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What To Do When You Feel Stuck

Do you ever have days – perhaps even weeks on end –  where you feel completely and utterly stuck?

I know I do.

I have times where despite being an ‘up’ person on the surface all I seem to be able to say to myself is “what on earth do you think you’re doing?”

This sort of super-productive thinking is usually followed by a bevy of self-loving sentiments like these ones:

  • “Nobody’s buying it anyway. Everyone knows you don’t have a clue.”
  • “That girl doesn’t like me. I can tell. She must think I’m a complete idiot. I AM a complete idiot.”
  • “I’m never going to get on top of my credit card debt, health, weight, house clutter, emails” (Insert current issue of choice)
  • “I’m never going to get on top of my LIFE. Man, I left school 15 years ago now, and what on earth have I got to show for it? What am I DOING?”

If you can relate at all, you’ll know that almost inevitably your thoughts come to something like this –

What SHOULD I be doing?

How can I know if the decisions I make are the right ones? I want to get out of this job, relationship, lifestyle, health or weight spiral, (insert situation of choice); it’s definitely not exactly what I want to be doing or who I am, but I’m scared. And to be honest I don’t know if I DO really want to get out.

It’s not so bad here.

And besides, what would I do? How would I know how to move forward?

Who would I be?

getting unstuck

Sarah Wilson, whose blog I just love, says the following in a piece about feeling stuck.

“Stop. Recalibrate. Listen. Heal. Know. Feel. Get loose again. Come back to me. Then continue.

The decision was suddenly very clear and within days everything released. Seriously, in a matter of a week or so I was feeling better. Stacks better. Cruddy layers fell off and things started flowing again.”

Here is what I think.

It’s natural to go through phases in your life where you feel stuck and unsure of yourself. You’re definitely not alone in that, and to an extent I think it’s probably a good thing if it causes you to question what might not be working in your life.

But if you feel as though you are struggling to get ‘unstuck’ and move forward with certainty, here are some ideas:

1. Stop. Just stop.

Stop trying to force yourself to decide NOW for sure, but what I mean is actually, physically stop. Take some time out where you are not doing anything at all, and preferably make this time more than 2 minutes to do nothing. Stop and be still, and just listen. No TV, no iPad, no reading or talking. Maybe get a massage so you can’t help but lay there and think.

When I walked away from my secure and very successful business at Fitness First and put faith in working completely on my own and running this blog it came after months of feeling stuck. And in the end, I was having a massage and just suddenly had this ‘epiphany’, if you like.

And I knew that I had to walk away.

2. Ask for help. Talk to one or two of your very closest and most trusted confidantes.

Ask them to tell you honestly – what do they think you have the potential to be, do or have? Ask them to tell you what you constantly seem to talk about or get excited about as well! You might be surprised at what they say. Certainly I would ask them if they think there are any recurring habits you have that seem to drag you down.

3. Decide. It’s the simplest and the very very hardest thing to do.

When I was 14, I was living in Germany with my family and I was starting to get chubby. After being the ‘long and lanky one’ my entire childhood, this was quite disturbing. I started to pay attention to my body and to other girls’ bodies. I took comfort when I saw that other girls in my class were also a little overweight. There was one girl in particular, Nadine, and she had a similar body shape and height to mine. Or, she did have for a while. We came back to school after our 6-week summer break and I almost didn’t recognise her. All the girls in the class were crowded around her admiring her jutting hipbones and newly confident manner. Looking back, I’d say she must have lost a good 8 kilos or so over the break, and she was super lean. And super confident.

But that wasn’t what struck me most.

What struck me, was how she said she’d managed to do it (everyone wanted to know; I think even the teachers wanted to know!) Her reason –

“I just decided that enough was enough”

This has stayed with me ever since, for nearly 20 years now. I really should look her up on Facebook and thank her 🙂

And every time I find myself saying something is too hard, or just not working, or that I don’t like it but don’t know where to turn next, I ask myself –

“Have you had enough?”

In the end, it really is a yes or no question.

So – have you?

Life is Now. Press Play.

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