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Eight powerful questions to get you unstuck

By Jackie Rainford Corcoran, EBS Health Columnist

Most of us have areas in our lives where we feel stuck and we repeat the same patterns, despite knowing that they are detrimental to our well-being. Have you ever looked at a situation in disbelief and asked, “Why do I keep finding myself here?”

This is a critical question and we should always be acutely aware when we ask it of ourselves. This question and others like it – “Why am I such a failure?” for example – do not help us get unstuck. In fact, they often cause us to beat ourselves up emotionally and make the problem worse. Instead, let’s bring empowerment to the challenging aspects of our lives by asking more compelling questions that will bring solutions.

Each of us has tremendous potential to grow and thrive throughout our lives. As a health coach, I see common areas where we get stuck and our potential becomes obstructed.

Common themes include: habitually eating unhealthy foods; drinking sweetened drinks or alcohol excessively; a sedentary lifestyle; engaging in hurtful communication; participating in toxic relationships; chronic worrying; thinking thoughts that lead to negative self speak – the way you talk about yourself –and/or despair; and always being late and over-committing, which causes a sense of overwhelming.

By changing the way we think, we can change our behavior. We start this process simply by noticing what’s going on in the mind, without emotional attachment and judgment. Then, we can re-frame the scenario by asking and answering these eight powerful questions:

1. Why is it important for me to get unstuck and change this pattern once and for all?
2. How do I feel when I find myself back in this pattern?
3. What do I commonly tell myself when this happens?
4. What triggers this pattern?
5. When did it start?
6. Why do I continue to fall back into this pattern?
7. What new strategy can I put in place right now so that I can behave differently the next time this pattern is triggered?
8. What would be different about my life in five years if I broke this pattern for good today?

Getting unstuck is vitally important for growth. Every time we fall back into old habits, our self-esteem is affected. If you’re feeling trapped in an area of your life, take control by thoughtfully and lovingly writing down the answers to the questions above. And then take a new course of action the next time your pattern is triggered.

When you succeed at this, give yourself as much enthusiastic encouragement as you would criticism when you’ve felt that you failed. You deserve a standing ovation when you get unstuck.

Most of us are far more gifted and capable than we give ourselves credit for; now is the time to tap into that unutilized power.

Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach, an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, a public speaker and health activist. Contact her at, or find more information at

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