yourself. Just realize that you’re stuck, remind yourself that it happens to everyone, and make a change. If you find yourself chronically stuck, then you probably will need a big change.

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3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “What to do when you’re stuck”

  1. Diane February 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I love your idea of showing gratitude when you feel “stuck.” I find that during meditation, acknowledging what I am grateful for, immediately brings me to a peaceful and relaxed state of mind.

    • Jason Connell February 18, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Thanks Diane! It’s amazing what shifting focus from what we want or are worried about, to what we have and are grateful for, can do.

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