Have you ever had those moments when you feel trapped? You can't seem to get out of your head and you don't know what to do. Well, your daily habits could be making you feel stuck without you even realizing it. From the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed, your actions and thoughts can determine how your day will go. If you decide to watch cat videos all day (no judgement!) or you constantly feel sorry for yourself, you may not achieve what you want to accomplish.
"Believe it or not, your thoughts are habits. Even though they seem to come automatically, you do have control over what you are thinking. The first step in changing your thoughts is to identify what it is you want, and then notice the thoughts you are thinking and how different they are from helping you reach your goals. From there, you can work to shift your thinking to be in closer alignment with what you would like to see happen in your life," says mind-body focused psychotherapist, Alena Gerst, LCSW, RYT, in an article with Bustle over email.
Like Gerst says, the way you decide to live your life may determine the outcome. If you believe in yourself and picture a better future, your drive and determination can help you get out of this funk. You just have to hold yourself accountable. But to go a little more in depth with this story, I connected with a few experts to show what kind of daily habits can make people continue to feel stuck in their own life. Check out all nine, below.
1. You Put Too Many Items On Your To-Do List
Sometimes people want to give up or put things off when they're overwhelmed with everything they have to do. They allow their negative thoughts to consume them, which can bring on more anxiety because they decide to not work on any tasks until they think they're ready to. "Piling too many items on your to-do list. An ideal list should only have two to three major items, with a few minor ones. This assures you can finish them each day, while still getting unexpected things thrown at you," says Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC in an interview with Bustle over email.
2. You Don't Manage Your Goals In Small Steps
"It also helps [when] you [create] goals in small and manageable steps. This achieves a number of things: it makes forward progress, which boosts your motivation and self-esteem. It lets you break things down in small and manageable steps, and it let's you celebrate small successes on a regular basis. Most importantly, it helps you end and start each day with a clean slate, which is a huge sense of accomplishment," says Martinez. Instead of thinking about the "big picture," minimize your everyday tasks into sections that you can handle and remember. For example, bullet journaling is a great way to keep everything organized so you know exactly what you need to focus on.
3. You Don't Take Risks
Being afraid to take a risk because you're unsure of what the unknown entails can prevent you from growing and learning. Yes, you may avoid the possibility of failure, but you won't know what your destined for if you don't push yourself to try something new. "Not taking risks is the surest way to not achieve big wins. Taking well-researched risks that cannot end in your overall failure is empowering and thrilling. If things go south, you'll have learned what doesn't work and can then be more adept at choosing what does," says Laurel Steinberg, PhD, in an interview with Bustle over email.
4. You're Not Learning New Skill Levels
"Not [trying] to learn new skills is the surest way to watch the go-getters advance themselves — and they will. Why give up success that can be yours? View learning as fun and a new way to meet new people and make friends, as well as be more confident about your skill set," says Steinberg. Just because you're not in school anymore doesn't mean you should stop learning new things. Whether you want to advance in your career, start a new business, or simply want to get to know yourself a little bit more, learning new skills can help dig yourself out of a hole and make you fall in love with life again.
5. You Focus On Meaningless Tasks
If you want to become free of feeling trapped in your own life, try to focus on what's most important. "Getting side tracked by meaningless tasks [can] squander precious work time. Do what's important and what will achieve your goals while doing enough of other things to keep you and yours afloat and your relationships alive," says Steinberg about daily habits that can make you feel stuck in life.
6. You Don't Take Care Of Yourself
How can you get out of a funk when you don't take care of numero uno? Stop letting your self-care routine fall to the wayside, because before you know it, your energy can be depleted and you won't have the stamina to go after what you want. "Not engaging in adequate self-care leads to mental exhaustion and depression. You can help other a better when you are the best version of you possible," says Steinberg about daily habits that can make you feel stuck in life.
7. You Engage Too Much With Social Media
While most people like to look through social media apps for inspiration or to simply unwind, it can bring down your self-esteem or prevent you from achieving your dreams if you allow it to consume you. "It should not be a surprise that social media keeps you feeling stuck. Most people find themselves on Snapchat because they do not know what else to do with their time. The problem is that social media eats up enormous quantities of time, and it is all practically useless," says coach and licensed psychologist Anita Marchesani in an interview with Bustle over email.
"In truth, you end up feeling worse if you don’t get enough likes or comments, or you see your friends’ exciting lives and you feel like your pales in comparison. This only keeps you stuck and focused on things that simply do not matter. Start finding activities that are productive and absorb your attention so you don’t feel drawn to social media. You will move ahead very quickly," continues Marchesani.
8. You Focus On Feeling Stuck
"Your mind controls about 100 [percent] of your circumstances. Focusing on feeling stuck can only keep you feeling stuck. To shake things up, you must force your mind to focus on new things, new experiences, new ideas, and new possibilities. Buy a book in a genre you have never read. Set a goal to meet at least one new person this month. When you feel your mind wandering to think about your life the way it is now, force yourself to focus on something different," says Marchesani.
Believe it or not, you have more control over your actions and thoughts than you realize. While the road may be bumpy, it will take a lot of perseverance to get over the hill. As long as you don't give up and stop focusing on the negative, you'll feel better in the end.
9. You're Preventing Your Relationships From Growing
"To get unstuck in life, you have to actually engage with life. This simply cannot happen on a screen. You may feel stuck because your relationships are not deepening and advancing. This happens with over reliance on texting. Get in front of people, learn to read body language and nuances, have shared experiences with your friends and loved ones. It takes effort to plan and implement, but you will NOT be sorry!" says Marchesani.
While hard work can project your career forward, your relationships can fill your life up with love. Having a good support system is essential to thrive and to feel free. Because when you have people that unconditionally support you, you can truly feel like anything is possible.
It would be rare to say that no one has ever felt stuck once or more in their own life. And while it can happen to the best of us, what you decide to do during this down period will determine how your life will move forward. Whatever you do, don't dwell on the past and enjoy the path you're on. The more you realize this, the more grateful you may feel.