Three Steps to Getting Unstuck

This article debuted in my newsletter, The Way You Live Your Day is the Way You Live Your Life™. I wanted to make sure that blog readers had this important overview of the getting unstuck process, before we get into more specific tips and ideas. And here on the blog, we can discuss what you’re learning and how you’re putting it to work to get – and stay – unstuck and live in flow.

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When you’re feeling stuck or stressed, it’s easy to feel that no one understands exactly what you’re going through. And you’re right. Everyone’s situation is indeed unique.

But there are a series of steps that apply across the board. Here’s an overview of the process and some simple questions to get you started living more in flow.  

1. Create some traction

Being stuck in your life is a lot like being stuck in your car in a snow bank. You can keep pressing the accelerator, making the car work harder and harder, but it’s not going anywhere.

Throw a little bit of sand under the wheels though, and all of a sudden you start to move.

You’re not a car, but when you’re stuck, the same principle applies.

Find one or two practical, manageable actions, and all of a sudden you start to move.


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Getting Unstuck, Relieving Stress and Living in Flow

I began writing my monthly(ish) newsletter The Way You Live Your Day is the Way You Live Your Life™ in 2005.

Many readers have told me that they’d love more ways to get unstuck, navigate the rough spots in life with ease, and live in flow.

So I’m starting this blog to share short tips, ideas and thought provoking questions to help you do just that. I’ll also occasionally share personal stories and experiences when they seem relevant and interesting.

Part of the getting unstuck process is defining manageable ways to create change. I believe baby steps are critical to success. That’s why I’ll be starting slowly on this blog, probably with a weekly entry.

Join the discussion

The blog will be a place for interaction, not just between you and me, but also among my readers. After a newsletter goes out, I get wonderful emails filled with valuable insights and observations. This is an opportunity for more than just me to benefit! So please join in and leave a reply below telling us about something you’ve learned from my newsletter or something you’re hoping I’ll cover in this blog.


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Moving in and out of alignment

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One of the many things I love about yoga is that virtually everything I practice on my yoga mat is just as relevant in my daily life.

Making conscious choices
Managing my mind monkeys (just as hard on my mat as in the other parts of my life!)
Staying with discomfort (ditto)
Noticing my stories about what I can and can’t do (triple ditto!)

And this prompt that my teacher Jill gave at the beginning of a recent yoga class:
“Pay particular attention today to how you move in and out of each pose. Too often we move in and out of poses so fast that we lose, or never find, our alignment.”

Jill was talking about physical alignment, but the same holds true for life: living in alignment with your values, priorities, and with the way you want to show up in the world.

It would be lovely if physical alignment in yoga “just” happened. But it doesn’t, for three reasons:

  1. While every pose has a general shape, none of us have a general body.

You have to learn what alignment looks and feels like in your body.  Not the body demonstrating in the front of the room, or on the mat next to yours, or in a book.

  1. When you make one shift in a pose, there’s a domino effect because …

The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone,

The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone,

The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone …

  1. The way you move / flow from one pose to the next matters.

When you’re rushing from pose to pose, there’s no time or mental space to be aware of how you’re moving. You’re on auto-pilot.

Alignment requires the opposite: slowing down enough to be aware of, and intentional with, your choices.

And what about alignment in life?

It doesn’t “just” happen there either, and for exactly the same reasons.

  1. No one has a general life. Even if you know someone with a life that looks virtually identical to yours, no one else has your exact personality, values, or circumstances.

In order to live in alignment with what’s important to you, the impact you want to have, and what makes you happy, you have to know what that looks and feels like in your life.

It doesn’t matter what it looks like for your friends and / or colleagues – they’re not you!

  1. What you do in one part of your life affects all the other parts.

Sometimes it’s obvious.

Transition from a work role with limited travel to one where you’re on the road half the month, and it impacts your family / friend time, workout routine, volunteer commitments, and all the other ways you spend your time.

But it’s often a more subversive effect.

Stress at work shows up at home, in your relationships, and your health. Become bolder in one part of your life, and you become bolder elsewhere. Increase your awareness in your yoga practice, and your awareness increases in all other areas of your life. And on and on goes the list.

  1. When you rush from one activity to the next, there’s limited mental and emotional space to make conscious choices … choices about your mindset, actions and reactions, assumptions, and trade-offs.

When you’re not making those choices consciously, you’re at high risk of losing, or never finding, your alignment.

Of course all this would be a lot easier if alignment was static – figure it out once, and you’re good to go. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

Living in alignment is a daily practice.

So, where to start?

With the three following steps:

  1. Take time to reflect on your values, priorities, and how you want to show up in the world. Put your thoughts in writing and review them daily.
  2. Pick one aspect of your life or your day. For the next 30 days pay attention to how it affects the other parts of your life or day. Don’t judge, just notice.
  3. Slow down just a wee bit by taking three breaths between meetings, tasks, and activities.

We’re always moving in and out of alignment. The point of practice is to gradually spend more time IN alignment than out!

Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly. ~ Francis Bacon

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