How to stop feeling stagnant in your life


It’s easy to feel stagnant. I’ve noticed plenty of that in my social bubble. One friend has been in the same position at work for enough years that she worries that, although she’s financially secure and loves what she does, she isn’t reaching her full potential. Another friend is so bogged down by her ever-growing workload in an industry she’s passionate about that she feels stuck in stress.

I love my day job and random bouts of blogging, but why haven’t I figured out how to write a book yet?

A lot of us act like we’re afraid to get comfortable, like what we’re already doing in our daily grind couldn’t possibly be enough.

We’re in constant strive-to-achieve-something mode. If we ran three miles yesterday, we should run four today. If we just started a business this year, we should expand into another market next year. If we’re renting an apartment we should be looking to buy a house. If we got our romantic act together and got married, we’d better hurry up and start thinking about our five-year family plan with 2.5 kids and a golden retriever.

I notice so many people putting pressure on themselves, especially in their jobs. Yes, work hard. Yes, shoot for the moon and become who you dream you can be (and insert more cliche statements here). But when it comes to just feeling like you’re making progress on a given day, recognize that you don’t actually have to go to great lengths to accomplish that. If you feel stagnant at work, you don’t have to get a new job tomorrow or a new career next week.

Just ask yourself: What do I need to do today, outside of work, to feel like I’ve accomplished something in my life?

That can just look like hefting yourself out of bed early to get your workout in before work. Try jogging or biking — even if it’s not far, you’re literally moving yourself forward. I ventured onto the Wesley Heights Greenway with my bike for the first time last weekend (see featured photo) for something different.

If you need more intensity, the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon has options: a marathon, half marathon, 5K and marathon relay for adults.

Accomplishment can look like you tearing up the kitchen to make dinner with a recipe you’ve never tried before. Gazpacho is a solid summer challenge (recipe here), or Buffalo Cauliflower Wraps to step it up a notch (recipe here).


Maybe accomplishment involves just finding a fresh perspective — breaking you out of your norm. Take a day trip (hint hint: Greenville, S.C., is less than two hours away) to remember that you’re not in a bubble. Take time to get drinks with an acquaintance you want to get to know better — you never know who will say something that inspires you.

An accomplishment can be as small as going to the library and grabbing a book or a documentary to learn something new (get a library card here). It can be as small as answering all of your personal emails for once, or as small as verbalizing a desire via the Before I Die Wall in South End.

Accomplishments can be small and still matter. And at the very least, they can snap you out of your stagnancy.

Photos: Katie Toussaint, Maria Siriano


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