When something stops working, then it’s time to change. But if it’s a habit, it’s hard to do something different. If you don’t make adjustments and you’re still not getting what you want or need, then you’re stuck in a cycle. You can get out, but if the pattern is created by your own limiting belief of how things “should” go, then you’re headed for a breakdown.
I’ve listed 34 ways to stay stuck, play the martyr, and be extremely dissatisfied with your life.
As you look at the following list, notice when you’re in this “poor me” spot.
Then I’ll show you ways to get unstuck and back into decisive action again. It takes courage and effort on your part, but when you get bogged down, you can turn a breakdown into a breakthrough and begin moving in a more powerful direction.
When you’re stuck and feeling picked on, this could be you:
- Care mostly about safety and feeling good.
- Try to figure things out by yourself.
- Keep trying to fix what is wrong with yourself.
- Focus more on fixing what is wrong with others.
- Tell stories and more stories about how things got to be this way.
- Keep sharing about how you are trying to change things.
- Try to get a little better because progress only happens in small increments, if at all.
- Come up with lots of reasons and excuses.
- Think the world and others are the cause of your problems.
- Assume there is a “right” person or situation that will make things better.
- Wait, run or hide, thinking others can’t see you or don’t love you.
- Force your life into submission.
- Seek to share how bad life is.
- Find agreement with others on how you’re doing your best.
- Seek more advice as you try to find others to rescue you.
- Develop stories that hide or twist the facts.
- Think that it’s the “stuff” in life keeps you from being your best self.
- Stay busy, busy, busy because your life is overwhelming.
- Have gathered lots of evidence that relationships are hard.
- There is pressure, problems and more problems.
- There are no declared breakdowns, only complications.
- You have proof that life is dramatic and predictable.
- Well acquainted with frustration, eye-rolling, judgment, and despair.
- Don’t expect changes.
- Believe there is no joy, no satisfaction, no power.
- Content with surprising and temporary moments of feeling good.
- Seek happy moments from external sources.
- Are not very willing to take risks.
- Keep trying to be content to get through another day.
- Be only a little victim, rather than a BIG victim.
- Believe there are few choices.
- Keep avoiding change because you think there is no freedom.
- Believe there is only injury, suffering and destruction all around.
- Above all, you stick with familiarity because it keeps you comfortable!
When you find yourself in any one of these negative loops, then you’re stuck. You’re at the effect of life. You become a victim of your circumstances. No fun, but comfortable and familiar.
And not very powerful….
Choose to Be Responsible
You have the power of choice and the ability to become responsible for how things are going in life. First, stand up and declare that you are responsible and accountable for your own stories and actions. Drop the explanations and stories you have about how you got to this place. Living in the past will only keep you stuck. Look for the one missing piece that will hold you responsible for getting into motion.
That one thing could be something as simple as more sleep, more vegetables, or less sugar. I’ve heard people say in one way or another, “If Julie weren’t on the team, we would be successful.” Or, “If only the neighbor’s dog didn’t bark all night, then I would be successful.” These things may be true, but you can be responsible for doing something about it and not make another excuse so you can stay stuck.
Declare What You Will Do and Then Do It
Making a powerful declaration could be as simple as standing up and moving your body. You can change your body chemistry literally by moving. So stand up, step out, sing a song, and do something to get your body going in a positive motion.
Focus on the ultimate success of your relationships and projects by making adjustments all along the way. Just like an airplane flying from LA to New York is always making small corrections to stay on course, reorient yourself to taking action and adjustments to keep focused on your higher goal. Explaining and protecting yourself keeps you bogged down. Instead of talking about why you can’t get to work on time, focus on a course correction by getting up 15 minutes earlier or making a smoothie instead of preparing a full breakfast.
Be the ONE
There was a group of men who stood around a grand piano. They talked and talked about how they would get the piano down off the stage.
Finally, someone suggested that they all lift where they stood. It may seem like a simple solution to an outside person looking in, but it may be easier to stand around and talk about it.
Many times it takes one person to make a suggestion and the whole project begins to have a direction and a purpose. As you work together and focused on the solution rather than the problem, the piano gets successfully moved off the stage.
Look at yourself as being the ONE who connects with others.
Your younger self assumes that others should know what you need. Not true! They’re only guessing. Have the courage to ask for what you need, suggest a solution, listen to others, and develop the course to finding solutions.
When you are well connected, you discover the gifts and strengths of yourself and others. Leaders who seek to unify create a powerful team where everyone can contribute to the success of a goal.
Tell the Truth
One man was leading a group of tourists, visiting the historical sites of Boston. He was very enthusiastic and yet never seemed to arrive at the tourist sites. He kept saying, “We will soon be there!” After hours of frustration, one of the tourists looked at the map the guide was using and found it to be a map of New York City. Turning the map upside down, or having more enthusiasm would not lead the group to the historical sites.
Rather than staying safe or trying to look good, develop the ability to tell the truth about what is happening or not happening. Be concerned with what will contribute to finding a solution. If something isn’t working, have the humility to be honest and willing to change directions.
Have the courage to ask questions as you find out the overarching goal of every situation.
Seek For the Facts
The fact is that the guide did not have a map of Boston, the city they were touring. All of us are very good at making up stories about why he didn’t have the correct map. Knowing WHY he had the incorrect map will not help the group reach their goal. Be clear on the facts. “We have a different map. Does anyone have a map of Boston?”
People will always have a story about what is happening and they like to share. Many of these stories can be demeaning of their guide. These stories get you nothing. Check to see that your evaluation is empowering, and remember that it is still your own interpretation of the facts.
Even though “if it’s to be, it’s up to me,” we don’t live in a bubble, isolated from others. We can be responsible for our own life experiences, and we have the freedom to choose. However, is not the same as feeling weighed down with blame and obligation. Real personal responsibility isn’t even about taking or giving credit. It’s all about moving toward the next pertinent action, leaving you empowered to be the author of your own life story.
The first step is to simply become more aware of the times when you are feeling like a victim. We all get stuck. I’ve only listed 45 limiting stories, but there are hundreds, and each of them is unique. Declare powerfully as you focus on what you decide is your idea of success. Be the one who tells the truth and seeks to find the facts that draw you to the next appropriate action.
True freedom is a stand to be responsible for your life experiences. You now have the freedom to act. This is great news!
What will you do to practice being more response-able and empowered in your life?