Do you ever feel stuck? Unable to move forward or backward or in any direction? Are you treading water – surviving, keeping your head above the surface, but not actually moving toward anything? Well hello and welcome, my friend. Let’s talk about feeling stuck and what we can do to get unstuck.
Feeling Stuck – Treading Water
I think everybody experiences this feeling at some point, but I’m guessing it’s common for moms at my stage to experience this. When your kids get older and don’t need you as much anymore (my son just graduated from high school), you realize that your purpose and identity is no longer wrapped up in raising children. That’s the focus when children are younger and it needs to be – raising humans is kind of a big deal. It doesn’t mean that I neglected myself or ignored my own hobbies and passions during that time.
But I find myself at an older age not knowing quite what I’m supposed to be doing when I grow up. And so I tread water. I work; I spend time with family; I cook and clean; I meet with friends; I write. But I’m not swimming toward any of these things. I do what’s necessary but lack passion and commitment. Because.
Because I’m undecided. I don’t know what I really want to do or if what I want to do is best for me. I lack purpose. It’s like I’m waiting for a lightning bolt of inspiration to strike that will point me in the right direction. And that hasn’t happened. And that leaves me feeling stuck. But I can’t tread water forever. I wrote a poem trying to capture the essence of it all.
She’s standing so still, but a statue she’s not.
On the inside there’s motion, a battle well-fought;
A war of directions, of which way to move,
But the way that is right is not easy to prove.
The back way invites – stay safe and sound.
The front way says she’ll discover new ground.
The side way promises blessings will abound.
The magnetic pulling of each calling way
Results in an ongoing internal fray.
Going the wrong way may cost heavy dues,
But the only escape is to finally choose.
How long will she stand – can she break free?
How long till she knows that a guide is key?
It won’t be long now; her heart whispers a plea.
The long wait is over; her eyes now see.
– Lisa Marie Watson
So how can we get unstuck and get moving in a direction – any direction? There are a few tips I’ve come up with to help us stop treading water and start swimming toward something.
Get Unstuck – Start Swimming
If you’re ready to stop treading water, try these three tips:
Stop making such a big deal.
Certainly there are times in our lives when we have to make actual life-changing decisions. But many times when we are feeling stuck – it’s more similar to deciding which shade of gray to paint on a wall. Choosing a direction to go in that turns out not to be best may mean more work later or minor consequences, but it’s probably not the end of the world. You will never have 100% certainty that what you decide to pursue is the best decision before you do it. Pray about it; get input from trusted sources; pick a direction and start moving toward it. Don’t overthink it beyond what is reasonable.
Do the next thing.
Pick a direction and take a baby step. Taking a few baby steps in one direction might help us decide whether it’s the right way to go or not. Don’t get overwhelmed by making a big plan right now before making any movement forward. Don’t even make a list yet. Yes, those things are good and necessary, but not always when we’re paralyzed by indecision. Did you know that making lists is another form of procrastination for some people (me)? So – pick a direction you want to move in. What is one thing, one baby step, that you can do today to move toward that goal? Do it. Don’t think beyond the one thing right now. And then? Do the next thing.
Believe in yourself.
Every time we think about moving in certain directions, self-doubt creeps in and holds us back. If we doubt ourselves in all things, we’ll stay right where we are and never move. Remember that nobody is perfect. And rarely is anybody amazing at something immediately – it takes practice, persistence, and perseverance. You’ve been created to be a unique masterpiece. You can and will do amazing things. Speak some positive words to yourself today and believe them. Now get moving in a direction – you got this!
Does this sound doable? Are you ready to get unstuck? Treading water for too long gets tiring. Let’s stop feeling stuck, and start moving toward something new today. Take a deep breath – you can do it! What are you going to move toward?
Once you start moving forward and feel ready to set some new goals and make plans to achieve them, download my planning tools to help you figure out what your priorities are right now!