Emotional and Mental

Feeling Stuck?  How to Move Past Plateaus

Published: May 22, 2024

Do your days feel like a monotonous checklist? Completing tasks without a spark of excitement or a clear sense of direction?

You're not alone. Many people pursuing long-term goals experience plateaus that leave them feeling stuck. The lack of a clear finish line for some goals can make progress feel difficult to track.

Dave Dechant, MA, BA, training consultant and curriculum coordinator with Best Care EAP, shares four ways to get unstuck and get off that plateau.

Do a “friction” audit. Doing a friction audit involves identifying the things in your life that create obstacles and add complications or stress. To get started, ask yourself: Am I repeating certain patterns that are unhelpful? Are there certain things I do regularly that I don’t enjoy? The next step is to either trim away or smooth out each friction point.  For example, say you dread your daily commute to work.  Ask yourself: “What is it about commuting that I hate? What specific changes can I make to address the problem?  Would it help to listen to a great podcast or audiobook?  Can I start a car pool with my co-workers?  Is there a way to work from home more often?

Reframe negative thoughts. When feeling stuck, it’s easy to “catastrophize” that the worst will happen. Or maybe you’re overly harsh with yourself and have a case of “the shoulds,” as in: “I should have gotten more done at work,” even when you accomplished a good amount. Thoughts like these can create stress and interfere with goals.  So, reframe your thinking.  For example, instead of thinking “I’m going to fail at this project,” you can think, “I’m going to do the best I can, and if I’m struggling I will ask for help.” 

Visualize success. Visualizing success is about imagining a future life where you are unstuck.  What does it look like?  How do you feel? Think about the specific steps that help you work toward that vision. Write those steps down so you see them.

Share your goal with others. Telling other people about your plans can also be helpful. Just the force of putting the words into the world makes you believe — makes you commit to the goal.  The added benefit is that people may want to help you out. 

Moving past a plateau ultimately means changing your routine. Creating new routines may reinvigorate your approach, freeing you from feeling stuck so you meet your goal. 

Additional Help Is Available

If you’re still feeling stuck, sometimes a fresh perspective can get you moving again. Consider talking to a Best Care EAP professional counselor who can offer confidential guidance and support. To schedule an appointment, fill out our counseling registration form. If you have issues with the form, please call our office at (402) 354-8000 or (800) 801-4182, and we'll be glad to help. 

More Resources 

Best Care EAP's website offers a variety of resources to help you thrive at home and at work. For instance, this short video on staying focused compliments the feeling stuck article. You can also find a variety of helpful topics in our Resource Hub to support your overall well-being.