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The Quicksand's Got Me! What to do when you're stuck

Do you ever just feel, stuck? Like you're not making any progress. You may not be moving backward, but you can't move forward. No new ideas are coming to you, no motivation, everything just feels mundane and blah. I'm not talking about depression, that's a different category, but the general feeling of stagnation. Plateauing. Whether it's work, personal, health, romance, or family related, I think everyone feels like this time and again.


So how do you handle those days? Weeks? MONTHS? Do you have a game plan for when you get stuck? Most people don't, but you should. It's like an emergency preparedness plan. You make one when you don't need it so that you have it when you do. I'll wager most folks reading this have never taken an emergency preparedness course (yes dad, I know YOU have, but most folks haven't), so you may be wondering how to even make a plan for something you don't know when or in what way it is going to occur. Well, let me give you a quick little template. You can use this template now, reflectively. Look at past situations where you plateaued. Then you'll have a guide of sorts to use next time you feel stuck in that area.


Quicksand Escape Plan


  1. Identify the area(s) of stagnation

  2. Identify your efforts thus far in said area. What has worked, what hasn't. If you're like me and have the memory of a gnat, this is a good area to keep a journal. Write down wins and struggles as they occur for future reference.

  3. Look at outside factors. You may see the area of concern as struggling at work, but if your health or family life has been in decline, that can have a direct effect on your work life and vise versa.

  4. After you've done all of this, walk away for at least an hour or two and do something completely unrelated - play a game, take a nap, go fishing, read a fiction book, take a walk, etc.

  5. Come back to your list and review it.

  6. List no more than three SMALL things you can do, starting today or tomorrow, for five out of every seven days for the next three weeks to help you get on track. This is a great time to reference any notes you've kept on what you did that helped you be successful in the past. Oh, and why only five out of seven days you may be asking? BECAUSE YOU NEED DAYS OF REST! I know the hustle is what it's all about these days, but really it's not. BALANCE. It's all about balance. You can't give anything your best if you never stop to breathe and refill your cup. This will look different for everyone. You may need to step away from work to focus on yourself or you family. You may need to set clearer boundaries for your family about when it's work time. No fitness program says to go hard at it 24/7 and no other life plan should either.

So back to the quicksand thing, do you know how to get out of quicksand? Small movement of the legs. Then rotating the body when possible to a supine position (laying on one's back). It's the little, carefully thought out efforts that get you out of the quicksand, not large grandiose efforts. And it takes time and patience, both with your environment and with yourself.


Now don't you feel prepared? What is your favorite way to reset when you feel overwhelmed or stuck?


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