Loops are Keeping You Stuck: 15 Ways to Unlock Progress

Aug 21, 2023

My brother and I run a local retail business. In 2021, after years of development, we went live with our very own in-house software system. 

During the first year of use we had a tricky error pop up that would shut down the whole system allowing no other work to be done without a complete reboot. It was super frustrating and of course became our number one priority. It turns out it’s really hard to run a business efficiently when your POS goes down multiple times a day. 

While digging into the issue we found that within a recent code update there was a “loop”—a sequence in the code that would repeat infinitely and never complete the task. Once the loop was triggered, the system would get stuck unable to complete any other tasks. This caused an error that would shut down the whole system— the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. 

Luckily after discovering the problem,our developer was able to make a simple fix to the code and close the loop. An error that was bogging down the whole system quickly became a non-issue. 

Here’s why this matters to you… 

You have loops that are keeping you stuck. The good news is you can close them!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, unmotivated, afraid or just an all around lack of progress in your life, it’s more than likely you have unclosed loops.

Unclosed loops can be anything from unfinished projects to unresolved traumas— in other words, any unfinished business that consumes mental and/or emotional energy. 

Left open, these loops will sap you of motivation and keep you stuck living below your potential in survival mode. 

Identifying Loops:

Often the hardest part about closing loops is recognizing them. It’s likely you’ve been living with these loops for so long it may be hard to see them.

The first step is identifying where you have open loops. Then I’ll share fifteen effective methods for closing loops you can use. These tools will help you get unstuck so you can make progress on your goals and live a life of greater freedom and contribution.

Here are six common loops that may be slowing your progress:

1. Projects started but never completed

2. Projects planned but never executed

3. Past trauma never properly processed

4. Relationships that need closure/reconciliation 

5. Bad habits or addictions that sap motivation and confidence

6. Lack of decision towards a new opportunity (stuck in the “comfort zone”)


Which of these are true for you?

I realize you may discover multiple loops in your life and that can feel overwhelming. But you really only need to find and resolve one at a time. Pick the one that’s most obvious. By closing one loop, you will gain the confidence to confront the next.

Consider the metaphor of the garden that we love to use on our podcast.

In order to plant the new seeds, you must first clear out the old plants and weeds. Your goals and dreams are no different. Unfinished projects are like old plants that are taking up valuable space and resources in your garden but aren’t adding any value. Addictions and past traumas can be like weeds or rocks taking up space as well. There’s no place for us to plant our new seeds, we end up living off of someone else's fruits (working for the man), and exhausting ourselves to survive.

Use the list above to identify at least one area you have an open loop that is keeping you from making progress.

Once identified, let's load you up with some simple tools to take back control of your life by clearing space to plant some new seeds?

Below are a few simple, effective ways to close loops in your life and create space for the goals and projects you’re passionate about.

Closing loops and getting unstuck:

When we reach the point of feeling stuck, it’s easy to feel like there’s no way out. That’s the nature of being stuck. But there’s one two-punch method I use that ALWAYS works…

 Decide and Act!

The following is a list of possible actions you can take to help close loops in your life and make room for your bigger better goals.

15 simple tools for closing loops and getting unstuck

1. Set Clear Goals:

Define specific goals for your projects, relationships, and personal growth. Having clear objectives helps you focus your efforts and make steady progress. Consider any past or present goal, habit, or relationship that no longer supports becoming the person you want to become— that may be a loop you need to close.

2. Prioritize and Delegate:

Identify tasks and responsibilities that are consuming your time and energy. Prioritize what's essential and delegate or eliminate tasks that are not contributing to your goals. My mentor, Richie Norton uses the acronym E.D.O for Eliminate, Delegate, Outsource. What are you doing that you shouldn’t be? Whether you can 'E.D.O' those things right now or not, make a list of them and set a goal to remover them from your plate by a specified time.

3. Finish Unfinished Projects:

Go back to projects you started but never completed. Either finish them or consciously decide to let them go, freeing mental and emotional energy. This can be one of the hardest things to do, it's sort of like letting go of old friends. So don't be surprised if your ego tries to stop you. Past identities don't like to die. Remember this though, true change requires the death of a past identity. If you'll embrace this, you'll be sort of like a Phoenix reborn from the ashes— stronger and better. 

4. Practice Forgiveness:

Address unresolved conflicts or past hurts. Forgive others and yourself, closing emotional loops that might be holding you back.

5. Declutter Your Work Space:

If you have old projects and to-do lists taunting you every time you go to work, it can feel like your drowning. Your physical space can be a representation of the loops in your life. A word of warning with this— decluttering can quickly become its own distraction/obstacle from more important things. So make this as simple as clearing off your desk of old projects and throwing away an old to-do list. Then write down only your three highest priorities for the day. The things that if you did only those, would move the needle in your life.

6. Review and Reflect:

Regularly review your achievements, failures, and lessons learned. This reflection helps you gain closure on completed chapters and plan for the next steps. This is called living in the gain. I would suggest reading the book The Gap and The Gain by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy to dig deeper on this. You can snag a free digital copy of this book from us here.

7. Closure Conversations:

If you have unresolved issues in relationships, have open and honest conversations to confront the conflict head and open the door for closure and understanding.

8. Journaling:

Write down your thoughts, feelings, and reflections. Journaling can help you process emotions and experiences, providing closure to certain aspects of your life. The process of simply naming the things that are bothering you can make them feel smaller and more manageable.

9. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation:

Engage in mindfulness practices to be present and let go of what you can’t control. Meditation can help you find closure and release pent-up stress.

10. Learn from Failures:

Embrace failure as part of the learning process. Extract lessons from your failures, allowing you to close the loop on disappointment and move forward. Another term I use for this is "sunk costs". Just because we have spent a lot of time, energy or money going down one path doesn't mean we should continue. Find the lesson from it and move on. Note: This is a skill all super successful people have mastered.

11. Seek Professional Help:

If you're struggling with trauma, unresolved emotions, or persistent habits/addictions, consider seeking therapy or counseling to work through these issues and find closure.

12. Ship work at 80%:

What work have you left un-published or shipped because it wasn't perfect? Get it to 80% and ship it. As Dan Sullivan would say "80% is finished, 100% is still thinking about it." Get comfortable shipping work and getting feedback. That is the only way to truly know what level your work is at and improve it. 

13. Limit Multitasking:

Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking can create unfinished loops and hinder your ability to complete tasks effectively. There is a ton of recent research on how multitasking is impossible and attempting destroys our brains ability to focus.

14. Say "No" to Unnecessary Commitments:

Avoid taking on tasks, projects, or responsibilities that don't align with your goals or values. Saying "no" helps you close loops on unnecessary commitments.

15. Practice Essentialism:

Embrace essentialism by simplifying your lifestyle. Let go of excess possessions, commitments, and distractions, allowing you to focus on what truly matters. Snag the book Essentialism by Greg Mckeown to learn more about this.

There are most definitely more ways to close loops. But this list should give you plenty of effective ideas on where to start no matter what your loops may be.

It’s time to free yourself from the shackles of past and present loops so you can live to your full potential.

All the best on your journey of closing loops. 

You’re amazing and we love you!

BTW: You can download a free Loop Closing reference and quick guide to help you close loops whenever you're feeling stuck.

And, if you want to dive deeper on this topic, check out the Podcast Episode Here #116, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

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