getting unstuck

3 Step Formula to Get Unstuck

Life is filled with the challenges that have the power to derail us – a divorce, loss of a job, weight gain, health issues, or generalized unhappiness about something.

We can easily become stuck in the quicksand of events that affect us at a core level or by the simple elements of our daily trials and tribulations. Often, we become overwhelmed and unable to progress; we feel so stuck, we do nothing.

A simple strategy to dislodge this “stuckness” if to follow the easy 3-step formula of WAM!

WAM represents progressive stages of dealing with adversity. Each of the steps of WAM is an important component of being able to become unstuck and “get over” the challenges life presents.

Each of the stages has to be given its due and allowed to take center stage for a period of time. This period of time is fluid with no set standard.  However the key element is that there needs to be the nudge towards the next stage.

Step One: Whine

When we are presented with challenges, whether they are minor annoyances or major events, it is critical to allow time to “sit with” what may be difficult emotions.

Time must be devoted to connecting with the internal barometer of life – our emotions. Too often we get side tracked by trying to immediately find a solution to the challenges that we overlook the importance of first connecting with the internal turmoil.

Think about the last time you let yourself ignore an issue; a boss was mean to you at work, or you ended a relationship that didn’t seem to be going in a positive direction. At first, you claim to be ok with things. However, you might find yourself acting out in other ways, such as snapping at your loved ones, or over-eating.

It is a critical step to honor our emotions. So, go ahead, complain, rant, fume, yell, cry; connect with any negativity that is there. Allow the time to acknowledge these feelings so that once they are expressed they can dissipate and go down the drain with a big flush.

Step Two: Accept

You have heard the cliché “It is what it is.” As trite as that has become, there is a strong reality in it. One of the hardest truths of life is that we have very little control. This fact is the basis of much anxiety. As much as we wish for things to be different there is much in life that we cannot change. Recognizing what we have the power to change and what we don’t is one of the keys to serenity. The paradox of acceptance is that by its nature we gain control because we don’t allow the situation to dictate our reactions. Acceptance allows us the power to get beyond the situation and enter the third stage of WAM.

Step 3: Move On

Popular culture is tending with the lyrics to the movie “Frozen.” In the song “Let It Go” the heroine, Elsa, is able to move forward in her life and free herself from stress and fears. This can become a mantra for us in step three.

By having allowed the WAM process to work by first “whining” and then “accepting” we are now ready to “let it go” and move on. Moving on entails the process of looking forward and bracing ourselves to meet life on its own terms.

By moving on we are prepared to meet the next challenge and declare victory over “stuckness” and immobility. The decision to move on unburdens us of the strings holding us back and provides the future orientation we need to take charge of our lives.

Sometimes it feels that things in life aren’t quite that simple and the three step formula to get unstuck may sound easier said than done.

But sometimes things are just that simple – and you’re making them a bigger deal than they need to be. The WAM formula actually applies to both major life disruptions and to our daily inconveniences.

 3 Step Formula to Get Unstuck


The difference is the function of time.  The process may move slower through the stages when we are facing a major life challenge (divorce, loss of a loved one, or job change) but try taking yourself through the steps for minor daily issues as well, such as a customer service issue, or rude co-worker.

No matter what our obstacles may be our call to action is to Whine, Accept, Move On. Tell me how this has worked for you in the comments below.



Dr. Ines K. RoeDr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourses.