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Getting Unstuck - How Do You Motivate Yourself?

Yesterday was "one of those days." I spent a super restless night tossing and turning, alternately entertained and frightened by some pretty weird dreams. I mean, these were the kinds of dreams that really make me question my sanity. And the rest of the day was strange, too, because I just couldn't do anything right. I felt absolutely stuck.

It made me think of what was one of my children's favorite books when they were little, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. I always felt happy after reading that book even if I happened to be having a bad day myself.

I felt stuck all day yesterday, and I no longer had a copy of the book, so what to do? I was so stuck that I couldn't write - save for this blog post - to save my life. And I had a deadline for an article due in 2 days. A deadline! That always forces me to you-know-what or get off the pot. But not yesterday. Nothing was working...nothing.

So I wrote all morning - unsuccessfully churning out my umpteenth draft - and then gave myself a break. You know what I did? I...


  • Cleaned out my closet (except it only got messier)

  • Googled "how to get unstuck" (and got 233,000 results). I found some of this advice to be helpful - it's about self-defeating steps to getting unstuck.

  • Went for a bike ride

  • Decided to force myself - once again - to sit down and write. And no whining allowed. Just. Do. It. Only this time, I was approaching it with a fresh (and better) attitude.
A lot of us feel stuck at various points of our lives, and so many of those times occur around midlife. People feel stuck in their marriages, so get divorced or go for counseling. They feel stuck with their physical appearance, and might lose a lot of weight or have cosmetic surgery. They need a change, so go from brunette to blond, cut their long hair short, downsize to a condo.

While I'm not doing anything that drastic (yet) I decided the best thing to do is distract myself for a while (hence the closet-cleaning), try to solve the problem with well-worn advice (hence the googling), get physical (I worked off some pent-up energy) and then face the challenge again with a new attitude and different approach. (I'll let you know how that went after I turn in the article!)

What do you do when you feel stuck? How do you get motivated to get going, keep moving, forge ahead?

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