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Stuck in Neutral


Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Unsplash


What causes people to get stuck? And how did they get there? Many people go through phases in life when they lose their focus, motivation, and desire. Sometimes they allow inertia to take over and can't seem to get off the mark. Maybe depression has set in and the energy is lost. Or maybe multiple failures and disappointments have caused the person to give up and assume that nothing will get better, which can also lead to depression. However, there are also people who lack self-discipline, self-confidence, and realistic goals to move forward with life. In some ways staying stuck in neutral is safer and requires less demands on a person. Occasionally, fear overrides action and keeps people stuck in neutral. Fear of failure, success, the unknown, or loss of control can completely incapacitate a person. Sometimes anticipating a bad outcome and assuming the worst results in our avoiding the risk. Living life on the fence can be very uncomfortable, but choosing a side to drop towards may be terrifying. Indecisiveness can be incredibly debilitating and limits one's options.


Change requires action, possible failure, and risk. In some cases commitment to anything whether it be a job, activity, or person may create such anxiety that observing life becomes the preferable avenue. An observer remains in the passenger seat as opposed to driving their life forward. We can easily blame others when our lives go in a bad direction since we allowed them to drive. Often this person identifies as a victim and prefers blame over change. How can we get out of our comfort zone and move forward with life?


Getting out of neutral requires a game plan. We need to evaluate our options, identify our resources, and write out an action plan to move us forward. Sometimes it helps to put a deadline on implementing the plan and create a schedule to measure progress. Maybe we enlist an accountability person to support, encourage, and keep us on track. Monitor your changes and reward yourself for any positive movement.


We need to take the initiative, participate in life, and assume ownership for our choices and decisions. When we step up and take action we elicit greater respect and acknowledgement from others. Our self-esteem will also benefit from commitment, task completion, and making an effort to better ourselves. Whether we commit to an exercise program, financial management, career advancement, or relationship enhancement, setting goals and creating an action plan will make a difference. Most people like to be able to measure their progress, hence the popularity of fitness trackers. Ideally when we make changes the internal benefits outweigh the external. Personal growth needs to be a decision you make to better yourself, not just to appease others. When we change only for others it doesn't stick, but changing for ourselves has a much greater likelihood of lasting. Decide today what you'd like to change, make a plan, monitor your progress, and reward your accomplishments. The process of positive personal change results in lifelong benefits.


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