The reasons behind this vary from person to person. Sometimes, it’s a result of your needs or desires changing over time. It can also be caused by burnout, as you may not have the energy to make meaningful changes to your life. Similarly, having too many negative thoughts can prevent you from seeing life in a more positive light.
Stagnancy can manifest in a variety of ways, with some of them being more subtle than others. If you’re not sure whether you’re experiencing a lull in your life, below are some telltale signs to watch out for:
1. You Do Not Know What to Do Next
One sign of being stuck in a rut is confusion over what to do next.
Decision paralysis can stem from various factors. Your goals might be too big or ambiguous, making getting started a daunting task. Sometimes, though, decision paralysis is due simply due to not planning far enough in advance.
Luckily, it is easy to get ‘unstuck’ if you know what you are doing.
Start by thinking about the things you truly want in life. For example, you might want to shift to a new job or get a promotion at your current one. Then, after you have thought about your goals, consider how you will accomplish them through smaller, actionable measures. For the examples given, you would need to start taking concrete steps to move forward in your career. It might include enlisting in training programs to improve your skills and updating your online job profile.
Additionally, it helps to set new goals whenever you accomplish one or more of your existing ones. This will keep you engaged and allow you to plan your next steps ahead of time.
2. Things Seem like They Will Never Change
Another sign that you are stuck in life is thinking that nothing will ever change. The days seem to blend into one another, each redundant and indistinguishable.
Usually, this is comes from negative thinking patterns that lead you to view life as stagnant. For example, due to failures that you’ve experienced in the past, you may feel like you’re not good enough to reach your goals and make effective, life-changing decisions.
That said, it’s more than possible to eliminate a negative mindset with a simple shift in perspective. The truth is, change is always happening—it’s one of life’s constants. Life only looks dull when you choose to view it that way. Rather than fixating on the negative thoughts preventing you from seeking change, challenge them.
Think about what’s been hindering your personal growth and enjoyment. For example, you may have stopped yourself from enrolling in a fun dance class for fear that you’ll do badly or look ridiculous. However, what makes you so sure you’d look silly if you’ve never tried it? And isn’t the whole point of taking a class to improve?
Opening yourself up to opportunities adds more variety to your life.
3. It Feels Like There’s Nothing to Look Forward To
A loss of motivation is one of the most glaring signs of being stuck in a rut. Nothing seems to appeal to you, making getting out of bed a real challenge.
The most common reason behind this is that your needs, wants, and goals tend to change over time. Hence, the things that once motivated you might not have the same effect on you now.
That is why it’s so important to keep finding new sources of motivation. Search for things that get you excited or make each new day better. These could be experiences like going out with friends, attending a special event, or taking up a new hobby. They can also take the form of small but meaningful things in your routine, like writing in a journal or making yourself a nice cup of coffee.
4. Your Current Relationships Feel Draining
The people you surround yourself with can also impact how you perceive yourself—and, by extension, your life.
Ideally, it’s best to spend time with people who espouse positivity, offer emotional support, and help you grow into a better person.
Unfortunately, relationships don’t always play out this way. Certain types of people may cause you to feel stuck, insignificant, and exhausted. If maintaining particular friendships has become draining for you, then it may be time to step back and reassess them objectively.
First, think about the primary relationships in your life. Then, look over them and ask yourself if they bring you joy. If some friends take more than what they give, gaslight you, or practice toxic negativity, it’s best to distance yourself from them.
Lastly, go out of your way to meet new people. The world is vast, and with time and patience, you’ll soon find more friendships that bring out the best in you.
Just because you feel stuck doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever. Ultimately, change starts with you. For your life to take on new meaning, you’ll need to put in the effort of fighting negative thoughts and searching for ways to reinvigorate your routine.
Remember: even small changes in mindset and lifestyle can make a big difference in the overall quality of your life.