What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do (4 Steps to Getting Unstuck)

BeautifulSkyWe live in a world with seemingly endless opportunities. And more than ever before, we are overwhelmed by the choices available to us. Scared shitless that we might make the wrong one.

It’s not uncommon to get stuck and slowly start dreading the opportunities out there.

For me, the moment I really get that NOT making a specific decision actually is a decision in itself (i.e. the choice to stay passive), I usually find motivation to move away from stuckness.

If you’re stuck, here are way to getting unstuck.

1. Move

Movement changes everything. There is a bunch of research on how changing our physicality alter our feelings and emotional states. (e.g. difficult to feel sad if you dance to your favorite song and smile.)

Moving is also a great way to interrupt a pattern - which being stuck usually is. Put on your favorite song and dance to it. Stand up and stretch. If you find yourself starting to think negatively, do a cartwheel. Do anything!

I love the quote: ”When you least feel like it, go into nature”. I know that when I do, I feel so much better. Same with movement, it’s when you the least feel like it, that you probably need it.

2. Identify Your Strengths & Interests

The question “What are your strengths?” might be a cliche, but it’s also a golden question. All change starts with knowing who you are and where you are at.

Ask yourself these questions: What do people ask you for help about? What do you love explaining to others? Where do you find easy solutions where others don’t? What section of the newspaper do you go to first? What websites do you visit? Which section of a book store do you go to first?

7 years ago, I read a book called Strengths Finder 2.0. This book changed the way I approach career choices and in which settings I choose to spend my time. Read more about finding your strengths here.

3. Get Your Values Straight

What are values? In short, they are a framework for your priorities and what you find important in life. The basic idea is that if you live according to your values, you will think-feel and act in accordance with your true self.

What I love about values work is the framework they provide for you to make decisions. Let’s say you have come to the realization that you cannot do your best work unless your body and your energy are in a good place, so you put health as your first value. You believe that, in this time in your life, you need to step out of your comfort zone more often and grow. Value: Courage.

Like a compass, you can navigate decisions based on what you prioritize.

When you are value driven, you live more on purpose and make decisions aligned with who you are.

Here is a example list of values. I suggest going through the list, and marking the words that jump out at you. Some words are obvious and some are words you might feel you want to live by but you don’t yet. After having found 20-ish words, go through it again, more consciously this time. Which ones are truly important, and how important are they.

Personally, I have a list of 6-8 values that I revisit, re-rank and change every three months or so.

4. Look beyond yourself

When we’re stuck, we often become very introverted and go into toxic thoughts and our ego. Helping others is a great way to get out of yourself.

Offer to take your neighbor’s dog for a walk, water your friend’s plants when he’s on vacation, send a job ad to someone who is job hunting.

Send appreciation and gratitude to others. Call an old friend, send a hand-written card for someone's birthday, tell someone you love them..

The entire point of this is to stop focusing on you and serving others. There is no better feeling.

Image credit: M. Richi