When you’re feeling stuck in life it feels incredibly frustrating and hopeless. You just want to be happy and fulfilled, but instead you feel like you keep living the same lousy day over and over with no way to make things better. You feel trapped in your own life, you might even feel depressed because it doesn’t seem like things will ever change.
It can be hard to pinpoint the exact reason behind these feelings, but it’s important to understand why you feel this way so that you can interrupt the pattern that created this feeling of being trapped in a life that doesn’t feel very good.
I know so many of us feel lost and stuck in life sometimes. I’ve gone through periods of time when I felt like my life had no purpose and I wanted to give up, but part of me knew that better was possible. I just didn’t know how to get there, until I realized I was doing quite a few of the things we’ll talk about below.
Feeling stuck is an opportunity to figure out exactly what you don’t want more of, and to make a positive change in your life. You can get rid of the crap that’s been holding you back and find more of what makes you feel good!
The first step to getting unstuck is being willing to take responsibility. When I became aware of how I was limiting myself it was hard to acknowledge that only I could get myself out of the rut.
Your options really come down to making a choice to either stay stuck, or to take control and make some changes. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, and there isn’t a quick fix, but if you commit to taking some tiny little baby steps, you can stop feeling lost and hopeless.
Lets talk about why you’re feeling stuck right now, and how to move forward in life when you feel like it’s never going to get better.
Why You’re Feeling Stuck In Life
You’re waiting for someone else to fix it for you
Are you waiting for a knight in shining armor to fix your life for you? Baby, he isn’t coming.
But guess what, you can be the hero, the go getter, the boss babe, the titan, the ceo, the whatever the heck you want of your story.
It’s hard to stop waiting and go after what you want. Making big changes is scary. Believing in yourself is scary. Jumping into the deep end without someone to catch you is scary.
I spent a lot of years hoping someone else would fix my life for me, but eventually I realized that if I want to make a change in my life, I have to take action and do the work. Even when it’s uncomfortable, even when I don’t know all the steps to take, even when if feels like nothing is working.
It’s ok to feel lost and afraid, it’s part of the process. You just have to start with one teeny tiny step today, and another one tomorrow. No one else is going to do it for you.
You give up too fast
All that stands between us and the life we want is often just small daily actions that add up over time. Part of the reason we feel so stuck is because we don’t see the results we want right away, and then we get frustrated because it feels like nothing is working so we give up.
Lets be real, there’s never going to be some big thing that instantly transforms your life. It’s not going to be like a movie where the main character’s life goes from crap to amazing in 90 minutes.
When you feel trapped in your life the only way to move forward again is to take those little actions that only move you forward an inch at a time. It doesn’t feel like they get you anywhere in the moment, but when you look back 6 or 12 months later you can see that those small steps started to build momentum.
Something that stuck with me from the book The Slight Edge, is that these small daily steps are easy to do, but they’re also easy not to do, and so we usually don’t do them. And it doesn’t seem like there are any consequences in the moment, but after weeks, months, or years of not taking those actions what do you get? A life that feels empty and disappointing.
Related: The Best Personal Growth Books
You never change your strategy
Is your life going to change if you keep doing the same things everyday? I’m sure you’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So if your life doesn’t look the way you want it to, but you don’t change your daily actions and habits, can you really expect things to get better? Are you going to stop feeling stuck if you don’t change what you’re doing?
You’re where you are now because of what you did, or didn’t, do in the past. You don’t need to beat yourself up for this because most of our actions stem from our belief systems that we developed as children and are fulfilling on autopilot, without really thinking about if they benefit us.
So, what are you going to do differently now? All those small daily actions that got you here obviously aren’t in alignment with what you want, so what are you changing?
Don’t criticize yourself for the past, learn from it. The past is a powerful tool. You learned what doesn’t work, and now you get to try something new.
You don’t believe your life can get better
The most important thing I’ve learned during my personal growth journey is that our beliefs truly shape our lives. That doesn’t mean outside factors don’t influence our reality, but what you believe is true about yourself, your capabilities, and the world shape the choices you make.
Our beliefs live in our subconscious mind, and the subconscious mind will never make you a liar. If you believe you are stuck forever and that life will never get better for you, you will (without being aware of it) work to make it true.
This looks like:
- Shooting down opportunities because you just assume it won’t work or that you’ll screw it up.
- Making excuses for why you shouldn’t do something that the logical part of you knows would improve your life.
- Not going after what you want because you’re afraid.
- Self-sabotaging just when things are starting to go right for you to fulfill the belief that your life will always suck.
- Telling yourself “this is just how it is” so you don’t have to take action to change things.
You have to start telling yourself a different story. You have to start believing in your worth, your capabilities, and your dreams. You have to stop letting “I’m stuck” be your identity and choose to believe that what you want is possible.
When you notice yourself thinking something like “I feel trapped and stuck in my life,” make it a reflex to correct that thought with “I have so many opportunities to improve my life and I’m really excited about the all possibilities!” Then look for evidence of this. Eventually you’ll train your brain to find them!
I have a 5 week program to do a deep dive on your belief system, check out Limiting Beliefs Breakthrough.
You’re stuck in the past
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the past and everything that went wrong? Do you think about all the mistakes you made and what you wish you’d done differently?
Has spending all that time dwelling on the past ever changed it? I know it hasn’t for me.
What if you put all that energy you waste on regret and what ifs into the present moment instead? What if you used that energy to figure out what you want, make a plan, and take action?
When you catch your mind mulling over the past, make a choice to bring yourself back to the present moment. Ask yourself, “what small thing can I do right now to make this moment better?”
If your answer is, “nothing, I’m stuck in my life and I can’t do anything about it,” (one of my favorite excuses in the past) I want to lovingly tell you that’s rubbish. There is always something you can do right now.
Get out a pen and paper and spend 5 minutes writing down small easy things that would make your life just a little bit better today. It can be as basic as cleaning out your pantry or enrolling in a class. Just do something today to help you feel like you’re gaining momentum.
You don’t invest in yourself
The most important investment you can ever make is in yourself. You can’t stop growing and learning when you’re done with school, it’s something you have to keep doing your whole life.
My life didn’t start changing for the better until I started investing my time and some money on inner work. It can be hard and draining at times, but it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
I went from being trapped by my fears and feeling like I’d never move forward in life, to starting my own business that has not only helped me grow, but is helping other people grow too. It’s all because I started investing in myself through personal development books and courses, and learning about shadow work, inner child healing, and other things like that.
Therapy is also an excellent form of inner work if you have access to it.
Related: Why You Should Do Inner Work
You hang out with other stuck people
If your social circle is a group pity party where you all complain about how bad your lives are and how everything sucks and how the people who are doing what you all secretly want to be doing are the worst, are you going to be motivated to change your life for the better?
Your friends can either drag you down or lift you up. Yeah they might be super supportive when you’re complaining about how hard life is, but are they encouraging you to settle or go after more?
Surround yourself with people who inspire you to go after your dreams and who are going after theirs too.
You might find that some friends fall away because they’re not ready to change their lives. Wish them well and move on.
You’re terrified of making mistakes
So many of us are stuck in life because we’re so afraid to make mistakes. No one wants to fail, or even worse embarrass themselves in front of other people and be judged for it. Fear of failure can be absolutely paralyzing, and so we tell ourselves we’re trapped because it’s less scary than messing up.
You have to get comfortable with the fact that you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to take the wrong path and then have to backtrack and start again. You’re going to fail. You’re going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing most of the time.
Mistakes can teach us lessons if we’re wise enough to study them. There is value in objectively analyzing what went wrong so that you can avoid doing it again in the future. Figuring out what doesn’t work leads you to what does work.
Instead of thinking of mistakes as ‘bad’ think of them as neutral. They don’t mean anything about you as a person, they are just life experiences and you get to choose what they mean and what lesson you take away.
When you stop being afraid of them you’ll stop being stuck and you can more forward.
You’re putting too much pressure on yourself
We’re all just flawed humans trying to get through life. I truly believe that most people are doing the best they can with the tools and lessons they have received during the course of their life.
The expectation that we’re supposed to be this, and we’re supposed to have that, and we’re supposed to have accomplished all these things within this timeline, all it serves to do is make us feel so much pressure that we freeze and crumple under the weight.
When we feel like we’re suppose to be doing so much more, it’s no wonder we feel like we’re not going anywhere.
I used to be told over and over as a teenager, “you have so much potential!”
What does that mean to most people when you hear that so frequently? It means what you are right now is not good enough, you must do and be more to earn approval and acceptance.
Even if you’ve never been told this, you probably still feel a lot of pressure to check off the list of expectations society has.
Let go of the need to meet anyone else’s expectations. Decide what your values and priorities are, what success means to you, what makes you happy, and just work on fulfilling those things. Leave the rest behind so that you can move forward in life and find freedom and happiness.
Need more: Read 10 Ways to Get Out of a Rut