A study of 2,000 people found that 69 percent feel trapped in the same old routine and over 40 percent are generally unhappy with their lives because of it. (1)
In this article, I’m going to outline the three main reasons that people get stuck in the first place, give you the three ways to get unstuck and provide you with practical examples of your next steps so you can live a life of endless personal growth.
But first, why is “getting unstuck” even that important? Especially if I’m comfortable here…
According to Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, the greatest regret people had when they were in their death bed was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” She goes on to write: (4)
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Many people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”
The goal here is to not wait until our last days to realize our potential and regret the way we lived our lives. God has created each and every one of us for some form of greatness, whether it is to be the best 3rd grade teacher possible, the quickest and most accurate delivery driver, or the next President of the United States – either way, it is our responsibility to find that out and figure out how to get there.
The 3 main reasons why people get stuck:
According to recent research, less than 3% of Americans have written goals, and less than 1% review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis. (3)
The primary reasons people don’t set goals is because they don’t know how, they’re scared of failure, or they’re just not serious enough.
Studies show that under 25% of us actually stick to New Year’s Resolutions after 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them. Clearly, there’s something wrong with how we are setting goals.
Because most of us just don’t know how to do it. Brian Tracy, self-development author and a goal-setting expert says, “One of the greatest tragedies of our educational system is that you can receive 15 to 18 years of education in our schools and never once receive a single hour of instruction on how to set goals.”
Most people think growth is linear, assuming they can only grow in one way at one time. Then they get stuck on it.
For example, if you’re trying to get a promotion, you dial into the lifestyle it takes to get that promotion and forsake everything else. Or if you’re trying to lose weight, you do a mediocre job at work, maybe hang with your friends when it’s convenient, but give your fitness goals 100% of your attention.
The problem with this is that we stay there, and even once we’ve reached our goal, we don’t think to diversify until we’ve sunk into the depressive state of being stuck again.
Now that we’ve covered the bad news and the not-so-fun statistics, here’s the good news: you can change.
Getting unstuck isn’t that hard; I promise. It’s just a few simple steps. You can live a life of greatness, fulfill your potential, and be happy doing it. And most importantly, you can start right now. Not next Monday, next month or next January.
Here are the 3 Ways to Get Unstuck and Stay There Forever:
In an earlier article I wrote, 7 Life Hacks to Mastering Work-Life Balance (5), I wrote about the four main quadrants of focus in life: Family, Business, Health, and Hobbies.
Although what falls in these quadrants may be different for you than it is for me, I still think everyone’s life should have these 4 main areas of focus in which you can grow.
Within each quadrant, there are sublevels of focus.
Q: What can you do today to grow in any of these family relationships?
Q: What can you do today to grow in any of these business-related areas?
Side note: I look at health in three ways: physical, mental/psychological and spiritual.
Q: What can you do today to grow in any of these health-related areas?
Q: What can you do today to grow in any of these personal hobbies?
S-M-A-R-T goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. (6)
For example, if you know you are overweight, instead of saying this:
Say this: I want to lose 20 pounds this year (relevant and specific). I am going to lose 1 pound a week by exercising 3 times a week and watching what I eat (measurable and achievable), and by December (time-bound), I will reach my goal.
I like to set 3 types of goals: Personal (Family and Health), Professional (Business) and Play (Hobbies).
This one is the easiest one, which is good and bad. It’s good because it takes very little work, but it’s bad because it’s the easiest to not do. It seems so unimportant over time, but don’t be fooled, it’s the biggest step.
As promised, here are some practical examples:
Even after doing all of this, you are still going to find areas where, even when you are trying your hardest, you will get stuck. When trying to lose weight, you’ll reach a plateau. When you’ve got the promotion, what’s next?
The main point is you can always grow. Once you hit that plateau or reach that goal, look at everything else. If you have outlined all the areas in all four quadrants, then you should easily be able to recognize an area where you can grow, and a strategy to do so. Life will always have its ups and downs, it’s highs and lows. It is your responsibility to focus on what you can control, and make the best out of whatever season you are in.