When You Feel Stuck, Try This

October 23, 2019 • By Danielle Matthew, LMFT

It can be an awful feeling to feel stuck. You may feel like you can’t forge ahead, or you might not know how to move forward. When you feel stuck, it may seem that others have their lives together while you don’t.

Common areas for feeling stuck include marriage or relationships, jobs, low self-esteem, lack of personal satisfaction, and a loss of ambition.

When you feel stuck, it’s often a sign that something needs to change in your life. However, fear and helplessness are two common states that can keep you stuck for longer.


When you’re stuck, your thoughts may cloud with frustration and other uncomfortable emotions. But, it’s important to try not to feel discouraged. What you consider “stuck” can be a holding place for new growth, strength, and information before moving forward.

Although you may feel like you’re at a permanent standstill, you can get “unstuck” with the right focus and mindset. Sometimes, that’s the only change that’s needed.

Here are some additional tips for getting unstuck:

It can be helpful to spend at least 15 minutes a day reflecting on your circumstances with an honest and open mind.

  • Take time to evaluate your current circumstances. As hard as it may be, it’s necessary to assess your situation. It can be helpful to spend at least 15 minutes a day reflecting on your circumstances with an honest and open mind. Try to consider why you feel you can’t move forward. It’s also important to recognize any excuses you may be hiding behind and to journal any thoughts or realizations that come to mind. Taking ownership of your choices makes you accountable for your actions. While this can be very difficult, it can also be incredibly empowering. Others can’t prevent you from moving forward.
  • Embrace your current state. Embracing your circumstances is the first step to moving beyond your current state. It doesn’t mean you like what’s happening. Instead, you accept that it’s taking place so that you can create a plan for moving forward. You control your journey.
  • Consider how you’d like to move forward. While you may not know precisely how you’d like to move forward, it’s essential to consider and write down the possibilities for getting unstuck. Talking to an unbiased person can also be beneficial, as it may help you evaluate the situation from a different perspective and come up with possibilities for moving forward that you may not have considered.


It’s important to realize that the time that it takes to feel unstuck can vary by individual and situation. Don’t compare yourself to others. You and your set of circumstances are not the same as someone else’s. Moving forward is a journey, not a marathon. Taking one step at a time may feel like a slow process, but it’s often the most effective.

During your daily evaluations of your current circumstances, consider the steps you’re currently working on or that you’ve already completed so that you can see the progress that you’ve made. While it’s essential to take ownership of your circumstances and plans for moving forward, it’s also crucial not to be overly critical of yourself and any mistakes that you might make. And, sometimes, you need to refocus. Daily evaluations are important, but so are regular breaks from your situation. Part of moving forward is also taking care of yourself. Practice self-care and positive self-talk.

Try not to let setbacks or unexpected hurdles discourage you. While these stumbling blocks may cause you to alter your plans for moving forward, you can still control your destination. Try to look at mistakes and obstacles as growth opportunities so that you’re even more equipped to achieve your goals.

Sometimes anxiety and other issues like attention-deficit and hyperactivity (ADHD) can prevent you from feeling like you’re moving forward. To fully become unstuck, it may help to also address anxiety and other issues.


Therapy can be an effective way to help you move forward–especially when, despite your best efforts, you continue to feel like you’re at a standstill. Going to therapy is not a sign of weakness, and it does not mean you’re “crazy.” Start here to find a licensed and compassionate mental health professional in your area.

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