Feel Stuck In Life? Here Are 16 Reasons Why And How To Get Unstuck

by | Feb 18, 2020 | Mindset, Personal Growth

Photo credit: marcelkessler from Pixabay 

We All Feel Stuck In Life At Times

We all get stuck at times and there are lots of different reasons why we can get stuck. It’s not a one-size fits all challenge. 

So if that’s the case, then how do we get unstuck? 

One of the most important steps to getting unstuck is to identify why you’re stuck in the first place. That way, you can come up with a creative solution to help you get unstuck.  

So I want to share sixteen reasons why you might feel stuck and some potential solutions. 

1. When You Don’t Know Who You Are

You need to know who you are to set the priorities and goals that are right for you. When we don’t know who we are, it’s difficult to know what we want. Over time, that can lead us to feeling stuck because we simply don’t know how we feel or what we think or what we want. 

Remember that in the search to discover who you are, it’s okay that the journey isn’t perfect. And as Anne Lamott says:

“You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.” 

SOLUTION: Get To Know Yourself

Spend time getting to know yourself — your strengths, weaknesses, how you think and feel about things. There are many personality tests that can help you uncover who you are. One that I’ve found very helpful is StrengthsFinder (now CliftonStrengths. If you’d like some help discovering and understanding your strengths, send me a message here.

Photo credit: Simon Maage on Unsplash

2. When A Negative Mindset Is Holding You Back

When we think positive thoughts, we create good pathways in our brains. But when we constantly think negative thoughts, we create deep pathways in our brain like ruts that can cause us to get stuck. 

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf,

“Thoughts are real things, and cause real, physical reactions in our brains and bodies by impacting what we say and do… You are creating your next reality!”

SOLUTION: Change Your Mindset To A More Positive One

One of the most effective ways that I’ve found to retrain my brain is by practicing gratitude. My daughter, Hannah, also uses this strategy. Whenever she is struggling with a negative mindset about something, she writes out something she is grateful for about that thing until her mindset changes. 

Photo credit: Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash

3. When You Don’t Have The Resources To Keep Growing

The more we grow, the more we need different resources to keep growing.  Sometimes that means we don’t actually have the resources needed to keep growing and this can cause us to get stuck. 

Because as Marshall Goldsmith writes, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

A few years ago, Melis and I discovered that we didn’t have the resources we needed to make 4Better 4Ever into a successful business. So we joined the John Maxwell Team, which has provided me with the mentors, support and resources that are helping me to grow this business. 

SOLUTION: Keep Looking Until You Find The Resources You Need 

Talk to other people who are successful in the area you want to grow and find out what resources helped them get there. It could be a mentor, a coach, a program, a book, or a mastermind group that will help you to get unstuck and keep moving forward.  

Photo credit: Riccardo Mion on Unsplash

4. When A Lack Of Movement Is Keeping You Static

The law of inertia states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

This is also true in life. When you stay still in your growth for too long, it gets harder to get back to growing and easier to stay as you are. The opposite is also true: start growing and work at growing a little every day and you’re less likely to get stuck or stay stuck.

For, as Amelia Earhart says, “the most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” 

SOLUTION: Keep Taking Small Steps Forward Every Day

Sometimes how you’re growing isn’t as important as the fact that you are growing in some small way. Choose one area and take small, consistent steps forward each day to keep growing. 

Photo credit: NeONBRAND on Unsplash

5. When You Don’t Have Strategies To Get Unstuck

It’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll all get stuck at some point, whether it’s caused by outward circumstances or something inside of us. And yet, even though most of us know this, many of us don’t have specific strategies to help us get unstuck. 

My mentor, Paul Martinelli always says, “Prepare, prepare, prepare. Because when opportunities come, if you haven’t prepared, it’s too late.”

I would say that the same is true for getting stuck. We need to prepare for getting stuck because when challenges come and we get stuck, if we haven’t prepared then it will be that much harder to get unstuck. 

SOLUTION: Write Out Strategies That Will Help You Get Unstuck Before You Need Them

When you feel stuck, go to this resource and try the different strategies to get unstuck quicker. For example, write out the names of people that you can call, write out Bible verses that encourage you, write out a quote that is meaningful, list out any life-giving activities that could help you get unstuck. 

Photo credit: Trevor Cole on Unsplash

6. When You Have No Idea Why You’re Stuck

The fable of the boiling frog says that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump right out but if you increase the heat slowly, the frog won’t see the danger and will boil to death. Sometimes this happens to us when we don’t see that we’re getting stuck until one day we realize we’re stuck and we have no idea how it happened. 

We can counter this by looking for people who will be honest with us and by being that person for others.

“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones,” says John Lennon

SOLUTION: Find People To Speak Into Your Life 

It’s invaluable to have people in our lives who know us so well that they can help us avoid getting into these places by pointing out where we might get stuck. This means we need to put ourselves in relationships where we’ll be held accountable and develop the humility to allow others to speak truth into our lives. 

Photo credit: Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

7. When You Don’t Have The Support You Need To Get Unstuck

The more we grow, the more we’ll find that we are changing and at some point we may discover that we don’t have the support we need in our circles to get unstuck or to keep growing. This can happen especially if we’re in environments where growth isn’t highly valued. 

SOLUTION: Go Outside Of Your Circle To Find New Support

I’m not suggesting that you leave your circle but what I am suggesting is that you find the support you need, whether that’s a new friendship, mentor, coach, mastermind group or an online community. Many of the mentors that I have are online because I needed to go beyond my circle to find the support I needed to keep growing.

Photo credit: sydney Rae on Unsplash

8. When You’re Not Taking Full Responsibility For Yourself

It’s so easy to blame anything and anyone for our problems except ourselves. And I’m no different! Sometimes my daughter will point out to me, “Mom, you’re using passive language.”

The thing is, to lead ourselves well, we have to get rid of any kind of passivity or blaming and take full ownership for ourselves.  

“When you take responsibility for your actions, accept that life isn’t fair, get rid of excuses, become a doer, and develop an abundance mentality, you will break down many of the barriers keeping you from true success. You will be well on the way to maximizing the potential that God has given you,” says Tommy Newberry in Success Is Not An Accident.

SOLUTION: Practice Taking Full Ownership Of Yourself

It’s not up to our spouse or our boss or our friend to get us unstuck. Begin to shift your mindset by reminding yourself every day that you and only you are responsible for getting you unstuck. Ask a trusted person to point it out to you when you’re using victim or passive language and be intentional about using powerful language.  

Photo credit: Micaela Parente on Unsplash

9. When You’re In Denial That You Have A Problem

When you have more than one person around you telling you that you have a problem but you don’t listen, then you’re in denial. You could be in denial because it’s comfortable being in a place of not changing or you could be refusing to listen out of pride. The reality is — change is hard! 

And if we admit we have a problem then we need to do something about it.

“Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into ‘those who offer help’ and ‘those who need help.’ The truth is that we are both,” writes Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection

SOLUTION: Listen To The People Around Us

If more than one person around us is telling us that we have a problem, then we need to pay attention. One of my mentors, Mark Cole, has a CEO corner once a quarter where he brings in different people to talk about vital issues. And all he does during that session is listen because he wants to get away from “being right” and instead, get to the heart of the matter.

Photo credit: Matt Duncan on Unsplash

10. When You’re Unwilling To Change

Change is hard. And some changes are harder than others. So what happens if you know the changes you need to make but you’re unwilling to make them because it feels too hard? Then, my friend, you will be stuck until you’re willing to make the changes. It’s as simple as that.

SOLUTION: Shift Your Mindset That The Growth Will Be Worth It

“Everything worthwhile is uphill,” says John C. Maxwell. Remind yourself that it’s okay that it’s hard but that the growth will be worth it. Find something on the other side of the change that you want more than the pain of growing. Remind yourself of that every day.

Photo credit: Chang Duong on Unsplash

11. When You’re Scared To Change

As mentioned above, change is hard and sometimes it can be really scary. Especially when the change is new and we don’t have any examples around us for what the change will be like. But it’s okay to feel scared of change. I’ve learned from listening on the John Maxwell Team calls that even the most qualified professionals feel afraid when they’re stepping into something new. 

Take inspiration from Rosa Parks, a courageous American activist whose actions sparked change:

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.”

SOLUTION: Find Like-Minded People To Journey With

Don’t try to walk the growth journey alone. Sometimes it’s too scary or overwhelming. Find support to help you face the changes you need to make, whether it’s friend, mentor, coach or a mastermind group.

Photo credit: Allie Smith on Unsplash

12. When You’re Pursuing Someone Else’s Goals Instead Of Your Own

One of the reasons it’s so important to know ourselves is so we pursue our own goals and don’t waste time living for someone else’s dreams. When we’re pursuing our own dreams, it energizes us and gives us the motivation we need to overcome challenges. But when we’re pursuing someone else’s goals, we won’t have the energy to overcome challenges because our heart isn’t in it. And over time, we can feel stuck or resentful because we don’t love our lives. 

“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs,” says Farrah Gray

SOLUTION: Discover Your Dreams, Goals And Desires

Spend time getting to know yourself — your dreams, desires, hopes, longings, and so on. Journal the answers to these questions (found in John Maxwell’s book Put Your Dreams To The Test):

  1. What would you do if you weren’t limited by time or money?
  2. What makes you cry?
  3. What makes you happy?
  4. What makes you angry?

The answers to these questions can start you on the journey of discovering what you really want. Find a coach to help you work through these questions as a confidential and unbiased space can help you dig deep into your heart. 

Photo credit: Thom Holmes on Unsplash

13. When You’ve Stopped Growing

It’s so important to develop a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, after spending some time growing you’ll feel like you’ve arrived and stop growing. Here’s the thing — growth is a lifelong journey and when you stop growing, you actually start going backwards. 

As my mentor, Mark Cole, CEO of all the John Maxwell companies, says:

“The world needs you fully alive. It’s not about you, it’s about what’s been entrusted to you.”

SOLUTION: Cultivate A Growth Mindset

Cultivate a growth mindset and recognize that growth is a lifelong journey. There’s always more to learn and you’re only limited by your desire to grow. Practice journalling this question every day: what have I learned today?

Photo credit: Allie Smith on Unsplash

14. When You Don’t Believe You’re Worth Investing In

If you’re struggling with believing that you’re worth investing in, it will be challenging to keep pursuing growth because deep down inside, you feel unworthy. And as Denis Waitley says, that’s really what growth is all about:

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself.” 

SOLUTION: Find A Safe, Healthy Community Where You Can Be Real

On one hand, we can’t find our worth outside of ourselves. And yet, on the other hand, we also need to be in healthy community to find our worth. Search for a safe, healthy community where you can show up as yourself and where people will accept you, encourage you and love you too much to allow you to stay the same. 

Photo credit: Ann H on pexels

15. When Shame Keeps Me In Hiding

When we feel shame, we believe that there’s something wrong with us at our core and nothing makes us want to hide more than feeling shame. But as long as we’re feeling shame, it keeps us from showing up and it keeps us silent. 

And to keep growing, we need to be in community. As Brene Brown says,

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

SOLUTION: Find A Safe Person And Start Showing Up In Small Ways

Find a safe person, like a friend or coach, or community and start showing up as your true self in the smallest ways. As you find these safe people, begin sharing your story with them, bringing the shame into the light because shame can’t survive in the light. And as you let in more light, you’ll discover more freedom and growth.

Photo credit: Bárbara Montavon on Unsplash

16. When You Don’t Have The Leaders To Follow That You Need

We all need leaders in front of us but the higher our leadership lid is, the higher the leader needs to be in order to add value to us. Now, when we don’t have leaders in front of us who have a high enough leadership ability, we get stuck.

We need to look for leaders who continue to grow because they’ll continue to uplevel your growth. They do this by making themselves available to you and investing in your growth. They also accept you on your bad days but they won’t leave you there because they love you too much.

SOLUTION: Find A Leader That Is Continually Investing In Their Own Growth

Find a person is continually investing in their own growth because their leadership lid will continue to raise and as they raise their leadership lid, they will also help you to keep growing.

Your Next Steps To Getting Unstuck

The amazing thing about us as human beings is that because we’re all different with unique situations and personalities, we’re only limited by our creativity when it comes to discovering solutions.

So I hope this list has helped you to identify why you’re stuck and think of possible solutions. I want to encourage you to try one solution to see if it helps to get you unstuck. If it does, write it down somewhere as a strategy you can use in the future when you’re stuck again. If not, then try a different solution until you find one that works for you.  

What’s your best tip to get unstuck? Share the number in the comments below! We love to hear from you.

About Ann

Ann is on a mission to equip Christian women to communicate confidently and clearly for a closer connection. The good news? Communication is a skill so anyone can learn it even if you’re struggling to communicate right now. Want to communicate more clearly and confidently?…

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  1. Rosa Visser

    This is a very good article Ann. Very insightful.

    • Ann Visser

      Thank Rosa. Hannah and I put our heads together on this article to think of all the ways our people get stuck and how to get unstuck!


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Ann Visser


Life Coach


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