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Do you feel stuck — like you’re not making much progress? You’re not alone. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of folks to doubt their next moves.

You may not be giving yourself enough credit, though. Progress could look different than you think.

According to Brianna Wiest, author of “101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think,” progress is more about getting into alignment with what we need and want, and less about reaching goals through milestones. That’s why our greatest growth can come from the most painful times.

Take a look at this checklist, incorporating Wiest’s work and my professional experience, and see if anything strikes a chord with you.

You’ve lost relationships

On the surface, this might not seem like progress. You could be second guessing whether you tried hard enough with certain relationships. Or beating yourself up for letting them slip away.

“Losing relationships is often a sign that we’re growing into the people we’re supposed to be,” says Wiest. “We aren’t meant to have the same circle of friends for our entire lives. Unless those people grow in perfect congruence with us, we often step out of pace, as they head down their own paths in life as well.”

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s not a sign of failure — unless you feel a strong compulsion that you need to do more work. It could be that the match you once had just isn’t there, and that’s usually a sign you need to realign with those who understand who you’re becoming — not just who you’ve been.

You’re aware of what’s wrong, but don’t know what’s right

Before you know what’s right, you’ll likely have nagging feelings that something is wrong. Without the answers, the questions seem never-ending. And if you feel stuck — like there’s no way out — just realize this is a process.

Change is complicated and messy.

You’re doubting your next step

If you’re not doubting your next step, it may not be the right step, says Wiest.

“You’re doubting because this means something to you,” Wiest explains. “The more right it is, the more you’re going to have an unconscious reaction. And you’re nervous because it’s unfamiliar.”

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When we make choices in our lives, we bump up against those limiting beliefs that have held us back. Then we find we’re no longer content to follow someone else’s script. Moving out of your comfort zone can cause a pit in your stomach.

A new vision for a successful life

This pandemic has given us time to reflect on our lives and assess what is most important. You may find your priorities have shifted. Rather than going after a more ambitious sounding title at work, you could find you’re as ambitious about pursuing things that make your heart sing — and your spirit soar.

You’re starting to care more about how you feel, rather than what other people think. You may be restless — and no longer content to live a life designed to please everyone else. See if “coincidences” show up — a new opportunity or new person coming across your radar.

You’re slowing down

Slowing down doesn’t sound like progress. It can be effective, though.

Have you been so busy spinning all those plates in the air that you don’t have a minute to yourself? You may be thriving on chaos as a means of escape — so you don’t have to think about what’s missing in your life. Then, when the adrenaline rush wears off, you’re looking for your next “fix.”

“When we slow down, it’s because we’re no longer just running away from what’s wrong,” says Wiest, “but learning to step toward what’s right.”

You may be coming to terms with the fact that you’re overextended and burnt out.

Something has to give. And when you slow down, you’re able to listen for the answers.

Showing up

“There’s no point after which all your worries will dissolve, and your life will become magically effortless — so you’ll be happy forevermore,” says Wiest. “There’s only the ever-present now — and how we respond to it.”

It’s all about showing up. So, go back over these categories — and put some gold stars on your chart!

©2022 Linda Arnold Live Life Fully, all rights reserved. Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at For information on her books, go to or

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