At some point in your life, you may find yourself stuck in a rut or repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe you currently feel like you are trapped in an endlessly-repeating, unproductive cycle. When this happens, and it happens to the best of us, it can often leave you confused about how to turn things around. Maybe you’re not even aware of the self-sabotaging routine you are leading.
You can’t see the forest for the trees, as they say.
It is not an overstep to say that we live in a world that celebrates outward success. With so much focus placed on alluding to how happy our lives are, it makes it more difficult to dedicate time to inner happiness and well-being. And without knowing what it is you truly want, you will never know what it is that needs to change.
Over time, feeling trapped and stuck in this way will block every shred of true potential you have. With your inner genius stifled like this, you may find yourself plagued with anxiety or choked with stress.
So, what can you do about it?
In order to break the cycle and make positive changes to start moving forward again, it is essential to first understand the primary, often subconscious, reasons that people end up feeling stuck in life. According to psychologist and High Potential Coach Elaira Tickute, whenever a person is stuck at a point in their life, no matter who they are, the same five fundamental reasons are usually behind it.
Tickute has spent over 20 years studying human design and has seen firsthand how feeling stuck can unintentionally block our true potential. According to her, the five reasons why people feel stuck in life are:
- Lack of possibility or perspective.
- Being stuck secretly serves you.
- Contradicting beliefs.
- Not knowing yourself.
- Lack of clarity and personal vision.
1. Lack of possibility or perspective
It is not uncommon for people to just keep their heads down and carry on when they get stuck in a rut in life. Day in and day out you battle onwards, doing the same things and possibly repeating the same mistakes. As a result, these types of ruts often continue for far too long.
“The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results.”
While the above quote is incorrect, both politically and factually, the sentiment remains a valid one. First appearing in a 1981 Narcotics Anonymous text, this saying in essence wants you to understand that you must change your actions in order to change the outcome. In order to see what other possibilities exist for you, and to help you gain a much-needed alternative perspective, there are a few things that you can do:
Take a break: Whatever it is you’re doing, or whatever narrative you have created for yourself, stop. Step away from your problem or challenge for a while to give yourself some much needed perspective on the matter.
Zoom out: Think about your situation in general terms and without emotional involvement. By thinking generically, your perspective remains more balanced.
Try on different perspectives: Think of someone you admire or whose opinion you respect and ask yourself, “What would they do in this situation?” Think about how that person may approach things differently and you may find the sparks of inspiration you need to begin.
2. Being stuck secretly serves you.
How can that be? It might seem shocking at first, because why would anybody want to remain trapped in a futile routine? However, it’s important to mention that there are usually several deeply rooted psychological and emotional reasons that prevent us from fully progressing in life. By remaining in a familiar comfort zone, the unknown (perhaps our biggest fear of all) is kept firmly at bay.
By being honest with yourself and identifying which routines or situations you are clinging to the most, you will finally be able to change what you are doing. Once the routines that keep you stuck are out in the open, there will be nothing to hide behind.
When you find yourself stuck in an unhealthy pattern, ask yourself, “How is being stuck serving me?” For example, if you observe that you turn to food in times of stress or worry, rather than chastise yourself for eating too much again, instead try to understand what need the food is filling for you.
3. Contradicting beliefs.
Sometimes, no matter how much you want something and no matter how hard you work to attain it, you find yourself no closer to your goals. It is not always because of not knowing what you want. But, why is it still so difficult to attain?
It can often be the case that there are contradicting beliefs or conflicting subconscious thoughts blocking your ability to achieve your goals. Could it possible that deep-down you don’t feel you are worth the goal you crave? Maybe you only think you want something. By not being clear with yourself you will continue to send out mixed messages.
To identify any contradicting beliefs you may hold, try the following simple exercise:
- Write down the goal you are having difficulty achieving. I want a new job.
- Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. Now, ask yourself why you don’t want this goal. Why don’t I want a new job?
- Take note of the first thought that pops into your head.
4. Not knowing yourself.
If you constantly feel like you are hitting road-blocks in life, this may all stem from not really knowing yourself. During the process of figuring out how to reach your goals, one of the most liberating elements is the opportunity to reconnect with who you genuinely are.
From a young age, we are told what happiness is and what success should look like. With so much focus on what our needs should be, we lose sight of ourselves and of our dreams. The unique self becomes lost and we become more disconnected.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – 20th century sage, Ferris Bueller.
To reconnect with yourself, you must first slow down and become present in each and every moment. Our intuition and gut instinct are communicating with us continually. By turning off auto-pilot and living with intention, you will become more aware of everything you do, think and feel. This has great advantages when trying to identify any self-destructive behaviour you might engage in, such as adopting other people’s negativity, or being too consumed by societal “shoulds”.
5. Lack of clarity and personal vision.
Another thing we are taught from a young age is that we are all unique. Yet, simultaneously, the status quo suggests a conflicting “one-size-fits-all” lifestyle model. Although our genes, experiences and desires make us all extremely different, we find ourselves forced to change who we are in order to follow the “correct path”.
By not being true to yourself in this way, when you do reach certain goals, they won’t be your successes but a copy of what you perceived as successful. Over time, this unrewarding lack of clarity will leave you feeling empty, lost or confused.
Before you can begin to change your life, you must first take the time to discover your true calling. Find out what it is that makes you excited. This is much more than a job, it is a personal life signature, the fuel to your fire, something you would do irrespective of money. Only you can know which direction you should be moving in.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
If you think that your full potential is yet to be unlocked, the only person who can change that is you. It is time to focus your energy and emotional resources on the things that will serve you and help you achieve your life goals. Identify what it is you want, what is within your power to change in order to attain it, and then go after it with all the passion and ferocity your dreams deserve.
About the Author
Elaira Tickute, founder of Elaira Flow Coaching, is a psychologist and high potential coach. She works with individuals to know themselves authentically without pretensions. She studied human design for more than 20 years, and has created a process to help others journey to their inner core, to express their innate gifts, live life from their highest purpose, and unlock their true potential. Make sure to schedule a meaningful conversation with her conversely, she can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone: +31 6 18688844