Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Photo by Nick Arnot on Unsplash
“I just feel stuck.” This simple phrase has been whispered in several conversations over the last couple of weeks, and more than once it even slipped out of my own mouth. These humble admissions are often encapsulated by sighs of frustration, transparent whispers of vulnerability, and subtle hints of inadequacy. The new year is well on its way, but for many, our energy, excitement, and momentum towards crushing our 2019 goals has started to fade. The desire for change is still there; unfortunately, the forward progress either hasn’t yet begun or has come to a grinding halt. Now the discouraging and sometimes debilitating feeling of being stuck has started to take root.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word stuck as “to become blocked, wedged, or jammed,” “to find oneself baffled” or “to be unable to proceed.” Take a moment and reflect on your own situation. If you “feel stuck,” what does that look like, feel like, or mean in your own life? What obstacles are blocking or jamming your progress? What problems or challenges are causing you to lack clarity or focus in creating and executing your plan? What do you think is really holding you back from being able to move forward? Be honest with yourself. If you truly want to get unstuck, then you must dig deep to explore what is really going on for you right now, right where you are.
The horrible feeling of being stuck has different root causes for different people. For some people, fear is the culprit—the feeling of being paralyzed, unable, or unwilling to take action because there is no guarantee of success, too much concern for what others might think, or intense anxiety about how the necessary sacrifices/discipline to achieve a goal might negatively impact you or your family. For others, it’s a sense of being overwhelmed—the goal is so big, so complex, or so challenging that getting started on the right set of tasks seems like a mountain you don’t even know how to train to climb, let alone take the first step on the ascent up the mountain. Still others suffer due to lack of encouragement, support, or accountability from their biggest fans—maybe because you haven’t shared your goals or motivations fully or maybe your tribe isn't equipped to “help” you on your journey.
Regardless of the reason for being stuck, I would encourage you to remove the self-judgement. Decide that you are worth getting unstuck and take action. One simple first step can be to tell someone. Depending on the type of goal you’re pursuing, choose someone you trust who will genuinely support your journey (even if they don’t tactically know how to “help”), and someone that will help hold you accountable when your self-discipline and self-motivation start to falter. In my own season of getting unstuck, I am working with a fellow coach, who asks me the hard questions, motivates me to create a realistic (and prioritized) action plan, and to whom I can be accountable each week. It’s amazing how much more optimistic, energized, and productive I am following a simple one-hour conversation than I had been the previous weeks silently struggling on my own.