ways to move forward

Ways To Move Forward When You Feel Stuck

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Alissa Christenson, MA, Psychotherapist and DBT Therapist. When you feel stuck, life can seem like it's filtered through a pair of foggy lenses. Your mind may keep drifting to the past, which limits your hope for the future and inhibits your ability to be happy in the present moment. Or you may feel like you don't know the next step to take, making the view cloudy and your perspective even more hindered. Feeling stuck can happen at any point in life and to anyone. However, there are ways to clear the fog off those lenses and start moving toward a progressive state of mind. Here are seven ways to move forward when you feel stuck.


Put pen to paper and determine why you're feeling stuck. Brain dumping is a great tool to help. Brain dumping is when you "dump" all of the contents of your brain onto paper, without filtering yourself.  It allows the pen to take over and criticisms to be set aside. Let whatever comes to you, be written down. Don’t judge your handwriting or what you're writing, and keep writing until you have nothing left to say. Reflect on your session, it may determine the root cause of why you're feeling stuck, or discover feelings you may not have been consciously aware of.

Stop Blaming Others

Part of moving forward involves accepting responsibility for your choices, along with where you are at in life. Stop playing the victim, and ask yourself how you played a role in where you are. Don’t continue wasting your precious energy blaming others for your circumstances. Accept the role you played, and continue forward. One way to help you move forward is to write a letter to a person you feel has wronged you (even if it's yourself), and then let it go. You can rip it up, or safely burn it.

Let Go of the Past

Attaching your value to the past is a sure-fire way to make us feel stuck in life. As hard as it may be, let go of the past. Unfortunately, you can’t go back in time. The past could be in the form of a person, memory, or a period of time you long for, or one you regret. In order to move forward, you need to let go of what is no longer serving you. Constantly reliving moments will keep you feeling stuck and drain your energy. While there’s no changing the past, hopefully, you learned from it. Take your lessons with you.

Re-Evaluate Your Goals

Re-evaluating your goals is a valuable tool to help you move forward when you feel stuck. Alissa Christenson, Psychotherapist and DBT Therapist at Nystrom & Associates, shares how to go about this process:
When you feel yourself getting stuck, now is a great time to re-evaluate the goals that you are wanting to achieve. Consider the progress you have already made, the progress you would like to continue to see in order to achieve your goal(s), and take time to perhaps research necessary next steps. What has been helpful for my clients is discussing control such as what are things that remain in their control versus what continues to remain out of their control in order to see what could be a barrier that is getting in the way of progress.
In addition, determine the why behind your goals. Why do you want to accomplish them? What benefits will they bring to your life? Focusing on the positive effects and the reasons behind your goals will encourage follow-through.

Switch Up Your Routine

Being in a rut can stem from repeating the same things on a daily basis. Try to switch up your routine and surround yourself with inspirational content. Start a new hobby, read a self-development book, find motivational videos online.  Read more on How Routines Benefit Your Mental Health.

Live in the Present

Stop waiting for life to be perfect for you to be happy. Saying, "Everything will be better when I get that promotion," or, "I'll be happy when I lose 10 pounds" is continuing to add fog to those lenses. Don't place conditions on your happiness. Choose to be happy now, at this moment. Placing conditions on your happiness will only create suffering, and will keep you waiting for the next condition to make you happy. Instead, surrender to the present moment and focus on what is in front of you. Doing so will make you feel connected and grounded to the here and now. Part of living in the present is focusing on what you do have in your life. Practice gratitude to shift your focus from what you think is lacking in your life, to what is a source of happiness and something to be grateful for. Read our article on How Gratitude Can Change Your Life to learn more.

Try Therapy

Want more ways to move forward when you feel stuck? Try therapy. Therapy can help you define your personal values and the direction you would like to head in through practical tools and engagement. Remember that getting "unstuck" can take time and that therapy can help you stay on track. We're here to help. Take a look through our providers or request an appointment online today.

Share this post

More From Our Blog