5 Steps to Get Unstuck and Start Living Your Potential

by Brian

liveIn June of this year I realized that I had fallen off track. Nothing in my life supported my success. I was drinking frequently, avoiding writing, and had stopped talking and thinking about my goals all together. I have aspirations of being a professional fitness model, inspirational speaker, and published author, but I wasn’t living in alignment with these goals. I was hiding.

We all have a desire to grow, to evolve, and to become stronger versions of ourselves. This is why we seek promotions, work we are passionate about, want to make more money, be more fit or seek more fulfillment in our dating life.

It’s easy to talk about being a better person, making a difference, contributing to our community. It’s much harder to take action and make some real change in our lives.
Growing means change, and change is uncomfortable. Our basic survival needs are food, shelter, and water. We’re beyond the point of survival and we’re all looking for the feeling of being alive, which means growth, fulfillment and love. Growth and change mean doing things that we are not used to, living a way that isn’t familiar to us, which means feeling emotions we are unfamiliar with.

Why would we feel weird, uneasy, nerve-wracking emotions when we could just as easily feel what we’re used to feeling?

You’re either growing or you’re dying.” Lou Holtz

In the moment it’s much easier to stand still. Over time this decision becomes harder. All of a sudden we realize that the whole world is passing us by, we’re getting older, and our life hasn’t made any real progress. Have you ever felt this way?

Time is always moving forward, and when we don’t move forward with it, we get left behind.
Our lives can be as amazing and beautiful as we want them to be. Most of us begin to walk on the road of high aspiration and then someone cautions us; “It’s bumpy ahead,” and so we stop walking.

Or maybe we’re resilient enough to keep walking even though we know the road is rocky. All of a sudden we’re in the experience and realize this path has many twists and turns!! And so we stop walking.

The problem is, when we stop making progress, we’re always eventually going to wonder what our lives would be like if we just kept moving forward. (Did you know the #1 regret people have before they die is that they never tried to go after the goals they knew they had?)

accept what you can't change, change what you can't accept

It’s easy to make a momentary decision to stand still instead of growth, change, and adapt until one day we’re overcome with this underlying tide of emotion that sneaks up on us and sweeps us away. An unsettling feeling that starts small and then takes us over telling us that we’re not living up to our potential. Working at jobs we don’t like, for pay that is average, for a life that we’re settling for. (We even settle in dating!)

I’m guilty of this too.

In June of this year I felt the underlying tides of emotion creeping up on me. I spent two months partying and drinking denying my desire to become a stronger version of myself. As a result I felt like I had fallen behind and it almost felt hopeless to even imagine myself getting back on track.

I moved away from my friends, my environment, and started focusing on my goals again. I isolated myself and sacrificed everything in my life that wasn’t encouraging my success. I lost a lot of my friends, I lost my old habits, and at first it was the most uncomfortable feeling in the entire world. Once I settled into the space I created by deciding to make a change, I realized how much room was in my life for the things that I wanted.

When you decide to back away from your highest aspirations, the things that you really want to do with your life, you begin to deny the things that make you happy. The need for distractions like TV, drinking and smoking becomes apparent when we’re unsatisfied with the quality of our lives.

Growth means change and change is uncomfortable. I welcome this unsettling feeling now – I know that it is a definite sign that I am moving closer to the life that I want to live.

Let’s Make your Aspirations Real

Take your goals out of your head and put them onto paper – this is the first step to making them real.

  1. Take out a pen and a piece of paper.
  2. Think about what you want your life to look like. If you had a million dollars and all the time in the world what would you want? Would you be married? Do you have kids? What does your house look like? Are you a singer? A professional athlete? A dancer? How much income are you making each year?
  3. Imagine this: you want to go on a road trip but you don’t know your destination. You might end up somewhere you like but you never know because you’re not guiding the direction of your trip.

    When you decide your destination and you start heading in that direction your chances of ending up somewhere you love is much, much higher. You intentionally head in the direction you want and your destination becomes inevitable.

  4. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Write down bullet point notes of what your life looks like.
  5. Examples:
    – I have a beautiful wife and 2 children
    – I live in California and have a house on the beach
    – I am an angel investor and make my money by investing in small businesses and helping them achieve success
    – I have a supportive group of friends who love to go bike riding
    It doesn’t matter what your goals are – they’re your aspirations and unique to you alone. Who cares if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else? It’s what you want to do, so write it down, and go after it.

  6. Write down one thing you can do today to take one more step forward towards this life
    The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Find a way to take one more step forward and as you build momentum you’ll find the journey is equally as rewarding as the destination.
  7. Do that thing today! Then wake up tomorrow, and write one thing you can do today to take one more step forward towards this life.

Build momentum by waking up every day and writing down one thing you can do to take a step forward. On day two you’re already one step closer then you were yesterday! Always take a step forward because when time passes, and you look back, you’ll find that you’ve taken more steps than you ever would have imagined.

Give yourself the fulfillment that comes with taking small steps every day. Most of us never take a step forward because we’re so focused on how far away the destination. When we start looking at the moment right now we see the single step that we can take to move us closer.

There’s a difference between surviving and feeling alive. The choice will always be up to you – to live with the unsettling feeling of a lack of progress, or to solidify your goals by writing them down and making real progress on them every single day.

One choice promises regret, and the other, fulfillment.

We all feel stuck sometimes. If you feel like you’re going through a quarter life crisis, here is a guide to help you breakthrough this rut and start living your life passionately again.

About Brian
Brian is a firm believer in living in the present. Brian lives his life by the philosophy “Act for the future, not because of the past.” He is a passionate writer, a sober socialite and aspires to be a positive influence to everyone he interacts with. Read more about Brian here.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael k July 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Hey, some inspirational stuff, but it’s easier said than done, I am in high school and have a lot of goals, nice car, cool home, live near beach, army reserves, 100k a year, already got a beautiful girl friend, now I got to keep her. Do u have any advice that u could give me on how to get there, do I have to go to uni, cos in engLand if u don’t get the grades u can get an average in come at most unless ur lucky . Can u help me achieve my dreams

Cam July 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

@ Michael – I’d recommend reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It will help you a lot 🙂

Andy A March 22, 2016 at 10:05 pm

First of all thanks for doing this, your article really helped as a starting point.

Here’s the thing, I have never had a dream, I kind of directed myself into living life in a practical way and recently my girlfriend pointed that out to me and she was right.

So the question is how can you discover your dream and put into very concrete wording?

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Cam March 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

@ Andy – Experiment more, try new things, think about what you would do if you only had 6 months to live, go explore, that’s the best thing you can do. Passions are developed over time through challenge, so get out there and set new goals even if they are arbritrary. For example, I wanted to travel through Europe for fun and after doing it I ended up traveling for 3 1/2 years through 22 countries. Would’ve never guessed that would have happened at the start of the journey. 🙂

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