No one wants to feel like they aren’t moving forward in life. Thinking you’re stuck can be depressing and leave you in a hopeless state, especially if you thought you’d be further along than you are. There could be a number of reasons for feeling this way.  It’s important to identify those reasons and fix them.

What’s holding you? My issue has often been too much.  Have you ever had so much to do until you just felt like not doing anything? The many demands of life can make one feel overwhelmed, sometimes causing them to shut down mentally. Often, these demands are self-inflicted.  At times, we may put pressure on ourselves to be so much more than we are to everyone and everything.  When this happens, it’s time to reduce and prioritize. Time to quiet the noise.  Most importantly, time to focus.

Another issue I’ve faced is procrastination.  It’s easy to move tasks aside when we dread them and don’t know where to begin. Before long, a month or two has passed and those same tasks are still waiting to be completed.

Thankfully, life doesn’t have to stay this way.  Below is a list of actions that’s always helped me get back on track when I’ve found myself in a rut.

Let’s Get Started, Shall We?

1. Breathe. Prayer and or meditation will help clear your mind of any negative thing that’s taking up valuable space. I find these practices so important. Nothing great or productive happens when we can’t focus.

2.  Fear Not.  Fear can be crippling and destroys many plans and dreams.  Most people have a fear of something.  I’m currently working on  crushing the fear of leadership.  This is something I have avoided my entire life.  I never wanted to be in charge of anyone or anything, and was totally comfortable in the background, existing unnoticed.  As I kept living however, I began to realize that I have some pretty great ideas and sometimes people listen to me (smile). Even more importantly, I have the ability to listen to others which is the greatest quality of an effective leader. Realize there’s something you have that outweighs the fear you feel.

3.  Find your why.  Why do you need to move forward? Who and what will be impacted if you don’t? When we have meaningful, important reasons for getting stuff done, we tend to find the motivation to get started and the build the desire to keep moving.

4.  Stop listening to negative people.   People who never have anything good to say should be avoided at all costs. Negativity does more than ruin you mentally, it can also make you physically ill.  I know.  Surround yourself with those who bring happiness and peace.

5.  Be around who you want to be. Study those who have been where you want to go and have done the things  you want to do.  If you want to be a millionaire, spend your time with millionaires.  I’m not saying to look down on anyone else, but if you want to one day travel to Egypt, are you going to consult the person who has traveled the world or your cousin who has never crossed the county lines? You can only be as good as the company you keep.

6. Disconnect from social media.  Just for a while.  Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat can be the biggest distractions and thieves of time.  As you start to get things flowing again, give yourself limits on how much of your life you spend reading about everyone else’s. In this present time, it’s really difficult to network without social media, but use it as a tool, not as life support.

7.  Use the “N” word.  Giving everyone else what they want will deprive you of what you need. The response “no” is powerful and we must use it as needed without feeling guilty. If you are unable to fill a request for someone, let them know.  They will find a way without you and if they truly care about you, they will understand.

8.  Prioritize. Out of all that you have to do, what do you need to do–now? Multitasking is a great skill and effective when done properly, but sometimes we just do a lot of everything halfway and think we are accomplishing all the things, but are actually not succeeding in anything. Make a list. Determine what’s most important and number the tasks. Wholeheartedly complete each one. Real progress is made when we can totally remove an item off the list.

9.  Think less. Overthinking causes unnecessary anxiety and wasted time. Research instead.  The more informed we are about subjects is the less time pondered on the “what ifs”. Effective research also allows us to make better decisions.

10.  Set reasonable, attainable timelines and crazy, uncomfortable goals.  One reason for feeling stuck is the fact that items are overdue.  Set a date, maybe even a time within the date to have tasks completed. Figure out what the goals are and make them challenging. You will be surprised by all that’s accomplished when you find the courage to push past what you’ve considered to be limits.

11.  Leave a little room for error.  There’s no doubt that we will have setbacks and unfortunately, we cannot plan for all of them but we can recover. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because lessons are learned from them and we can use those lessons to help others. Instead of beating yourself up, acknowledge, regroup and move on.

So…

The key to not feeling stuck is to adjust our mindset which can take time.  Although I’m working to get to the place where these actions are constants in my life, I’m nowhere close to how I used to be. Improvement, no matter how small is always something to be celebrated.  Now, there are times our bodies and minds may be telling us to rest and slow down or even get away for a while. If so, take that time. Just make sure to get going again.

***Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, just speaking from life experience. If you have concerns about depression, please seek professional help.