Do you feel stuck with your health goals? Maybe you’ve set a goal to eat healthier or exercise more, but you don’t feel like you’re making progress. This feeling of being stuck or in a rut can happen to everyone. However, if it persists, it can lead to self-doubts and self-judgments that can hinder your progress.
You may feel less motivated or have trouble getting started on projects or tasks. Feeling like you’re doing the same things without progressing can also leave you feeling uninspired and unfulfilled.
Sometimes when we’re feeling stuck, we wait for things around us to change, but that gives us less control over our actions. Fortunately, you can create change from within yourself, take control back, and become unstuck.
Identify Why You Feel Stuck
Everyone feels bored and uninspired at times. However, you can usually work through these moments by relying on the healthy habits and routines you’ve established. These habits can help make sure you’re staying on track with your exercise, weight loss, or other health goals. But when we get stuck, it can be harder to shake off the feeling.
If you find yourself dreading your workouts or repeatedly having to drag yourself to the gym after doing these activities successfully, you will want to take time to get to the source of the problem.
To identify what’s contributing to the problem, consider exploring these questions:
- Has anything changed recently? For example, if you’re dreading going to the gym, did something happen recently like a favorite instructor who left.
- Are your thoughts or beliefs holding you back? For instance, are you finding yourself thinking that you can’t or spending time thinking about past attempts that weren’t as successful?
- Are concerns about what will happen if you do successfully complete your goals interfering with your progress? Sometimes when you’re focusing on making changes, it can impact those around you. Occasionally, positive changes can cause unanticipated problems. For instance, if you change the way you cook for you and your family, your family may initially express frustration about missing favorite meals or foods, even though they don’t fit your new health goals. If you tend to hold in your emotions and frustrations, you may be unknowingly holding yourself back on your goals instead of talking through the concerns together with your family.
- Are you feeling bored and unsure about how to make your new habits more fun? When you’re working towards a healthy lifestyle, adding in fun activities or strategies can increase your motivation and make healthy habits stick.
During this process, be honest with yourself but don’t judge or criticize yourself or minimize your feelings. Your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions are important. Also, try not to discount or minimize your experience, since telling yourself that you don’t have the right to feel this way can be counterproductive.
Feeling unsatisfied can be a signal that you are looking to make a change even if your life is okay overall. By exploring your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings openly and acknowledging them, you’ll be able to gain insights that can move you forward and get you unstuck.
What You Can Do to Get Unstuck
Once you understand your feelings, thoughts, or events that may be contributing to feeling stuck, you can explore ways to get yourself moving forward. Sometimes talking with a trusted friend can also help you identify what’s holding you back and give you insight into what can help you move forward with your goals again. Here are some additional ideas that may help.
1. Look to Past Successes
You may find that a small habit or mindset that you successfully used in the past can help you now. These types of adjustments can often get you moving forward again quickly since you know the strategy has helped you before.
2. Beat Boredom by Changing Up Your Routines
If you’re feeling uninspired by your workouts or what you’re eating, try changing things up. Branch out and try a new kind of exercise, contact a friend to workout with, try a different gym, or try exercising at a different time of day. If you’re feeling bored of the same foods, try a new recipe or watch a free online video on a new healthy cooking technique. Incorporate new types of foods or ask your family or a friend to cook with you one day.
3. Remind Yourself of Why You’re Working Towards a Healthier Lifestyle
It’s hard to keep doing the same things when we lose sight of our reason or purpose, especially if you’re struggling. Knowing that you’re working toward something worthwhile can help you push through the difficult moments.
4. Focus on the Small Things
When you’re working on creating a healthier lifestyle, it’s easy to lose sight of the smaller progress that you’re making. Make time to acknowledge and notice the improvements and smaller steps you’ve made toward your larger goal. Perhaps you now eat breakfast every day, so you avoid grabbing unhealthy, high-calorie snacks mid-morning. Maybe you now walk every evening after dinner.
Once we’ve made new habits part of our regular routine, we can lose perspective on what we’ve accomplished. Take time to remind yourself of how far you’ve come. This can reinvigorate you and help you get unstuck.
5. Make Peace with Mistakes
Do you struggle with perfectionism? Some people may feel stuck if they feel they can’t achieve their goals or complete tasks as well as they want.
Having high standards can be helpful by allowing us to persevere when faced with difficulties. However, if your standards are so high that you’re never satisfied, your perfectionist tendencies may hold you back if you’re worried about making a mistake.
If you find yourself stuck due to perfectionism, switch your focus to completing tasks, making progress, and giving your best effort even if you make mistakes. Mistakes are often opportunities to learn and grow, which can also help motivate you to keep working toward your goals.
You Can Get Unstuck With a Little Patience and Effort
Feeling stuck and like you’re not moving toward your health goals can be frustrating. The more you understand what is contributing to your feelings, the easier it is to find strategies to help you get unstuck.
Sometimes small changes or encouragement from friends are what you need to help fuel your motivation and get you back on track. However, if you feel that you’re not just stuck but experiencing feelings of depression, consider talking with a professional, your doctor, or a free helpline, so you can start feeling better and moving forward.