So firstly…what is a stagnant mindset?
The feeling of stagnancy is deep rooted in a world where we are constantly moving forward, towards a goal or purpose. A stagnant mindset can be defined as feeling stuck, or like you are simply drifting along, unsure what your true interests or goals are.
You might find yourself asking questions like ‘what motivates me?’, ‘what are my aspirations?’, ‘what is my purpose?’. When we are confronted with these questions and are unable to answer with confidence, it is easy to feel that we are simply existing without moving forwards.
Immersed in this mindset, the feeling of stagnancy can easily be accompanied with a lack of productivity.
When we tell ourselves, ‘I have no motivation, no aspirations and no purpose’, our lives are uncertain and without direction. pulling yourself from this ‘stuck’ mindset can be difficult.
It’s easy to feel defeated, to question what there is in the world that’s made for you, and sink into this state of stagnancy. The feeling that there is nothing you are passionate about, can lead to a lack of motivation in all areas.
However, once we are able to understand what has caused this feeling, we can look at ways to overcome this mindset.
Am I in a Stagnant Mindset?
There are several ways to identify if you may be experiencing a stagnant mindset.
For example, if daily life starts to feel repetitive in a way that makes the activities and hobbies you used to enjoy less pleasurable, it might be sign that you are demotivated and in a stagnant mindset.
If you’re questioning your opportunities for growth, in your career, relationships, or on a personal level, it could also contribute to the feeling of being stuck.
If your goals start to feel unrealistic and, out of fear and despondence, you do not feel motivated to progress it’s also easy to end up in a state of stagnation.
All of these feelings can be related to various circumstances, but they are indicative of a stagnant mindset.
It is easy to fall into, when we are told how many opportunities there are, how many aspirations we should have, what our goals in life should be. It can be difficult not to compare ourselves with others, in terms of achievements and the stage of life we are in. The slightest comparison can push us to feel inadequate and as though our goals are that much harder to attain than the people surrounding us.
Then there can also be a quickly compounding effect of the thoughts leading us to feel unproductive, unmotivated and depleted, which then leads to a lack of progress, which then makes is feel even more unproductive and depleted.
These are some tips for overcoming a stagnant mindset and replacing this way of thinking with a mindset for growth.
Tips for Overcoming a Stagnant Mindset
Remember that these are general tips that can be tailored to a particular scenario, if the feeling stems from career progression, relationships or personal growth.
1. Do something new or something you have never thought to try before
Sometimes discovering a new interest, or something previously overlooked can reinvigorate that sense of motivation or purpose. Interests can change, if it does not bring you happiness or a sense of satisfaction, it is not a failure deciding to move away.
Everything we experience we can learn from. Exploring a new interest, no matter what it is, you will come away having learnt something. This might just help to recover a sense of motivation or purpose.
2. Only compare yourself with yourself
It’s easier said than done, but comparing yourself, your achievements, and inspirations to others is incredibly damaging to a mindset for growth. A way to try and overcome this, is use your instinct to compare, to compare yourself to your previous self.
Look back at who you used to be, and who are now. Then consider who you will be in the future. When you recognise how much you’ve changed from who you were, it doesn’t seem as daunting to imagine how much you can grow in the future.
Sometimes during this process, we can worry what motivates us has changed. This doesn’t mean you’re failing your past self; it just means you’re growing with a different set of aspirations in mind.
3. Speak to someone you are comfortable with
Speaking to someone you are comfortable with, possibly a friend or family member, can really help pull you out of a stagnant mindset. It’s incredibly likely they have felt a similar way at some point in their life, therefore verbalising how you feel can help you feel less isolated.
Realising that a stagnant mindset, feeling unproductive and unmotivated is incredibly common may give you a sense of relief, take the pressure off and allow you to more naturally move forward.
4. Set reasonable goals for yourself in terms of productivity
Productivity levels can fluctuate daily. Some days it will be easier to get a set list of tasks done, while other days it’ll be much harder. It’s important to identify these periods where completing tasks is more difficult. Once we recognise these, it would be detrimental to expect yourself to complete the same number of tasks as a different day.
On these days, we need to set reasonable goals, that consider our expected level of productivity. If we meet these expectations or even exceed them, it can then feel just as rewarding and as a win rather than focusing on the fact that you didn’t achieve everything you had hoped.
Being realistic and understanding towards your productivity, can help re-build your relationship with your goals and put you in a growth mindset.
5. Write down/verbalise what you have achieved so far and what you believe will fulfil your needs going forward
Writing down or verbalising what you have achieved and what you are proud of, can help you move towards understanding your purpose.
Achievements can be big or small to different people, so realising what you have done that you are most proud of can help identify what could be a passion or goal for you in the future.
Writing down or verbalising what you believe will fulfil your needs going forward, will help you identify if there is anything holding you back or anything that needs to change.
You will realise if there is something that has impacted your motivation and mindset. Once identifying this, you can work towards setting boundaries for yourself, or changes that tackle anything preventing you from progressing.
These are only a few tips to overcoming a stagnant mindset, there are many other ways to move forward and various techniques to use to try and regain motivation.
What is important is recognising it is common to feel ‘stuck’, no matter your stage in life.
Once coming to terms with this feeling and understanding why it happens, we can work on overcoming this and replacing it with a growth mindset.
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