Sometimes life can feel like there is an invisible glue keeping you stuck. Whether it is trying to get fit, lose weight, stop smoking, change jobs, make changes in relationships – it can feel hard. Here are 6 tips to help you finding breakthroughs when you’re feeling stuck.
Breakthroughs When You’re Feeling Stuck
1. How much do you want change?
This is a key question to ask yourself. It may be that you are reading this and feel very motivated to make changes in your life and that is wonderful – read on and draw all the resources and tools you can into the process to help you along the way.
For some, it may be that the drive is coming from those around them. If that sounds like you, it can be helpful to translate the goal into something that you personally really care about. What you would like to do with the money, time, relationship, energy or opportunity created by this change.
Work out your level of motivation and if it needs a boost look at where you would benefit from thinking about it differently.
2. What is good about the habit or the situation?
In other words – what is it that the habit gives you? It is vital to look behind any habit or situation that you find yourself locked into. Chances are there will be something useful that it gives you. For example, smoking can be a way to create downtime, diffuse anger or relax. Eating can be used to damp down emotions we find difficult to deal with or as a reward. Difficulties in relationships at work or home can be family patterns replaying themselves. Once you understand what the habit or situation is doing for you it is easier to work around how you can achieve that in a more positive way.
3. How much do I identify with the habit?
We often define ourselves by what we do rather than who we really are. By our jobs, our family roles, our habits, our health issues, etc. And whilst these are all important aspects of who we are, they are not the whole picture.
If we consider ourselves to be set in stone, “that is just who I am”, we miss a trick. Taking a moment to reflect as the year draws to a close and another year with all of its opportunities begins, there may be ways in which you can broaden and deepen your sense of who you are.
4. What factors help to hold it in place?
When you are trying to make a change, one of the ingredients in the glue will be the way are lives have been arranged previously. The habit or situation we would like to change seems woven into our everyday reality. And by the same token, our lives then slot in around that, holding it all in place.
It can be useful to consider what triggers a habit – such as times of day, certain places, and particular people. Think around how you can manage that and all the better if you can tie it in with tip 2, finding a more positive way to achieve what the unhelpful habit or situation was a response to.
Also notice what or who constrains us. Notice where the positive and negative influences in your life are and maybe try to maximise your positive exposures, especially at the beginning of your mission.
The start is where the mountain can seem at its steepest. You can “reframe” this as an indicator that you must be doing exactly the right thing. It is likely that you will feel hungry at times if you are eating less and wishing to lose weight. You may feel scratchy if you are stopping smoking, or apprehensive if you are looking at making changes in your life around work or relationships. See these feelings as messages that you are on track, even if you are feeling stuck – stay with it. They will pass and you will achieve your goal.
5. What can you change to support yourself?
Working through these tips you may have a sense of where you feel strong and the areas where a bit of help or input could be helpful. Identify and address the emotional and practical issues in a way that works for you. Use reframing to help you ride the waves as they roll in and through.
Get the support of those around you if possible, but aim generate enough of your own motivation to be the rocket fuel you need to make the change.
If you find you are failing to pull clear of the gravitational pull of the habit or situation, look at what is getting in the way. If it is practical work with that. If it is deeper in terms of your sense of self – who you are, your self-esteem or life’s direction, then there is a whole world of help and support out there.
6. Start Now
Over the years I have heard so many people say they will start a course, make changes at work or home, do things to improve their health….but it isn’t the right time. And sometimes that is absolutely true, it really is not the right time for them. But more often than not, I witness this as stalling behaviour, protecting ourselves from possibility of failure by not having a go.
A useful and positive way to work with this is to imagine yourself years down the line – if you have made the changes, and if you haven’t. Which version excites and inspires you?
Keep an eye out for my next two blog posts “Life Coaching Checklist” Parts 1 and 2 coming soon, which I hope you may also find to be helpful.
I hope you have found this to be of interest and if you have any questions or queries about breakthroughs when you’re feeling stuck, please do contact me. You can also subscribe to the Chantry Health Newsletter for updates about my practice and details about workshops. Thank you.