How to get unstuck and make progress

Stacey Ashley Blog

How to get unstuck and make progress

Have you ever been stuck? I mean, really stuck and so frustrated because even though you thought something was important to you, you just can’t seem to make progress?

Me too.

In fact, I have had a major case of ‘stuckness’ this year. And it has only been recently that I got myself unstuck about a particular project that was, and is, really important to me. Yet, I just couldn’t move forward. I could not find a way to make progress for a long time…6 months. (more about that project later)

So now that I am no longer stuck, I wanted to share with you some of the things that worked for me this year in particular and have worked for me in the past.  Strategies which might be useful to help you get unstuck.

I realise at the moment it’s really easy for us to fall into the trap of our own cycle of stuckness, because we’re confronted with a whole set of other conditions and factors around us created by the pandemic, and in some ways that has created an excuse for us to stay a little bit longer in our stuckness.


You may delay, but time will not.

Benjamin Franklin


Here are 7 simple tips to implement strategies for getting yourself unstuck and making progress.

  1.  📞 Phone a friend

Sometimes we can get caught in our own story, and it’s really useful to just talk to others. To share what is going on and get their thoughts, insights, a kick up the rear, anything that they can offer that allows us to get diversity in our thinking and our approach. To gain insight into some different strategies. Or to reinforce that we are good at what we do. We do have strengths, and that we are capable. That we should just simply go for it and move forward.

  1. ⚓ Find an anchor

What I mean here is to really understand for yourself, what is it about this thing, this activity, this task, this goal that is important?

  • What makes it so important to you?
  • What are the impacts of doing it?
  • What are the impacts of not doing it?

So when you are tempted to go off course and away from that activity or task, when you get distracted, or when you get interrupted, you use your anchor to remind yourself what is important and keep yourself in place and focused.

  1. 💡 Forget about it

Sometimes you need to let it go.

If you are stuck on something and you can’t get an idea, or the motivation, or you can’t figure out what to do next, sometimes just leave it alone for a little while.

Your subconscious, your unconscious, will continue to work on the problem or to find a solution and options without you having to consciously think about it all the time.

Some of our best ideas come when we are doing something completely different. When we’re out for a walk, when we’re spending time with other people, when we’re in the shower. So just forget about it and do something else for a while.

  1. 💪 Yes you can

Remember and remind yourself of all the times that you have made progress. Of all the times that you have delivered. Of all the times that you have solved a problem or done something similar to this and found a way forward.

Remind yourself that you are capable, that you can find a way, that you can develop a strategy, that you can make progress, and then do it.

  1. 🏃 Take action

Action creates movement, it creates momentum, and that leads to progress. It feels good to take action, so do something small that will move you forward. Even something as simple as booking time into your diary, to focus on your stuck thing. Then pat yourself on the back for making progress. Acknowledge yourself and use that energy and feeling to move forward.

Action and progress often lead to more action, and that will lead to more action, which will lead to more progress, which will lead to feeling good about what you have achieved and help you to sustain that.


You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Abraham Lincoln


  1. 🐘 Eat the elephant

The strategy for eating the elephant is one bite at a time.

Sometimes the significance, or the scale, of an activity can prevent us from making progress and can contribute to our feelings of being stuck. Take your eye off the big prize for a moment and focus on the little one. What is a small step that you can take to move forward … one bite at a time?

Acknowledge your progress and then take the next bite, and then the next bite, and before long, you are eating the elephant.

  1. ☝️ First thing

This is something that I learned when I was a productivity and performance consultant, and it really works. If you have something that you are stuck on, that you are procrastinating over, that you see as difficult or hard or challenging, do it first thing in the morning. Before you have the chance to make an excuse and come up with a reason why not.

Commit to it, set time aside for it and just do it. Do not give yourself an excuse.

Amazingly, it works. Then you have set yourself up for a good day as well, because you’ve achieved progress with this thing that was previously stuck. And you will feel good about that.


Seven quick tips for getting yourself unstuck. Use any one or more of these tips to make progress and get yourself moving. Once you are moving, it’s much easier to keep moving. It’s when we are stuck, and we have no momentum that it takes the most effort to get things moving.

Take action and find a way to get yourself moving, and you’ll be able to keep moving far more easily.


I’d love to know your thoughts.

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AND: Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your coaching and leadership: