Am I Stuck in Life?

Sometimes I don’t feel motivated to do anything. I hit snooze on my alarm clock for an extra hour and dread starting the day. I spend way too much time scrolling my phone until nothing seems interesting and the screen burns my eyes. It feels nearly impossible to complete tasks, especially difficult ones. I write a to-do list and end up writing the exact same list day after day. My motivation feels dried up. The days all feel the same. Am I stuck in life?

What do you do when you feel stuck? When it feels like you’ve done it all before and the things you once felt energized about lack any sort of appeal. When lying in bed on a feed of random content doesn’t feel fulfilling, but at least it fills the time.

Feeling stuck comes in cycles. Sometimes it comes with winter. Other times it comes after staying in an unfulfilling job or relationship too long. Many times it comes when we’re too comfortable in our unhappiness and haven’t made the necessary changes in our lives. It’s like quicksand that drags you down. The more you struggle and overthink your state of unhappiness the further you sink.

If you’re thinking “Am I stuck in life?“, thinking will not get you out of this mess. Reading this won’t get you out of this mess either but I’m here to provide you with a branch and you can either grab on and pull yourself out or keep doing you. Because the truth is, no one is coming to save you.

1. No one is coming to save you

No one is coming to save you. You can choose to wait for things to change and expect someone to resolve your problems for you, or you can take ownership of your life. If you’re constantly complaining about how unsatisfied you are with your life, this is keeping you stuck. And your excuses might be valid! You may be going through one of the most difficult periods of your life, overcoming health issues, or navigating a life-altering transition. Even when life isn’t fair, you decide to fold over in defeat or stand up and move forward.

The benefit of being a victim is that it alleviates you of all responsibility, but the crushing drawback is that it strips you of your agency. Do you want to be stuck or do you want to be free? The first step to getting unstuck is realizing that you have the power to change your life completely and step into a life that energizes you, excites you, and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. In a matter of months, everything could be different for you. Realize that you have the power to change yourself and your life.

2. Action will set you free

Thinking will keep you trapped. Stop overthinking the best door you need to open. Would you rather stand in a hallway for hours trying to decide which door to enter? Or would you rather start opening the doors one by one to see which one is right for you? We can get overly fixated on the concept of “motivation”. We think we need motivation to take action, when in fact, taking action can produce motivation.

Even walking in the wrong direction is more productive than standing still, because at least you’re learning something. If you’re feeling stuck, you need to take action, any action, to get unstuck. This could be something as small as getting out of bed and going for a walk right now or as big as quitting the job you’ve been complaining about for years.

3. Your phone is making you depressed

Choosing temporary pleasure to suppress our emotions is exactly what our phones help us do. Our phones give us constant dopamine hits, to the point where we feel immune to dopamine — one of the primary neurotransmitters that plays a role in how we experience pleasure.

Dopamine also affects our ability to think and plan and impacts our motivation, mood, and attention. As we expend dopamine on our phones, we build a tolerance and don’t feel as motivated to complete larger tasks or accomplish difficult things. A digital detox may be enough to pull you out of a rut and help you reconnect with what’s really important in your life. Without a handheld pleasure devise, you’re required to find real-world sources of pleasure.

4. It feels good to push yourself

Sometimes I forget how good it feels to accomplish difficult tasks. Being lazy doesn’t feel good. Being lazy is different from taking time to rest. But the thing is, procrastination is less about being lazy and more about avoiding discomfort, pain, or struggle.

If I know I need to send a difficult work email or start a task that I’m not sure how to do, I will more likely procrastinate because I don’t want to deal with it in this moment. However, our brains are smart enough to realize that our future selves will have to deal with it at some point. True relief and satisfaction comes when we take care of our future self. When we push through difficult emotions and start accomplishing hard tasks we begin to feel better than we did when we were avoiding the very same tasks.

5. Find something worth working towards

When I’m feeling stuck it’s often when I’m in an in-between phase. When your day-to-day routine feels mundane, it’s helpful to find something to work towards. Life goals infuse our habits with a sense of purpose. If you set a goal to create a healthy lifestyle and get your dream body, every trip to the gym, every afternoon walk, and every healthy prepped meal will feel like an investment in your accomplishments.

The same applies to pursuing a vocation or career path. If you feel lost in life, like you’re not working towards anything that’s meaningful to you, it’s more likely that you will wake up without motivation to get out of bed and complete a day’s worth of tasks. Get excited about your career, volunteer opportunities, relationship, future travel destination, or hobby. Dedicating yourself to something bigger than what’s happening tomorrow will fuel motivation long-term.

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