With all the current turbulence and uncertainty, it’s not surprising that we’ve had a surge of people asking for our help. Almost everyone we speak to feels stuck in a place where there’s something wrong, but they don’t know how to make it right.
Everyone’s perception of their situation is different, but we have noticed some common themes around the circumstances and symptoms our clients are experiencing. It’s likely you will be able to relate to at least one of these ‘stuck states’ either from something you’ve gone through in the past or because of what you’re currently experiencing. What can you most relate to?
The good news is that there’s nothing wrong with you. The even better news is that there are some simple steps that can help you navigate your way out of these states and on your way to becoming ‘unstuck’.
Where Do You Start In Becoming Unstuck?
Changing states takes internal effort (mindset and attitude) and external effort (actions and habits). We spend most of our time talking to clients about the effort required and how to find the energy to get started. Here are six suggestions that may help.
Once you’ve identified your stuck state, take a moment to reflect on the root cause. It’s possible you are stuck because of other people’s expectations or behaviour, but it’s more likely to be your perception or mindset that is getting in the way. It’s helpful to journal the symptoms (how you are feeling and what you are thinking) then consider the cause (what are the triggers for those feelings and thoughts?).
What Is Your Care Factor?
Be honest and ask yourself if this is really as big a deal as you think it is? Think about the consequences if nothing were to change, what would happen? If things could carry on as they are and you’d be able to deal with it, then your care factor is probably quite low. Figure out the scale of your care factor so that you can ground into the magnitude of what you’re experiencing.
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s human nature to see what you don’t want and move in the opposite direction. It’s also understandable to find it very difficult to figure out what you want. This is especially true if your default coping strategies are procrastination, avoidance, self-medication, making excuses, or blaming. Sound familiar?
If a friend came to you and told you they were going through a hard time, what would you say? I’m guessing your words would be kinder than what you’re telling yourself right now. Take a moment to notice the constructive things you are thinking, feeling and doing, in order to get by.
Take Time To Understand Your Feelings
It’s not wrong or bad to have strong feelings. What’s not helpful is when we allow those feelings to drive unhealthy behaviour. A client recently revealed that he identified as an imposter and after a bout of self-criticism, he resigned from a job he loved. His fear drove him to act impulsively and now he is experiencing regret and remorse.
Susan David (author of Emotional Agility) has a wonderful saying ‘Emotions are data, not directives.’ It’s useful to notice them, give them a name and pop them in the passenger seat, where they can be beside you, safely wearing their seatbelt and guiding you, without driving you. It’s never a good idea to give your emotions the keys and let them take the driver’s seat.
Consider What If It Goes Right
When considering options to change our thinking, feelings, and habits, we often weigh up the risks by asking ourselves:
- What if it doesn’t work?
- What if it goes wrong?
These questions may help you avoid making poor decisions, but they rarely motivate you to change. Worse still, these questions could trigger a ‘flight/flight response’ and stop you from taking action. Try reframing the questions and making a conscious effort to answer them properly:
- What if it does work?
- What if I get what I want?
What’s Your One Important Action?
Staring at a long to-do list is likely to feel overwhelming, especially if your health and wellbeing is riding on it. Instead, commit to one important action that is worth making an effort for and imagine what life will be like once you’re doing it. It could involve changing a habit, starting something new, having a difficult conversation, or booking a holiday. Once that’s done, go and tell someone what you’re going to do. Once you’ve verbally committed, you are much more likely to do it. Then lock in the time to do it and give it a go.
If you loved this article or need more help to get unstuck, we are here to support that journey.
Sign up for our Reset Program and join others with similar stuck states as you transition to becoming unstuck together.