5 Simple Ways to Stop Feeling Stuck – Step 1: Identify and Attack Your Triggers

This is Part 1 of a series on Getting Unstuck. Read the intro here.

The first thing I did when I realized I was feeling stuck was to try and identify the tangible triggers contributing to my stuck-ness. Below are three things I did to figure out what my triggers were and change my response to them.

1. Identify Your Triggers

Before I could attack my triggers, I had to know what they were.

To clarify: By triggers, I don’t mean things like “my entire personality sucks” or “I live in a rat-infested hole in Brooklyn”—those are life factors. I was trying to identify the emotional factors playing into the feeling of being stuck. Like I mentioned in the introduction to this series, I’m not actually stuck in any area of my life right now. Job is good. Apartment is great. Relationships are solid. But despite these facts, I feel stagnant. I’m not appreciating the everyday magic of my life as much as I want to. I’m going through the motions of a routine instead of experiencing the joy of being alive. It’s annoying, to say the least.

So anyways. Triggers. Basically, I wanted to see if my stuckness had any correlations with what I was doing. Had I changed something in my life? Here’s what I came up with:

 

  1. Increase in screen time (mostly television and Instagram)
  2. Not running as much as I used to
  3. Too much sleep (more on this later in the week)
  4. Nothing to look forward to travel/social-wise because Winter is dark and full of terrors
  5. Not spending my lunch break outside

2. Make a Wellness Checklist

The second step was to identify the flipside of these negative triggers: what things do I intend to do on a daily basis that make me feel good about myself and my existence? I made a Wellness Checklist. I actually got this checklist idea from Dax Shepard’s podcast (if you haven’t listened to the episode he did with his goddess of a wife, Kristen Bell, you are unnecessarily depriving yourself of joy).

Here’s my checklist:

  1. Engage in deep conversation with someone about my problem
  2. Go for a run
  3. Write it out
  4. Spend at least 30 minutes outside
  5. Leave the house
  6. Eat some vegetables

I resolved that the next time I was feeling stuck I would run through my Wellness Checklist. If I hadn’t done something on the list I would do it and see if I felt better. Rinse and repeat.

I also decided to tackle the first item on my trigger list: screen time. For me, the problem with screen time isn’t comparison, it’s mindlessness. Most of the things I watch on TV don’t really hold my attention—so I do something else like scroll through Instagram or add yet another magical zit cure to my Amazon Wish List, resulting in double screen time. I wasn’t making a conscious choice to invest my time in these activities. It was mindless.

3. Add a step

I decided there was no better way to stop a mindless activity than with mind games. The key? Adding an extra step.

Because these are mindless activities, all I need to do to stop engaging in them is make myself actually think about them. Groundbreaking, I know.

I have a bad habit of scrolling through Instagram when I’m bored. So I deleted it off my phone. Sometimes I watch Netflix before going to sleep. So I signed out of my account.

If you watch too much TV, you could try unplugging the TV so that you’ll have to really think before turning it on. If you drink to excess, try putting your alcohol in a locked cupboard. If you constantly check your phone for notifications, try putting it in airplane mode for 30 minutes at a time.

Today’s Un-Stuck Steps:

  1. Identify your triggers

  2. Make a wellness checklist

  3. Add a step that makes mindless activities mindful

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about the list that transformed how I spend my downtime. Hope to see you there!

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3 thoughts on “5 Simple Ways to Stop Feeling Stuck – Step 1: Identify and Attack Your Triggers

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