5 psychological reasons you feel stuck and how to overcome them

It’s normal to feel stuck in life at some point.

We find that our lives have stagnated and feel unfulfilled and directionless.

This could be because we’re stuck in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere, an unfulfilling job or just having an overall sense of restlessness. 

Identifying the reasons behind these is a good first step to overcoming them. If dragged on for too long, we may end up living a life of regret.

At the end of the day, you’d want to say that you did all that you wanted to do, and got as much as you could out of life.

So, without further ado, let’s run through some reasons why you may be feeling stuck and how to address these.

1) Fear of failure

Do you find yourself avoiding new tasks or challenges? Maybe you prefer something more familiar, so you stick to a project or role that you’ve been in for a long time.

This could be a result of a previous experience when you decided to step out but weren’t successful in whatever you wanted to do. And this has hindered you from doing anything new. 

While it’s normal to want to succeed, having a fear of failure – one that paralyzes you from action – is not healthy.

You may find security in doing things that you’re good at, but this may cause you to remain where you are for too long. When you finally get the courage to step out, you may realize that you’ve let your whole life pass you by and that it may be too late.

Instead, challenge these negative thought processes. Rather than tell yourself that you’ll fail at the get-go, encourage yourself with the possibility of success.

Even if you fail, remember that it’s all part of growth.

Don’t let opportunities pass you by because of the limits you’ve set for yourself. 

2) Fear of uncertainty

Another reason could be the fear of uncertainty.

We’ll reach points in our lives where we get comfortable. Sometimes, too comfortable. Maybe you’ve been working in a role for so long that you’ve gotten all you can out of it and there’s no more room for growth. 

Or maybe you’re in a relationship that’s not going anywhere

You find yourself wanting more out of this job, this relationship, but you’re too scared to leave your comfort zone. Your fear of the unknown is greater than your desire for change.

Similarly, we may think that we can overcome this feeling of being stuck, with time. We bury ourselves with tasks, such as work or entertainment just to distract ourselves from these issues.

But one day you may wake up and find that after ten years, you’re still stuck in the same place.

Being afraid of the unknown is natural. The path ahead is unclear and we’re unsure if this is the right decision even after talking to people and spending time researching on our own.

We will never know until we try. And yes, you may meet challenges along the way, but the good thing is that you moved from where you were.

That’s progress! 

As we grow and learn, the experiences along the way will help shape and prepare us for future challenges that won’t seem too unfamiliar anymore. 

3) You constantly overthink

pic1533 5 psychological reasons you feel stuck and how to overcome them

This is something I’m guilty of as well.

I will imagine a thousand different scenarios and make sure I’ve come up with some sort of solution to whatever challenges I can think of.

This helps me find security and comfort in knowing that I’ve ‘prepared’ myself mentally for anything that may come my way. 

Most of the time, I end up not pursuing what I wanted to do. I overanalyze and cause myself a lot of stress. In the end, I scare myself into inaction.

If you relate to this, try practicing mindfulness and catch yourself when you’re overthinking.

Before your thoughts spiral out of control, stop yourself and learn how to be present. While you may spend a really long time thinking of all the ways things can turn out wrong, there are so many other ways things could also turn out right.

It’s good to prepare yourself for various outcomes, so what I’ve tried doing is to put a time limit on this. When the time is up, then I make a decision. 

This forces me to take the next step, rather than remain in the same situation I’m in after all that thinking and ruminating.

It’ll take a while to get used to this, but with discipline, it’ll help reduce your habit of overthinking.

4) You’re a perfectionist

Sometimes, we overthink because we want everything to be perfect.

Do you beat yourself up over every single mistake – big or small – that you’ve made? Everyone else may be less affected by what you did than you. You end up making yourself feel horrible over something that may not even be that big of an issue.

And because of this, you tell yourself that if it’s not perfect, you don’t want to do it. Or that it’s not worth doing it.

It’s good to have a standard of excellence or a positive work ethic. But when this starts becoming more of an obsession, where you need everything to be perfect, it’s a cause for concern. 

Not only will this affect your mental health, it may prevent you from coming out of wherever you are.

You’ll just continue to feel stuck and remain there because you feel that you’re not good enough.

You’ll have to internalize the idea that failure is not only a normal part of life, it’s key to the learning process. If you want to achieve a better version of yourself, you’ll have instances where you fall short.

And that’s okay.

If you aren’t able to overcome this on your own, speak to someone you trust. Sometimes when we see things from a different perspective, we realize that these challenges we face are just problems that are caused by ourselves.

5) You don’t have any motivation

Maybe you don’t relate to the above points, but your issue is that you just have zero motivation.

I get it.

Taking the next step is a lot of work. It’s one thing to say that you’ll move on and another to actually do it. You’ll have to invest time and effort and even go through emotional rollercoasters. After all that, you may not even get to where you want to.

What you can do, is break up your overarching goal into small milestones. Facing a big, abstract goal can be intimidating.

Make sure to reward yourself at each milestone as well. This helps motivate you to work towards the next milestone until you’ve reached your goal.

After mapping your journey, things may seem less intimidating. You could even give yourself a tiny reward just for planning out your milestones!

Get a family member or friend to cheer you on. Share your plans with them and seek support. Rather than go at it alone, having a network you can fall back on is important especially when you go through difficult times.

You just need to take the first step.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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