How to get unstuck in life

Follow the 5 “L”s to help you move forward in your life.

Photo by Catalin Pop on Unsplash

We all have moments where we feel “stuck” or in limbo. Unsure of how to push past obstacles or create something new, it is in these times we must step back and look at what is needed to grow.  

We age, change careers, homes, relationships, beliefs, values and so on — we’re constantly changing. New experiences that result from these changes are part of moving through life, but what if there is no change where we really want a change?  For example, trying to change some inner thoughts, behaviours, and patterns we’ve established over the years that seem to now hold us back from the vision of who we want to become.    

As someone who struggled with being “stuck” in unhealthy patterns in my relation to food and my body, I have learned to approach change in a more simplified manner and allowed for space in creating a new belief system. 

I have found these 5 “L” guidelines helpful in targeting those established patterns and behaviours. After determining those areas in your life that need to move forward, advance, and progress, the list below may prove helpful.  

1: Letting Go – Wow, this is hard at times. Perhaps we can’t move ahead because we are angry, disappointed, bitter, jealous, etc. over something or someone in the present or in our past. Learning to let go can be hard for many of us.  

For myself this means simply pausing and taking a deep breath, acknowledging some past or present hurt, and making the choice to let go, even though I don’t feel like it. But, I know that letting go will allow me to move past whatever is consuming me negatively. This is “inner work.” If I don’t fix things that bother me internally, then they manifest externally, which causes even more problems. For example: “What is really bothering you?” — may be a question someone has asked you following an outburst, or over the top response that was expressed (we’ve all been there!).

2: Labor – Do the work. This step follows letting go which is like so much in life, a paradox. We let go and then we labor! It is after letting go of those things that are consuming us that we can then turn to do the work we need to do.  

Once we take the first step, change does happen. It is the day-to-day stuff of life that moves us forward: doing our best, being honest, and taking responsibility for our actions. This can mean being better at work, kinder in our relationships, more forgiving at times to ourselves and others, and keeping to commitments rather than giving up. It’s about whatever you want to change and planning and implementing those steps.

3: Lion-Hearted – Taking those first few steps takes courage. Once we take the first steps though, change does happen. Though it may seem like a simple first step to begin, it requires that we embrace the unknown, whether it be in something or someone we have neglected, our own selves, family, friends, career, travel, hobbies — taking the first step and courageously moving forward to who and what we want to do and be. I like to share my “courage” with close family and friends.  There is something about making it a statement, a stand for what we want to be and do that compels and further emboldens our intentions to actions.  

4: Learn – Wherever we are going in life and whatever areas we wish to improve, enjoy more, and support others, we need to keep learning. It seems that those who continue in life through middle age to senior years with a zest for life are those who humbly acknowledge they need to keep learning, whether that is formal education, or learning in more relaxed settings. Lifelong learning is our best goal, as it keeps life fun and more interesting. We all have those slightly older or elderly people in our lives who have inspired us with their continued enthusiasm for learning and life.  

We ourselves can get “unstuck” in life by learning to be interested in what someone else is interested in. It is inspiring to learn from others what they are learning, and though we may never pursue a certain hobby, connecting with others on what matters to them is a gift.  Change can happen when you are open to what you can learn, and what others can teach us — and that covers a lot!

5: Love – This is a cliché statement, to just love yourself and others. However, it is very true that love holds everything together. What would it mean to love myself in figuring out the best job, relationship, where I live, how I spend my free time, etc.? This may require some more inner work and support from others. Will it mean I stay or leave a career? Keep or abandon certain friendships and relationships? It is a navigation in determining what is best and how to care for ourselves and others through the fun and not so fun times.  

Every day is a choice in how we live and how we choose those opportunities that allow us to move forward. It is often what we don’t know that provides the most surprising opportunities and possibilities. What will they be?  

The past 2 years have taught us there are a lot of unknowns and that very difficult days may be on the horizon. We have very little control. But we do have control over how we respond to these unknowns.  

Letting go of that which I cannot control, as well as doing the work in my own daily life, and finding the courage to begin those new beginnings, in any area of my life are key. For those unknown difficult days, I go back to my 5 “L” guidelines. I have found them to be a foundation for not only those optimistic times, but for those uncertain, unsettled days too. 

Discover More: Check out this inspiring article on opening your heart.