How to Move Forward (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

At some point in our lives, we've all felt stuck. Maybe you're stuck right now. When this happens, it can feel impossible to continue working toward your goals and dreams.

Perhaps you're feeling stuck while working on a creative project, such as writing an article or painting a piece of art. Maybe you started a new business, took on a large project at work, or started a new health or fitness regimen. Your initial excitement has worn off, and you're now stuck, confused, or overwhelmed about how to move forward.

This post may contain some affiliate links to products that I use and love. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Perhaps you're completely stuck. You feel trapped in a job you despise, a failing relationship, a mountain of debt, or a life that bears little resemblance to the one you imagined.

We all want to throw in the towel and give up from time to time, but don't.

Whether you're feeling a little stuck or like you're stuck in dry concrete, trying to make a small or large decision, or wondering what you're doing with your life, these ten strategies can help you keep moving forward.

1. Take a deep breath and take a step back

When you're stuck, your first step forward is to take a step back. We frequently try to get unstuck by pushing forward with brute force or simply trying harder. However, as Einstein stated,

“No problem can be solved by operating at the same level of consciousness that created it.”

(((Instant Book Preview of How to Move Forward When the Unthinkable Happens)))

Assess your current situation from a new perspective to reach a higher level of thinking. This is the first thing I ask clients who are stuck to do when I work with them.

I ask them to consider where they are, what brought them here, and what they truly desire. When you take a step back from your life, career, and challenges, you see things from a different perspective.

Now it's your turn:

  • Assume you're lost in the woods. You could continue forward, looking for a way out. You could become panicked and go in circles. You could return the way you came.
  • Instead, imagine that you could pause, take a deep breath, and zoom out from your current situation. Imagine flying above it all in a helicopter and looking down at yourself among the trees.
  • What could you see or notice differently from this vantage point – a different path, people to support you, a way out that is closer than you thought?
  • Another way to zoom out is to consider your situation as if you were a neutral observer. Consider yourself a fly on the wall, observing your life. What observations or advice would you give to yourself?

2. Become Specific

It is difficult to move forward until you fully comprehend why you are stuck. You must be specific in order to determine what is truly going on. To tame it, you must first name it.

  • As one of my great mentors once said,
  • “A well-defined problem has a solution of its own.”

For example, there are significant differences between saying, “I feel stuck,” and saying, “I feel stuck because I'm overwhelmed with details” or “I feel stuck because I'm worried about what people will think of me.” When you name it, you have a better chance of taming it and moving forward.

“What's getting in the way?” is one of the most important questions I ask clients. When they respond, the following question is always, “What else?” We keep going down this path until we feel we've gotten to the bottom of the problem (s).

Now it's your turn:

  • Look for the underlying issues that are getting in your way and preventing you from moving forward. You can accomplish this by journaling, speaking with someone who knows you well, or simply asking yourself these questions.
  • When you name it, perhaps the solution will appear and tame itself.

3. Rediscover Your Why

When you're stuck, it's usually because you've lost sight of the big picture and what's important. You've forgotten why you're doing what you're doing.

(((Instant Book Preview of How to move forward in 3 to 5 Business Days)))

Why did you get started in the first place? What factors, values, or passions compelled you to make this life change? What image do you have of yourself, your company, and your life?

Reminding yourself of your original intention and purpose provides intrinsic motivation to get back on track and move forward.

Connecting to your deeper “why” will be the fuel that keeps you going even when things get tough.

Now it's your turn:

Grab a journal and ask yourself, “Why is this important to me?” whatever you're stuck on right now. What prompted me to begin this in the first place? What am I attempting to accomplish here, and why is this important to me?

Join the Fast-Track Class – Activate Your Motivation, and the free focused-session will help you figure out this “why,” as well as help you build your motivation drive and stay motivated at all times. Now is the time to sign up for the free class!

4. Consider Your Options

We frequently feel stuck because we don't see a way out of our current situation — we believe we lack the necessary skills to begin opening new doors and furthering our personal development.

(((Instant Book Preview of Reinventing Your Business Workbook)))

By generating new ideas and possibilities, you broaden your mind and prepare yourself to find a new solution. When you can see potential options, you will no longer feel trapped.

This isn't about deciding on one thing or making the best decision; it's about allowing your creative mind to expand and see all of the possible outcomes. We frequently jump right into finding the right one and discard anything that doesn't feel quite right.

That is why so many people feel trapped. They are looking for the next perfect job, the best way to handle a situation, or the one perfect idea. This can result in a great deal of stress and analysis paralysis.

What new potential careers come to mind if you despise your current job? Make a list of all of them, including the ones that seem unrealistic or silly.

What can you do if you're unhappy in your relationship? There are probably a lot more options than you've thought of. What exactly are they?

Now it's your turn:

  • Make a list of options for your current situation, no matter how crazy or “out there” they are.
  • When you think you've exhausted all possibilities, ask yourself, “What other options are there?” This allows you to delve deeper and discover ideas you might not have discovered otherwise.
  • Then, and only then, can you begin to chart a course forward.

5. Take a Mental Break

To be honest, I stole this strategy from my 7-year-old daughter's second-grade teacher.

(((Instant Book Preview of Shattered by Suicide, Renewed by Resilience)))

I was helping my daughter with her homework the other night. She was getting frustrated and didn't know what to write in a letter to her best friend. She was about to cry when she looked up and asked, “Mom, can I take a brain break?”

She rose from her seat at the table and went downstairs to her room to play with her stuffed animals. When she returned upstairs a short time later, she was overjoyed and jumped right into her writing.

When we're stuck, we could all use a mental break. Shifting our focus allows our brains to relax; it relieves stress, allowing us to return with a clear mind and new perspective.

When we take a mental break, it refreshes our thinking and allows us to come up with another solution to a problem or see a situation from a different perspective. The brain break actually aids in the incubation and processing of new information.

Doing something physical that gets you in flow is a great way to take a mental break. Take a walk around the block, a hike, or a run. Meditation is another well-known brain break that has so many proven benefits that I can't even begin to list them all.

Now it's your turn:

  • What types of mental breaks can you give yourself? Which would be the most beneficial? It's no longer just for second graders.
  • Here are some suggestions: 21 Insightful Brain Break Ideas to Increase Productivity

6. Get Rid of What Isn't Working

Have you ever walked through mud and had your boot become stuck, causing your foot to fly out? When this happens, you usually have two options: either put your boot back on and keep plodding through, repeating the frustration as it gets stuck again and again, or you can remove that boot and move forward.

(((Instant Book Preview of A Loving Weaning)))

The same holds true in real life. When we get stuck, we frequently stay in the mud and try to drag our boot along with us. We continue to do what clearly isn't working. The boot represents limiting beliefs, old habits, or self-defeating stories.

Remember in the film “Up” when Mr. Fredricksen tries to make his house fly? It was overly heavy. He had to empty his possessions until the house was light enough to lift off.

The same is true here; you must let go of the emotional baggage you are carrying in order to take small steps forward and achieve your goals.

Take, for example, my client *Lucy. She was having difficulty finding a job that piqued her interest. We discovered that Lucy held an intriguing belief: that having a job and being happy were mutually exclusive.

This meant she'd either be jobless and happy or employed and unhappy. To move forward in her job search, she needed to remove this “boot” and believe she could find a job where she could be happy.

Now it's your turn:

  • Is it an old habit, a limiting belief, or a story you tell yourself that is holding you back? How can you reframe your thinking to change the course of your life?
  • Use this Worksheet For Instant Motivation Boost to assist you in determining all of the answers. Get your free worksheet by clicking here.

7. Understand What You Need to Get Unstuck

We all have our own distinct way of doing things. When you understand how you're wired, you'll be able to pinpoint exactly what you need to do to get unstuck.

For me, I need a crystal-clear picture of what I'm attempting to accomplish as well as a large, measurable goal to strive for. When I don't have a clear picture of the end result or the difficult target I'm attempting to meet, I become stuck and unmotivated.

Here are some examples of common requirements:

A step-by-step plan for understanding why something is important, deadlines and impending pressure, unconditional encouragement and support, the ability to think things through, connect to a deeper meaning, freedom, flexibility, and certainty.

Do you identify with any of these?

Now it's your turn:

What are you going to need to get unstuck? Consider what will assist you in being your best self and working through your problems. It could be a step-by-step plan, deadlines, a support system, or a connection to a greater meaning.

Change Your State

Instead of focusing all of your attention and energy on the problem, redirect your attention and energy to another aspect of your life. Go do something that makes you happy, or spend time with someone you care about.

Do anything to change your state of mind and mood. This will reverse your downward cycle of doom and gloom and replace it with an upward cycle of hope and possibility.

Practicing gratitude is an excellent way to shift your emotional state away from negative emotions. So you despise your job. Practice being grateful in other areas of your life. Does it provide for your family or allow you to work from home?

I'm not saying you should stay in a job you despise; I'm simply suggesting that you gain some perspective. A state shift instills energy, hope, and positivity in your mind, which are essential for breaking free from the dreaded stuck cycle.

Now it's your turn:

What consistently puts you in a good mood? What brings you happiness, joy, or fulfillment? Do it, and remember to be grateful. Try this: for the next week, write down three things you are grateful for each morning.

9. Get Started

Taking action is essential for getting unstuck. Momentum can never be replaced. Inactivity creates inertia, self-doubt, and confusion, whereas action creates inertia, self-doubt, and confusion.

Successful people understand this, which is why they constantly push themselves outside of their comfort zone.

Simon Sinek's quote is one of my favorites:

“When we consider everything we have to do, we become overwhelmed. We make progress if we only do the one thing that needs to be done.”

My client Marcus (not his real name) had recently changed careers and was about to launch his own wellness business. What's the biggest stumbling block in his path? Inertia.

The more he thought about what he was going to do, the more daunting the task became. The more he thought about the risks, challenges, and his long to-do list, the more he felt overwhelmed. He was stymied.

However, once he took action, beginning with small victories, he gained momentum and was able to move forward and tackle larger and more difficult steps. He was on a roll once he broke through his inaction.

My grandfather always said, “A path leads to another path.” We don't know what the future holds, and attempting to figure it all out before we begin is a recipe for disaster.

Recognize that a path will begin to lead us down new paths, but you must first begin walking.

Now it's your turn:

  • What is the next step you can take to progress? Where can I get a quick win?
  • When considering your first (or next) step, keep it small and attainable in order to get the momentum going.

10. Seek Assistance

When we're stuck, we could all use a little assistance. Talking to a good friend who knows and understands you, or reaching out for advice from someone who has been in a similar situation to yours, could be helpful.

Hiring a coach who will ask powerful questions to help you see things from a different perspective, a therapist who can uncover hidden roadblocks, or a consultant to share opinions and experiences could all be beneficial.

When you're alone, it can feel hopeless, overwhelming, and downright impossible. However, a gentle push or pull from someone can quickly alter your course.

While this appears to be one of the simplest strategies, it is actually one of the most difficult to implement. Why? Even though we are biologically programmed to help one another, many of us find it difficult to reach out.

This is for a reason:

“Asking for help exposes us to a plethora of potential social threats, which is why it is so unsettling. It can feel like an unspoken admission of weakness, which lowers our status and invites scorn. It creates uncertainty and opens the door to rejection.”

Now it's your turn:

  • Could you benefit from seeking assistance in this situation? Who can you turn to for assistance right now?
  • Not quite ready to reach out to someone? You could try asking the universe. Some refer to this as prayer, while others refer to it as spiritual guidance or faith. Reach out, whatever you want to call it.
  • Are you afraid to ask for help? Here's how to shift your perspective and aim higher!

Related Posts

Lofty Goals: If you're prepared and willing to work hard, you will accomplish all of your lofty goals. The first step is to accept the fact that you will have to work hard and you will have to work often. Set a schedule for yourself and stick with it. Working hard is something that comes with the territory. Staying focused is another way to see success. It will be easy to get distracted, so be careful. Ask for help if you need some. You can always ask someone that has had success at what you're trying to accomplish. Lastly, don't forget to celebrate! Find a way to reward yourself for all of the hard work and dedication you've put in. Read more.

How to Enjoy Life: Living life is not just about living it. Living life is about experiencing it to the fullest. The experience you have today will have an impact on the experience you have tomorrow. The more you do, the more you do. The more you experience, the better you get at experiencing. Read more.

Obstacles in Life: Life is full of obstacles. Obstacles can be a challenge, but they can also be a blessing. Obstacles push us to be better. Thank a few of the obstacles in your life for either a) helping you or b) teaching you what not to do. Read more.

How to Get Your Mind Off Something: This is not an easy thing to do. Especially if the task is to get over something. It could be a person, a habit, or an addiction. It doesn't matter though. The only thing that will help you is to distract yourself. Everyone has something to distract themselves with. Maybe it's the television, maybe it's a game, maybe it's a hobby, or maybe it's other people. The important thing is that it works. Take the phone away, leave the house, take a shower, leave your hometown, or go to the other side of the world. It may be painful at first, but you'll get through it. After all, you're stronger than you think. Read more.

Stop Being Negative: Negative people can be annoying. It's important to remember that whatever they're going through, it's probably not as bad as it seems to them. For example, if they're worried about losing weight, it could be physiological. They might not know about the negative influence their hormones have on their weight. Or, they could just be upset that they can't eat that delicious cake that they see at the bakery. Take the time to learn about their problems and become a positive influence in their life. It's not easy, but it will make them feel better and hopefully pass on your positive attitude. Read more.

↓Free Ebook↓

You have heard it all before: "Live life to the fullest", "follow your dreams", "be who you are" and "if it is meant to be, it will be". These are all wonderful quotes that are meant to help you live a happy life but they miss the point. Our lives are interconnected with each other and with the world.

No matter how hard you think you try, there’s always going to be a certain level of stress in your life. And when stress gets out of hand, it can start to negatively affect your life. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are some easy steps you can take to improve your life in the long run, and we’ve found a few that can help you enjoy a better life and get rid of stress.

Free Ebook