The irony is, I got stuck trying to write this column about getting unstuck. Then I looked at my five-point outline and realized I was engaging in habit #4: Perfectionism.  The tape playing in my head yelled as I stared at the blank screen: “You can’t start typing words until you figured out exactly how to say what you want to say!” Then I remembered the mantra that gets me writing: “You have permission to write badly. You can edit later.”

Getting unstuck is the most common issue around which I’ve coached others. Whether they are stuck trying to figure out how to have a difficult conversation, making a life-changing decision, or just can’t figure out why they are paralyzed, getting unstuck can be challenging. To move towards their dream, there are four common habits I’ve observed.  Next time you’re stuck (and maybe you feel stuck right now!), do a quick reality check. Are you guilty of one of these bad habits? If so, take action. Here are the four habits and how to break them:

Habit #1: Obsession with your obstacles.

People who get stuck tend to stare at the problem right in front of them and forget to look up at the big picture of where they really want to go.  The solution? Stop focusing on the problem, and start focusing on the solution.  Don’t just notice what’s wrong. Begin magnifying what’s right. And ask yourself, how can I use what’s right to overcome what’s wrong? Use your strengths.


Habit #2:  Sabotaging Self-Talk.

The conversation of stuckness goes something like this:  “I’m stuck.” “I can’t.” “I’ll never.”  You create what you speak. “Life and death are in the power of the tongue,” Proverbs 29:18 promises this.What have you been saying about you?  Replace losing language with winning words:  “I can do something different.” “I will take a step forward despite my fear.” “I am capable of change.”


Habit #3:  Over-planning.

Folks who are stuck can look quite productive – with all their plans and strategies. Beware.  Plans are great. Action is greater.  Books don’t write themselves. Businesses don’t launch themselves. You’ve got to take the first step and keep stepping!


Habit #4:  Perfectionism.

If you buy into the lie that nothing is worth doing if it’s not perfect, getting stuck is guaranteed. Perfectionism is a lot of pressure. It’s a set up for failure. If the only passing grade is 100%, no wonder you dread the outcome.  The simple solution? Give yourself permission to be imperfect. In other words, be human. Then you’ll try new things, put yourself out there, and not beat yourself up for looking silly. Find joy in the experience.


My challenge to you:

Get unstuck. Drop your bad habits.


Journaling assignment:

In what area(s) of your life are you feeling stuck right now? Which of the four habits is keeping you stuck? What will you do differently right now to break that habit and get unstuck? Leave your comments on my blog, and get unstuck!

    Until next time,

Valorie's Signature

More from Beliefnet and our partners