About Mental Mastery

How to get unstuck in life (how I went from mediocrity to high achiever)

Discover how to get unstuck in life by increasing your motivation and power to act with the least amount of initial effort. This is the battle plan I use to get myself out of any and every rut.

Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Are you wondering how to get unstuck in your life? It helps to think of people as impartial energy obeying the laws of physics. The most important laws to understand and work with are momentum and inertia—otherwise known as Newton’s first law of motion—which state:

  1. An object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force
  2. An object in motion tends to stay in motion

Another natural law we can leverage to overcome stagnation is the path of least resistance. This law states that energy always takes the path of least effort to avoid wasting energy. In other words, you’re stuck in a rut because it’s easier than getting off your butt (especially if you don’t know where to start).

The formula, then, for getting unstuck in life is:

  • increase the energy in the system
  • increase the resistance to unwanted pathways
  • decrease the resistance to pathways we desire to travel

In this article, I will provide you with 5 positive changes you can make to get unstuck in life. You’ll be happy to know that we aren’t making any herculean efforts. Instead, we are aiming to shift the power of momentum in your favor by making incremental shifts in multiple areas.

Treat your body like a temple

To get unstuck in life, you need more energy.

To increase the energy you have to work with, we must revert to the basic foundations of wellness:

  • Exercise
  • Hydrate
  • Sleep well
  • Eat well
  • Stay sober

This is simple enough that we won’t waste time going into details but FAR too important to ignore.

Without health, you have no power. Power, by our definition, is the ability to act and influence your surroundings. Power allows us to change a circumstance we don’t like rather than being impotently held hostage by it.

**If you’re stuck in a rut, your power is likely compromised by habits which are well within your control. **

Moving towards the life you want can be as simple as making a few positive changes in your daily routine:

  • Go to bed 20 minutes earlier each night
  • Replace one bad meal with one healthier meal each day
  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes 3 days each week
  • Drink an extra litre of water every day
  • Take a few nights off weeding or boozing

There’s no secret nootropic or stimulant that you can use to escape the essentials. If you are currently ignoring your foundations, you’ll experience a remarkable shift in your well-being within just a few days when you begin to take them seriously.

For more tips on increasing your energy, I recommend checking out this article I wrote on how to get more energy.

Control your environment

If we continue with the path of least resistance, our immediate environments are the paths most travelled. Since we are constantly immersed in them, we have to cultivate the right paths to take.

It’s much easier to control your environment than it is to control your reactions to your environment. There’s a reason you’ll never find cocaine at a rehab facility or alcohol at an AA meeting (can you imagine the time and energy that would get wasted trying to resist?).

Tidy up your living and work spaces. There’s an old saying that goes: As within, so without; As without, so within. In other words, a messy house can create stress, negative thoughts, self-doubt, and even decrease your self-esteem. Additionally, studies show that an unorganized work space increases distraction and stress and also costs you time and enjoyment. 1

You want to remove everything that can steal your time, energy, or positivity. If you’re in a rut, don’t have alcohol and weed lying around your house. Put any video games in the closet or get rid of them altogether. Remove the TV from your bedroom.

Instead, increase the availability of things that can increase your energy and lead to positive outcomes:

  • Have a fridge full of healthy food
  • Leave some exercise equipment in a room you visit often
  • Leave a water bottle out
  • Make your bed and make it look inviting

When your environment is well-ordered, a sense of flow reduces the need for willpower. Essential actions are obvious and all distractions and energy sucks are out of sight and mind. Best of all, organizing things in this way takes less than an hour.

**Before moving on, remember this formula: **how you order your environment (your outer temple) will determine what goes into your mind and body (your inner temple). What goes into your mind and body will determine your power levels and thus your ability to act and influence your surroundings. Rinse and repeat.

Rediscover what you’re passionate about

To overcome stagnation and change your life, you need to have something to look forward to and something to work towards. I overcame my alcohol and pornography addictions after years of struggle and failure because I rose out of complacency and developed a clear vision for my future.

You don’t need to have your life purpose figured out, but it’s crucial to have both long-term and short-term goals. Short-term goals motivate you to move at the moment. But long-term goals relieve some of the pressure that can cause procrastination. The cure for procrastination lies somewhere between urgency and leisure. Too far on either end of the spectrum and your mental circuits jam.

If you don’t have any important goals yet, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to gain clarity:

  • What were you passionate about when you were younger?
  • What hobbies would you have if you were retired?
  • What one thing—if accomplished—would improve your life in multiple areas?
  • Who do you sincerely look up to and how can you do more of what they do?
  • Where do you want to be one year from now?
  • Who do you want to be one year from now?
  • Three years from now?
  • Five years from now?

You want to put more energy into the things that give you more power and move you toward your full potential. Think of your energy as an investment like you would with your money. You’d only want to invest your money in things that can make you more money.

This is known as a positive feedback loop: Your actions create a greater ability to act. When you’re stuck in a rut, the majority of your actions—smoking, drinking, staying up late, eating out, etc.—decrease your ability to act. (By the way, if you’re struggling with any of the bad habits I just mentioned, check out Vice Breakers: The Complete Program For Kicking Your Bad Habits and Addictions)

For the next few weeks, keep your goals top of mind. Review them each morning and before bed each night. Most importantly, don’t wait to act. Instead, take 5 minutes of action as soon as you have the slightest clue as to the first step to take. Five minutes today is better than an hour tomorrow.

Make the process enjoyable

There are two main reasons people get stuck in life (barring some tragedy):

  1. They don’t know what they want
  2. They know what they want, but they don’t want to do what it takes to get it

Most people know they want to be in better shape, make more money, have more friends, go on more vacations, and be a catch in the eyes of the opposite sex. Therefore, the problem is usually with taking the required actions.

Avoiding effort is human nature. Nobody wants to work when they could be having fun. We overcome this by making** **any effort as easy and fun as possible by integrating things you enjoy into your daily routine. **Rather than making enormous efforts, getting out of your comfort zone is about taking the smallest possible steps and making them as enjoyable as possible. **

A 2018 study done by the American Psychological Association showed that an effort that is immediately rewarded provides increased motivation because the perceived connection between the reward and the effort is strong. 2 In the study, immediate rewards increased motivation more than the same activity where rewards were delayed or withheld completely.

Here’s one way I personally leverage this: When I occasionally struggle with writer’s block, I make the task of writing more enjoyable by allowing myself to drink coffee and listen to music while I write. Additionally, I’ll often go to a cafe for a nice atmosphere which I wouldn’t do if I weren’t writing.

By adding three of my favorite things to the routine, it no longer seems burdensome. It can be quite pleasant once I get in a flow!

A few ways you can increase the enjoyment of your efforts include:

  • Building a playlist that gets you fired up (can you imagine Rocky without Eye of the Tiger?)
  • Giving yourself a snack or drink of your choice while doing it
  • Going somewhere with a great atmosphere to do the work
  • Getting friends to do it with you

This list is not exhaustive. Find out what works best to motivate you and increase your positivity (My other two posts on motivation here will help: A) How to get sh*t done when you have no motivation and B) How to get motivated)

After a few days or weeks of doing this, you’re going to start craving your routine. While it was hard initially, momentum soon makes it harder to avoid doing the act than it is to do it (Especially when you begin to taste the fruits of your efforts).

It’s all about momentum

The path towards your full potential comes down to increasing momentum by decreasing resistance.

You accomplish this by:

  • Taking one small step at a time to outgrow your comfort zone
  • Self-care for your body and no longer neglecting your health
  • Investing energy into things that increase your energy and wellness
  • Carefully cultivating your environment to minimize the need for willpower
  • Becoming increasing clear about what you want and why it is worth the effort
  • Learning to have a little fun along the way

This process of personal growth doesn’t require any great effort or might. Instead, if you follow these tips, minor changes in your daily routine can lead to massive shifts in a relatively short time!

PS: If you liked this article and want to read more like it, I recommend continuing with this article: How to get your life together.

Get Your Life Together With The Essays of Power

I don’t know you, but I know you.

I know that you’re tired of feeling weak, being a victim, and having no control over the direction of your life.

I know you because I was once you.

I used to be stuck on the hedonistic treadmill of mediocrity. Always drunk, always broke, and always looking for the next piece of cheap entertainment and distraction.

Then one day, I changed my entire life around.

I took responsibility for my personal development and started living the best life I possibly could. I learned how to:

  • Live with purpose
  • Think with clarity
  • Face the my demons
  • Fix my finances

Unlike a lot of other motivational gurus, I’ve been to the bottom and I clawed my way back out. It wasn’t easy and I wasn’t sure if I’d just become another statistic along the way, but I think I have made tremendous progress.

I learned the hard way, but I can break it down so you can learn it the easy way…

Get The Mind And Fist Essays Of Power

References

  1. Kamarulzaman, N., Saleh, A.A., Hashim, S.Z., Hashim, H., Abdul-Ghani, A.A. (2011). An Overview of the Influence of Physical Office Environments Towards Employee. Procedia Engineering 20 (2011) 262 – 268. 

  2. Woolley, K., & Fishbach, A. (2018). It’s about time: Earlier rewards increase intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114(6), 877–890. 


Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Further Reading

My honest Gorilla Mind Smooth review
Why do I keep relapsing? (how to stop for good)
8 unexpected reasons why math is so hard
5 things to keep in mind for developing your writing voice