Why Do You Feel Stuck in Your Twenties? 4 Secrets to Overcome It

Photo by Benjamin Combs from Unsplash


Feeling stuck in life is absolutely normal in your twenties, and frankly, when you do have that feeling, it means you care enough about your life to realize that you’re not progressing, not moving forward. Acknowledging you have weak seasons and destroying that ideology to always be strong in those times — that’s the first step to getting out of that situation quickly while incorporating the insight in mind and practice.

While in our twenties, we have so many questions and we want them answered before “it’s too late.” We tend to avoid hardships because we don’t want to go through the process of feeling the pain and recovery. The hard truth is, just because you’re advised about what to do in the situations you fear the most, that doesn’t mean you get to apply that advice and suddenly you won’t feel as bad as the others who weren’t prepared for it (because you will never truly know what it’s like until you experience it). The insane obsession of learning everything all at once in the guise of being prepared and being smart is causing unnecessary anxiety.

I personally consider that as a cheat in life, after how many times I desperately wanted to learn everything in the future while I’m young. I always thought by knowing these tips, tactics, or whatever you call them, I would be ahead of everyone else. Not necessarily a competition, but at least I wouldn’t be like a fool asking for questions and having to understand it on the spot. I never understood life when I was a teenager (even when I insisted I did), not even now that I’m in my twenties, but I sure have cleared out some of my misconceptions before in my youth.

Any person in his twenties would tell you the same thing: you never have the right answers to your questions. When you think you have, there’s a bigger chance it’s wrong. At some point, it’s inevitable not to feel stuck in life because, along the way, we would meet people with different priorities and aspirations than ours. When we think we’ve made up our mind about what we want to pursue in the next few years, our lightbulb would just turn off and suddenly you don’t have it all figured out anymore.

Then our mind would be more accepting of other people’s opinions and it would mix with ours. We would look at the world from a different perspective and then we would realize the world is such a big place that it has endless opportunities in store for me, but it’s just a matter of choice (because you can never have it all).

 

3 MAJOR REASONS WE FEEL STUCK IN LIFE:


EXPECTATIONS 

 

From others. You care too much about what others think about what your life should be. It is not your intention to please other people but for some reason, that’s what you’re doing by not following your voice. You feel stuck because you’ve grown tired of meeting such unrealistic expectations that you end up not knowing where you’re supposed to be. 


From yourself. The expectations you have for yourself add an insane amount of pressure on your shoulders. You tell yourself to be one thing while being another, and little do you know you’re burnt out and whine about “having not achieved anything.” You need to understand that you can’t do everything all at the same time, and the results don’t come overnight. Don’t beat yourself too much about meeting your impossible expectations.

 

PERFECTION 

 

This ridiculous desire to constantly be the best at what you do (even during the learning stages) is preposterous. Forcing yourself not to make any mistakes is like holding your breath every second. It doesn’t make you free nor pushing you to  grow. You aim for perfection because this is a way of shielding yourself from shame and fear of judgment from other people. Let go of your mindset that thinks this way: “If I’m perfect, people can’t say something negative about me. 

You incessantly cover up your flaws and dig the mistakes of your past so that people won’t provoke you with your insecurities. Stop hiding the parts of you that they hate because you don’t have to hate it too. This is not only a wrong mindset but also a harmful one. The moment you realize you can never be perfect, there would be no one to stop you. 

 

PESSIMISM  

 

You feel stuck in your twenties because you worry yourself about the things that you have no control over. For some reason, you blame yourself for the problems happening in a place a million miles away from home. You make it your problem to fix your neighbor’s financial misjudgment even when it has nothing to do with you. You’re surrounded by so much pessimism that you fail to work on your priorities and focus on your endeavors. This pessimism is not only destroying your self-esteem but also preventing you from chasing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in life. You’re missing out the great things in life because you’re seeing from a broken pair of eyes.

    

 

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU FEEL STAGNANT IN YOUR TWENTIES:

 

WHO YOU ARE BECOMING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHO YOU’VE BEEN 

 

Many of us have forcibly embraced apathy and low-spiritedness because we think our mistakes are holding us back. All this time, we’ve convinced ourselves we are no longer eligible to turn our life around because we have done terrible things before and this is our punishment. This is the mindset that entangles people in a place where they’re trying to get out of. You are the one holding yourself back from improving because you are crushing every bit of self-esteem.

The mistakes you’ve made don’t reflect the success you will have nor does it stop you from changing your life for the better. If you’re willing to change and willing to sacrifice and compromise and go through the worst to be a different, better person, you are on your way to developing a growth mindset. You shouldn’t deprive yourself of the opportunities to be happy and successful by dismissing your goals.

 

GROWTH ISN’T LINEAR 

 

A lot of us would think the successful ones have a crappy past and then one day everything turns like a dream. On the contrary, successful people experience more failure than ordinary people combined yet still come back up every time. Just because your progress isn’t increasing at the same rate at a given time frame in your chart, that doesn’t mean it’s not sustainable and real. Growth looks different every day, depending on how a person views it subject to his priorities, goals, relationships, etc.

It can’t be measured by achievements or failures because growth in itself has many levels and characteristics. Even feeling stuck in your life is part of the growth process, and although it may not feel like it, that doesn’t mean you aren’t growing. Growth doesn’t mean you’re productive every hour of every day in a week; it can mean doing the work twice a week and relaxing thrice a week. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you do not make the results you expect yourself to have because that’s okay.

 

THE GREATER THE RISK, THE GREATER THE REWARD  

 

What people would normally tell you is to live life safely. Elders would say it’s much better to live your life with rules you must follow because when you follow rules, you would be on the right track. You wouldn’t be tempted to go astray and make mistakes when all your choices are made accordingly to guidelines. You think  that when you follow a certain lifestyle, you would get the expected, correct results, then you wouldn’t have to be disappointed. 

Remember that the only way for you to transform yourself for the better is to never go back to places that you’ve outgrown. You keep taking risks even when you have no idea how life would pan out, because one way or another, in wins and losses, you will lose something. The higher the stakes, the more devastation, and the more lessons you can learn the hard way. When you’re willing to put everything on the line, you will have the most glorious reward if you win (and the most humble loss if you don’t).

DREAMING IS NOT ENOUGH 

 

Many people go to the lazy road and wish their problems to go away or dream for them to land in a decent job. They don’t work for anything or even try to show up when necessary. One of the main reasons you feel stuck in your twenties is because you aim for instant gratification instead of delayed gratification.

You think you’re not getting anywhere because you are not executing your plans to achieve your goals. Sometimes, the reason you feel stuck is no one’s fault but yours. You’re not actually putting in the work and making hard choices because you’re playing life too safely. Actions will always be greater than words. You can preach all the motivation you want, but if your wisdom can’t impact your actions, they’re meaningless.

 

SMALL PROGRESS IS STILL PROGRESS 

 

When you feel stuck in life, the only direction you need to go is forward. You need to keep moving through that scary road no matter how small of a step you take. Don’t underestimate what you can do in a couple of months. If you work hard and stay consistent with little effort, you will reach your end goal in no time, and then, you wouldn’t feel as stagnant as before. Even the small act of expressing your emotions creatively through a song can help you can gain insight finding direction in life. That, alone, is a small step, and that means progress. With the right outlet, you would indulge yourself with new things outside of your comfort zone and start from there.

 

4 SECRETS TO OVERCOME THE FEELING OF BEING STUCK IN YOUR TWENTIES:

 

STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR VISION 

 

When you feel stuck in your twenties, the only direction you need to go is forward. Even when the future you see right now is blurry or an accumulation of others’ version of the perfect kind of future, make sure to narrow down that image to your vision. Many people would tell you this is what you should do based on the talent and skill they observe, but it all goes down to what you want to do and what you consider that you’re talented at. When you learn the habit of filtering who to listen to and what message to avoid, you will become more disciplined in feeding your skills and less on impressing others. 

 

 

Take accountability. To maintain complete focus on your goals, you need to take responsibility for some of the things happening in your life. Always re-evaluate your thoughts, feelings, actions, results in situations you’re in so you can be mindful of the outcome of your choices. 

 

 

Know that it’s not the same for you and others. For the nth time, stop comparing your life to others. You are different in so many areas and there is no one-size-fits-all solution that binds your idea of success to theirs. It’s important to focus on your goals, not somebody else’s. 

 

 

Stop being impatient. Just because someone else “looks” like he has gotten everything under control, that doesn’t mean his life is perfect. Little do you know, you’re doing the best you can but you just don’t appreciate yourself enough. You’re the one building all the pressure on yourself and that creates anxiety when you don’t get the results you have. Patience is crucial for you to meet success first-hand.

 

CHALLENGE YOUR INNER CRITIC 

 

To fight the enemies keeping you from taking a step, you need to start by challenging your biggest critic which is yourself. Most times, you feel conflicted and demotivated because, at the very core, you’re unsure of yourself. You doubt your capabilities, or worse, think  you have none. Don’t allow yourself to become ordinary when you know you’re meant for something greater. When doubt comes, be sure you know how to back yourself up when the darker voices tend to get louder. The time you finally master how to get a hold of yourself when times get rough, you wouldn’t be as affected with other people’s opinions.

 

EMBRACE CONSTANT CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE 

 

Why is it that when even though we have continually practiced and applied every theory that will help us come up with the most productive daily routine, we would still be susceptible to procrastination and doubt by the end of the week? The answer is simple: because we’re humans, not robots. Know that you can’t always be motivated into doing your work because there’s also a lot of different things going on in your life. You need to love bettering yourself by focusing on what you’re good at. It takes time to learn, understand, and heal, but it will all be worth it in the end. When you embrace any unexpected changes that might come up in life, you’ll be more active and responsible in responding to these changes the best way you know.

 

ADAPT A RESILIENT ATTITUDE THAT HELPS CREATE THE FUTURE YOU WANT 

 

Feeling stuck in life not only causes anxiety and cultivates impostor’s syndrome but also keeps you astray. What you need to do is to train yourself to develop the right behavior and attitude to combat these mental demons. Don’t close the doors on yourself by limiting your capabilities. You may not be able to maintain an uncompromising daily schedule but it doesn’t mean you can’t be disciplined. Contrary to popular belief, you can start your day at any time of the day. You won’t always be energetic when mastering good habits but trying can go a long way. With the right attitude, you can be more sensitive with your body while creating the best version of yourself.

 

CONCLUSION: 

 

When you’re stuck, you have to move to get out of it. It’s that simple. Everyone is dealing with his unparalleled battles, and most are doing it very poorly. Aside from the obvious obstacle of not knowing what to do in their life, it’s a high possibility that they’re not doing anything about it. They spend their days feeding their ego in their imaginations but they never muster the bravery to execute their plans.

They never find the urgent need to start. Remember that whenever you feel stuck in life, there can only be three logical explanations for it: (1) you’re too lazy to work on what you want. You’re waiting for someone to pull you from the ground, (2) you’re beating yourself way too hard with no sleep and no proper nutrition that’s affecting both your physical and mental state, or (3) you’re living a life that you can’t call your own.

Break free of those chains and start making your decisions. Know that this feeling comes and goes, but there is a purpose for your pain and self-doubt. Just like the seasons, soon you will be experiencing joys. It’s okay to feel upset when things don’t go your way (because it means you care about it enough to get upset) but don’t dwell on it so much that your positive vibrations will get compromised. 

 

“I suddenly realized that if we are sitting around waiting — maybe even begging and pleading — for our circumstances to change so that we can finally live life the way we really want to live, chances are very good that we will stay stuck waiting forever.”

Richie Norton 

Published by Monique Renegado

Monique started Life Begins At Twenty as a 20-year-old college student from the Philippines. In her lifestyle and wellness blog, she shares first-hand experiences and soulful advice about student life, relationships, mental health, adulting, and self-growth. Monique is passionate about literature, music, public speaking, and family. Besides studying and blogging full-time, she strives hard to become a published author with her first YA fiction novel and poems. Monique is the older sister you wish you had to help you navigate your twenties successfully. If you want a constant drive for motivation and pep talks, be a part of her journey.

22 thoughts on “Why Do You Feel Stuck in Your Twenties? 4 Secrets to Overcome It

  1. Setting myself some rules was the only thing that stopped me going completely off the rails: never chase a high.Any progress is good progress, that's for sure, no matter how small those steps might be

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  2. Yes yes yes to this post! So many pieces of good advice here and I really enjoyed reading through it and the tips you've shared. Any type of progress and achievement is good progress x

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  3. Great post! Some of this advice is good for all walks of life, not just those in their twenties. Hopefully many in their twenties find this post and read it because it truly is very truthful about life. Giulia, tidbitsofcare.com

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  4. Wonderful post! Even at my last year of my 20's I think these points can be used later in life as well. I'm sure a lot of people will find this insightful and helpful in not feeling alone in this feeling. thanks for sharing

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  5. Great post! I felt stuck in the beginning of my twenties because of all the high expectations I had towards my life as an adult. But I learned that everything is a process and even the smallest steps count.

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  6. Love this post! I really relate to the 'expectations' paragraph, as that's definitely something that I'm strongly feeling in my 20s. I also like the 'Small progress is still progress' idea, especially in current times, it can feel like we're not achieving / working towards goals, yet we are – just slowly hehe x

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  7. I am not twenty yet but this is such great advice. Even though I am not 20 yet, there have been times when I felt really bad because I had really high expectations of something and somehow, it seemed like I didn't make progress. I learnt that every step made to achieve a particular thing counts, it's okay if you don't reach your expectations sometimes and progress no matter how minute is valid! Great post!

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  8. I am 20 and this post was extremely helpful for me. The bit about embracing the constant life changes spoke to me the most. Change has never been comfortable to me, but I have learned that growth hardly ever is comfortable. I am learning to surrender and believe that everything will work out, which is the healthiest attitude because it isn't like we can prevent change from happening. Great post, thanks for sharing!

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  9. You have some great advice for twenty-somethings here. That's such a weird decade and it can be really hard to figure out what's right for you (vs. what's right for everyone else or what SEEMS right for everyone else). Nicely done.

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  10. I think I definitely had a few years where I felt stuck and it was really tough. But a lot of getting through that was remembering these things, so I know it'll help tons of others in their twenties! Great post!

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