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7 Strategies for Getting Unstuck

Have you ever felt stuck?

If you have, take comfort.

We all get stuck sometimes. We might find ourselves stuck in traffic, stuck in a conversation, stuck in the wrong line at the movie theater, stuck in a bad relationship pattern, stuck in a tricky work situation, etc. In fact, almost every person I have ever talked to, coached or worked with has felt stuck at one point or another – including me.

What is Stuck?

I define “stuck” as a lack of movement (forward or backward) in any situation; it is that uncomfortable and emotional feeling that we ought to be somewhere else. Generally, the feeling of stuck implies that we have been in that spot for longer than we would like. We may feel that forces beyond our control (people, work, money, relationships, etc.) are subliminally or overtly inviting us to stay in a stuck place.

We find clues about our own/others “stuck states” in repetitive patterns, behaviors and communication statements. Tune in to your repetitive thoughts. We may think, “There is nothing I can do about it.”

It is easy to forget that we have choices when we feel stuck. We always have choices.

Stuck Feels Sticky

Is there a place where you feel stuck right now? Imagine that your “stuck place” is like standing in a tub of honey. It’s gooey and messy. Standing in that tub of honey may make you feel like your movement is inhibited and/or your options are limited. You might wonder if trying to move is even worth it.

Like honey, most “stuck” states involve a sticky situation. So it’s important to recognize that stepping out of the tub will take some effort but that getting cleaned up is going to feel really good. Deciding to stay or leave a tub of honey represents a choice.

Getting Unstuck

I spend a lot of time thinking about stuck. My work involves helping people identify their stuck points and facilitating their movement out of “stuck.” I’m not going to lie to you – getting unstuck takes some effort, but it is easier than you might think. I want to encourage you that with consistent effort, self-awareness and consciousness you can initiate positive movement toward a state of unstuck in any area of your life.

Here are 7 strategies for getting unstuck.

1. Identify the stuck point.

Tune in to your “self talk.” Do you hear yourself saying, “I can’t….” or “I’m not able to….?" Do you hear yourself complaining about the same problem over and over again? Stuck is revealed in our repetitive thoughts and statements. All you have to do is “tune in” to your own words and thoughts.

2. Initiate movement.

Try physically moving yourself. Is it possible to change your patterns of interaction or your physical location? Is it possible to move faster or slower? Is a relationship blocked with non-communication? Too much communication? Make a physical change or change your point of view.

3. Exercise your right to make a choice - accept it, change it or leave it.

You may recognize these 3 choices as part of the serenity prayer. They represent every choice we have in any given situation. Sometimes feeling stuck feels like we don’t have a choice – but we do. There are three choices: accept it, change it, and leave it. Playing with these three choices in our minds – and brainstorming “change it” options with a trusted friend – can replace uncertainty with possibility.

4. Ask a friend/advisor.

If you really want to know, ask a close friend how to get unstuck – he/she will probably be able to tell you exactly what to do/try to get unstuck. A trusted friend, mentor or advisor will be able to help you brainstorm “change it” options. The question is: “What can I do to initiate positive change in this situation?”

5. Make a decision to stay.

Remember that not moving is a viable option – and it’s not an entirely bad decision if you consciously make a choice to stay in a situation vs. feeling trapped there. There’s a world of difference between the two. And if you decide to stay, consider that there may be some positive gifts or life lessons waiting for you.

6. Forgive yourself.

We all feel stuck at one time or another. If you have been stuck or are feeling stuck, forgive yourself and make a choice to initiate a positive next step. You don’t need to know all the steps – you just need the first one to get out of stuck.

7. Find the gift.

What if “stuck” was a gift that was given to us so that we could learn something important? For any situation where you may feel stuck, ask yourself any of the following questions: what is the gift in this situation; what is the lesson to be learned? I believe that when we get the lesson, I mean really get the lesson, we may not have to be stuck in the same way again. That makes me feel hopeful. There are gifts waiting for you.

There is a place of hope waiting to be revealed in every stuck feeling.

Be confident. Take action. You are a catalyst for positive change. You have tremendous potential and are capable of facilitating forward motion in any situation – if you choose.

Supporting your success and wishing you lots of forward motion.... ~Kathy~ Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. is Founder and CEO of Refreshment Zone. Kathy has more than 25 years’ experience coaching, leading and motivating others. She is author of a children’s book, Dance of the Chameleon, and is completing its adult companion book that teaches us how to reconnect with our power, passion and purpose.


At Refreshment Zone, our intention is to uplift. We are committed to offering motivation, inspiration and encouragement in all the settings where you lead – at work, at home and in your communities. We are “intentionally unconventional.” As leading edge creators in the areas of organizational and personal development, we are committed to helping you create momentum for positive change. We have some exciting plans that are unfolding right now – each one is inspired by you. My greatest wish is that you find renewed purpose, power and passion with us.

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