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3 Reasons We Get “Stuck” In Life – And How to Bounce Back Strong

By Dr. Steve G. Jones
Clinical Hypnotherapist

It was Dana Arcuri who said that: “When we are stuck in a rut we are being invited to grow and expand.”

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Wise saying. But do we always do that?

Your answer is as good as mine.

For what we usually do is what an African proverb warns against: “Don’t turn where you fell at into a bed.”

The story of Alex and his girlfriend Kate

I wished Alex had known that.

Alex is the kind of guy that everyone couldn’t help liking. In effect, he was always in between jobs and was always broke. Yet all his family and friends could say about him were only good things.

His girlfriend, Kate, thinks genuinely that he is the sweetest guy one could have in the whole world. But patience we know has limits. So over the years, she grew more and more exasperated with Alex.

One thing is sure.

Kate loved Alex in what concerns his personality. But what worried her was that he always found it difficult taking responsibility for his own life. This made Kate felt stuck in an unsavory situation where she has to bail Alex out of one trouble after another.

But one day things came to a head as they were bound to do under such situations.

Alex got into an accident. In effect, his car skidded off the road and ended up in a ditch. Luckily for him, he only suffered a few broken ribs. But his leg was in a cast for 3 months.

Matters would have been otherwise had it been Alex’s own car. The bad news was that it was actually Kate’s car Alex had borrowed to have a night out with his friends.

Needless to say, Kate was utterly upset.

Don’t get things wrong. It wasn’t because of the car. A car can be repaired or replaced. But the fact was that Alex’s irresponsibility almost got him killed. And you don’t have to be told that life is irreplaceable.

Although the poor girl took care of Alex for the next several months, she had already decided by then to break up with him.

So after Alex recovered from his accident, this obliged him to take a long, good and hard look at himself and the choices that he made. Things didn’t look too good for him.

This was when he realized that something had to change. It dawned on him that at best he was always going to be where he was or worse lose his sweetheart if he didn’t do something about his lifestyle.

But no matter one’s will, old habits are not easy to break, we are told. But where there is a will there is a way, we also know. In other words, all hope is not lost.

How to Break Free From a Less-Than-Ideal Life

Like Alex, many people lose their direction in life and feel trapped.

You might have a fuzzy idea of the person you want to be – or the kind of life that you want for yourself…

…but you don’t really know how to make that happen.

This is where destructive feelings of dissatisfaction come from.

But there is good news. You can, in fact, get out of the rut you’re stuck in – even if you feel the complete opposite. Yes, you can, let me assure you.

3 Reasons why you feel trapped

But if you feel like you can’t move forward in life, chances are that this has something to do with the 3 following reasons:

  • You don’t know what you want
  • You don’t know how to get it
  • You’re getting in your own way

Let’s see them in some detail:

Reason #1. You Don’t Know What You Want

Don't give up! written on a piece of paper with leaves up and down it
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Like the picture above, most people don’t realize that they could be so much closer to their ideal future if only they spent real time thinking about what that future actually means.

Instead, they only have a vague, nebulous idea of the things that they want. However, without a clear idea of what to aspire for, those plans and goals will be just as half-baked.

Therefore, you need to have a well-defined idea of what your “Point B” is – a.k.a. Where you want to be…

Strangely, it is…

…work your way back to “Point A”, which is nowhere than where you are now.

What does this mean?

What this means is simple.

You have to have a well-defined “Point B” before you can start plotting your course towards that destination.

To help you with that, here are some questions that you need to ask yourself:

  • What kind of values do I live for? Is it truth, helping others, creating beauty in the world, adding value to other people’s lives, etc.?
  • In what way do I express these values in my personal life, and in my work?
  • What kind of problems do I want to solve, and how does this honor my values?
  • What would a typical day in my ideal future look like? Who am I with, and what kind of problems am I solving, and how do I add value to the world?

Take it from me that it’s very much worth your while sitting down and answering these questions as truthfully as you can. You have to be as detailed as you can and also describe any emotional details.

In effect, the clearer you can paint this picture, the better sense of PURPOSE you’ll have in your life! So do it.

And this is the perfect antidote to feeling “stuck.”

Reason #2. You Don’t Know How to Get It

Like fatality, a lot of folks tend to just accept their situation as it is and get used to feeling stuck.


It is because often they have been so beaten down that they felt like there’s nothing to do but give up. In other words, they have been used to giving up instead of confronting their situation head on.

Sometimes you can’t blame them so much.

These unfortunate folks become desperate and end up believing that there’s really nothing else for them to do about their situation. It’s like they are trapped in an endless tunnel with no light to look forward to.

What they don’t realize is that instead of being caught between fear and despair, what they really lack is a solid plan to get out of the rut they’re in. That’s why they never achieve the escape velocity to overcome the gravity of their situation, so to say.

Worse, they’re so paralyzed by their situation that they’re afraid to come up with a plan in the first place. Treading water and staying afloat is a lot less scary than trying to move forward and fail.

This may make you feel good in the short run. But nobody escaped such a situation without really doing something radical about it.

Rather, “protecting” yourself from failure has far worse consequences in the long run than making a plan to get un-stuck. So…

Here’s a good way to get the ball rolling:

  • Get your plan in place: after you’ve spent time figuring out what you want to do (i.e., your Point B), the next step is to translate that desire into an actionable plan. From here you can come up with smaller goals leading up to your Point B.
  • Use the SMART approach:
    any goals you make should be Specific (well-defined), Measurable
    (it can be measured in some way), Attainable (it’s actually possible to make accomplish those goals), Relevant (it’s connected to your values and sense of purpose) and Time-based (there’s enough time to execute your plans and there’s a definite timeline)
  • Create checkpoints: any plan should run on a schedule, and that means setting up goalposts on your way to your Point B. So you can break down that big goal into smaller goals, which can each be represented by a specific checkpoint. That way, you’ll have a sense of progress as you reach each checkpoint.
  • Get a planner: the act of writing down your goals on a planner will make your plans feel more tangible and doable. It will also give you a better sense of urgency since you’ll need to schedule your goals on a weekly and monthly basis.

This is a sort of a bird’s eye view of the “getting what you want” process. Instead of being “just a view”, it is a great way to overcome your inertia and keep moving forward.

Reason #3. You’re Getting in Your Own Way

Who me?

Yes, you.

You may not admit it but that’s exactly what you’re doing.

Here’s the other thing. Take it from me that you’re going to butt into a lot of obstacles trying to move from Point A to Point B.

But I’m sure you probably know this already. For if you feel stuck in some way, it’s nothing more than a clear sign you’re having a hard time getting over those obstacles.

And the biggest reason people can’t move forward is that one feels comfortable not asking the hard questions.

But as uncomfortable as it is to grapple with these questions…

…there is no best way than that to dismantle those formidable barriers getting in your way of a better life.

That said, it’s worth sitting down and asking yourself the following questions:

  • “Which of my habits aren’t serving my true purpose?” – The things that you do repeatedly only serve one of two purposes: they are either helping you get what you want, or are impeding your progress.

So, now that you’re sitting down to it, make a list of the habits that contribute positively to your ultimate goals and those that impede them. With a little humility and some self-awareness, you’ll figure out which habits you need to nurture to grown – and which to starve to death.

  • “What thought patterns are making it harder for me to succeed?” – More than just daily habits, it’s also worth your while thinking about the kind of mindset you have when taking on life’s challenges.

For example, do you easily throw up your hands and give up when you come up against a wall – or do you agilely pivot and try a different approach?

Do you handle frustration well, or do you characteristically blow every setback out of proportion? Do you waste your time and annoy others complaining, or do you rather get busy taking action?

Take it from me. Answering these questions truthfully will give you good indicators of whether or not your mindset could use some tweaking.

Unfortunately this particular area is a HUGE sticking point that most people don’t even bother to address.

They might have a good idea of what they want and have a general plan in place to obtain it. But if their own mindset is working against them, it’s going to be a very tough uphill battle.

How to Bounce Back and Rise Above Life’s Challenges

Let’s go back to Alex.

He was in a rut alright, but he wanted to bounce back from his bad situation.

So he went through the process of figuring out what he wanted.

Actually Alex is a great musician and played guitar in a band. But just like people in his situation, he’d let that part of his life slide. But like the proverbial going back to pick up the pieces, for the longest time, Alex wanted to get back into it by teaching young kids to play music.

Habits being difficult to break, he’d always find some way to talk himself out of it. He convinced himself it was too hard and not really worth it. Instead, it was safer to just work the odd part-time job here and there to pay the rent.

You recognize this situation?

Typical, isn’t it?

But finally, Alex realized he needed a major mindset upgrade. He saw that it was the only way he could actually push through with his plans.

So as he put in the necessary work to make his plans happen, Alex also tried something else.

What did he do?

He started looking inward and removed the unhealthy beliefs and negative thought patterns that were holding him back. And when he finally figured out how to reprogram his mindset, everything began to fall into place for Alex like a jigsaw puzzle.

Alex was shocked to see that it was actually easier than he had thought. Not surprisingly, sooner rather than later, he managed to get out of his rut and reinvent himself.

And sure as you’re reading these lines, Alex is enjoying his great life again doing what he loves: playing music in a band and transmitting his skills to kids.

And so can you too if this sounds like your life right now.

You know, it’s never too late to be what you might have been – George Elliot

CLICK HERE To Learn How to Make that Major Mindset Upgrade, RISE ABOVE Life’s Challenges, and Look Forward To An Amazing Future!

Meanwhile, here are some inspiration quotes to keep you company.


Before you go

We would really love to hear your side of this story.

Have you been in a case like Alex and his girlfriend Kate? Not really the same, but similar. Why don’t you go down to the comment box and let us know.

And you, do you want to contribute your experience to this discussion? Thanks for the love.

Let’s keep in touch

If you would click on this link and sign up, I’ll send you the following information on “Rise Above Self Hypnosis Track”:

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They will help you rise above life’s challenges and begin living the life you deserve.

In any way, friendship is not something which does anyone any harm. So grab the link and join me.


N.B.: Immediately download “WEALTH ATTRACTION – How to Reprogram Your Mind For More Money” eBook by Dr Steve G. Jones, a Clinical Hypnotherapist.

P.S.: You may also want to read:


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How to Change Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones


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14 thoughts on “3 Reasons We Get “Stuck” In Life – And How to Bounce Back Strong”

  1. I kept saying “wow” as I read through this post. In life, there are many factors that are available to hinder you from getting your desired dreams and it not taken note of, one spends much time going round in circles and no meaningful reason would be gotten from the effort we put into making things happen. I see this post as a very vital tip to helping everyone realize some things that affects us daily. Nice post.

    • Hi Benson,

      That my piece blew you away to keep saying “wow” as you read through it gets me tickled.

      Yes, in life there are many factors that hinder us from getting our desired dreams. Things like government policies, our limiting beliefs, the wealth available to us, the level of education we have, etc. Fortunately one can take note of and better still, do something about it. As someone said, do nothing and nothing will happen. This means that if you do something, something migh thappen.

      Yes, you’re right, the main aim of this post is to help everyone come to terms with things that affect us daily.

      Thank you for coming over to visit and especially, for commenting.


  2. This is such a great topic to post out there.  There are so many people that I have met that are in the same spot as Alex, I was actually there not long ago.  SMART is a great idea as well!

    Just a thought, you may make the titles one size smaller, they tend to take over the page.

    • Hi Emma,

      Thanks for your compliment on my post. I now feel proud to have written and posted it here.

      It’s not really unusual to meet many
      people who are in the same spot as Alex. I like your frankness by admitting that you were actually
      there not long ago. Yes, try SMART and you’d even appreciate what a great idea it is!

      Thanks for your suggestion about the title font sizes. Henceforth I will make them smaller and even go back to change the others.

      Thank you again.

  3. Thanks for this amazing and educative information, it’s true that we get stuck in life sometimes and it’s always an essential thing to fine-tune why we got stuck before we can be able to attach a solution to it. The 3 reasons of feeling trapped that you listed are really true and very realistic, not knowing what you want is very bad and it keeps you at a particular point for a very long time. Thanks for stating the tips about bouncing back and overcoming life’s challenges. It’s a very helpful and resourceful article, very nice.

    • Hi DreaJay,

      I thank you for coming to visit and most importantly, for commenting on this post. Posting amazing and educative information is a passion of mine.

      Yes, we get stuck in life in many ways (financially, socially, education-wise, economically, etc) and we must first know why we are stuck before we can do something about it.

      The 3 reasons of feeling trapped that I listed in the post are really to help people know what is wrong with them instead of just wondering what the hell is the problem with them.

      But one must also give people the way out of their dilemma. If they know why they are where they are and know how to come out of thay hole, then they can bounce back again.

      Thanks for commenting.


  4. Excellent article, I have got to show this to my little sister. She has been in a similar rut to Alex and Ben sick in pretty much the same place for years. I have tried to talk to her about it, offer my advice and how I was able to move ahead in life but she doesn’t seem to want to. Maybe this article will help her understand what I’ve been trying to say. I tell her to think about where she wants to be then do what’s necessary to get there, but you have articulated this much better. Thank you so much for this information! 

    • Hi Travis,

      Thanks for viewing my article as excellent. But that you want to show it to your little sister tickles me a lot. It’s said that word-of-mouth is the best form of advice people take. But sometimes people don’t believe it when it comes fro family members. That may be the problem of your sister who is in a similar rut as Alex and Ben but doesn’t seem to want to do something about it.

      Don’t get your sister wrong, she knows there is a problem but lethergy may not allow her to move. Shemay even have become accustomed to her stubborn situation.

      Simply share this article with her and she might just start on the way to freedom!

      Thank you so much for coming to visit and for commenting on this information!


  5. Thank you for this eye opening post. I truly believe that we are often misguided in our lives and do not have real and clear goals and do not know precisely what we want. This was the number 1 issue for me. Believe it or not, I solved this in one day. I took advice from one wise man called Brian Tracy. Used his method of finding goals and I found what was the most important thing for me.

    If you do not know where you are going you are surely destined for failure. Why?  Because you will not land anywhere if you do not know where are you going.

    Love your website by the way.


    • Hi Strahinja,

      Thank you also for your visit and for commenting on this “eye opening” (as you said, lol!) post.

      You’re right, many people move through life without making any real and clear goals as to what they want. They are like a ship left on the high seas without any clear port of call and any direction to take.

      Oh, that has been a number 1 issue for you?
      Thank God you this one day. Smart you for taking advice from that wise
      man Brian Tracy. What he taught you to do was follow the saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail. Luckily, you used his method of finding goals which enabled you to get your path in life clearly chartered. That was what enabled you to find the most important thing for you. If only everyone meets a Brian Tracy and especially if everyone took their advice!

      It was the Cheshire cat which said that “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road can take you there.” So, you’re right that that will surely make you destined for failure. You said “Because you
      will not land anywhere if you do not know where are you going.” I will rather say you will land somewhere but almost surely not where you had thought you would be.

      Thanks for admiring my website. I do my best to make it easy for visitors and to make them come back again to visit. I hope that will be your case, won’t it?


  6. Thank you very much for this interesting article.
    Your words can inspire, they can change a life, they can save a life. the greatest cause of failure in life is thinking that you are a failure. These three reasons actually apply to me before I started my online venture ” You don’t know what you want, You don’t know how to get it,  You’re getting in your own way”. wealthy affiliate greatly changed my life.

    • Hi Mugalu,

      Thank you also very much for your visit and your interesting comment on this article.

      I feel proud that you find that my “words can inspire, they can change a life, they can save a life.” Those are high level qualifications which leave me in awe. Thanks again.

      I agree with you that “the greatest cause of failure in life is thinking that you are a failure.” It was Mary Kay Ash who said, ‘If you think you can, you can. If you think you can‘t, you’re right.’ In modern times, we say, Yes you can. If yours is: No, I can’t, then you can’t.

      Oh, so those three reasons actually apply to you before you started your online venture? ”

      I find this powerful: You don’t know what you want, You don’t know how to get it,  You’re getting in your own way”.

      Who in his right mind will do that?

      Thank you for contributing to this discussion.


  7. Hi! I liked Alex’s story because I have also been in similar situations. I know old habits are difficult to break but when we get to a point where we realize we just can’t continue as we are then the saying “when there is a will there is a way”, becomes true.

    your site has greatly encouraged me. Thank you!

    • Hi Abel!

      I don’t doubt that you have really liked Alex’s story because you have also been in similar
      situations. That was a poignant story.

      Yes, habits are like something set in plaster or concrete. Fortunately they are not the Ten Commandments of God. Of course, habits are difficult to break but nobody has ever said impossible to break. So, at a moment in time, one must sit up, examine oneself, come to terms with what is happening in one’s life and then setout to correct it. As you so aptly observed:
      “when there is a will there is a way”, becomes true.

      I’m happy that my site has greatly encouraged you. Thank you too!



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