Feeling Stuck? Watch This

‘We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.’

Ray Bradbury

If you’d love to do something new but have found yourself feeling stuck — or somehow unable to make progress in the way you want to, this guide is for you. 

In todays post I’m sharing an approach called The Neurological Levels, which is the creation of the teacher Robert Dilts. I was first shown it some years ago and I think it’s a great framework to work through if you ever find yourself feeling stuck or blocked while trying to make a change or achieve something in your life.

Each level in the Dilts model represents a particular way of creating change. The idea being that you work up through the levels asking yourself key questions and spotting opportunities for improvement along the way.

Whatever you most dream of doing – be it getting fit and heathy, or starting a new hobby or expressing your creativity with happiness and finesse —  you can apply the process in order to get unstuck.

Here are the neurological levels from the lowest level which is to make changes to your environment, through to the highest level ( in this particular model anyway) in which you explore your sense of meaning and spirituality. 

Feeling Stuck? Watch This
About Emma Mills London

Let’s look at each level together and practice asking gently investigative questions to help you identify the changes you most need to make.  

You can read the tutorial bellow, but I also recorded a walk through for you over on Youtube to explain the process a little further.

Feeling Stuck? Watch This.


At this level of change you might ask: am I in the right place to make the change I need to make, or do what I dream of doing? That’s to say, is your environment supportive of your dreams? And by environment I mean all elements of your physical location from the way your room or house is organised, to the clothes you wear, your geographical location and the people around you.

Possibly nothing comes up at this level and if so you can be glad – hoorah! Your immediate environment isn’t an issue. 

Q: Am I where I need to be in order to do this?

Q. How is my environment and set-up supporting or blocking my dreams?

(If you’re following along with this activity while working on a change of your own, It might be worthwhile just jotting down your answers to see what comes up for you.) 

2. Behaviour:

This level is all about your actions, habits (including habits of thinking) reactions and behaviours in relation to your desired change. Here you might ask: 

Q: How are my day to day actions and behaviours supportive of my goal?

Q: What are my unhelpful behaviours around my desired change?

A simple example here might be that you dream of having a fit and healthy body but continue to fill your kitchen cupboards with unhelpful food items. Or that you dream of writing a novel but hardly ever sit down and write. 

3. Skills and knowledge 

At this level you can ask:

Q: Do I know how to do what I want to do? Is my blockage simply a skill gap that can be put right by joining a course or consulting with an expert? 

Sometimes our blockages can be eased simply by acquiring certain skills or competencies. 

For example, your dream may be to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level. In that instance, having knowledge about the lifestyle and dietary changes that can help lower blood pressure would no doubt be very helpful to you. 

On the other hand, perhaps you already know how to do the things you need to do? Maybe you already have all the skills and competencies required to fulfil your dream (as far as you are aware at least) — you may even be over qualified for the task at hand, which is often the case. 

That’s where the next level comes in. 

4. Beliefs and Values

This level is very interesting. It’s the level people commonly get stuck at if they have self doubt or limiting beliefs around their desired change.

For example an aspiring creative might dream of being an artist but at same time hold the belief that artists are erratic or crazy, or that painting is selfish or indulgent. Maybe having that belief or value system is hindering the way they turn their dreams into reality?

Another example could be that an aspiring novelist might hold the belief that writing a novel is very hard and gruelling.  Or the opposite — they might believe it’s really easy. 

A good way to examine the beliefs and values you have in relation to a particular goal or change is to look for instances when you find yourself saying ‘I should’ or ‘I ought to be’

It’s interesting to examine your values in life and especially in relation to your chosen change or dream, and then to see if your core values are supportive or in conflict with your desires. 

4. Identity

This level is about understanding how your desired goal or change fits in with your sense of identity. That’s to say how it matches up with the the sort of person you think you are. 

For example, are you the sort of person who could be a top athlete? Do people like you write books? Are you too young or old to be successful in your goals? 

We tend to give ourselves labels such as young or old, English or French, asthmatic, dyslexic or creative….

Or we are given labels by others.

Exploring whether or not the labels you identify with are a good match for your chosen dreams is time well spent.

Q: Are the labels I identify with helpful in relation to my desired change or goal? 

5. Spirituality

This level asks you to consider what life is all about. That’s to say the meaning and purpose of your life and where your desired change or dream fits into that.  

For example:

Q: What is life really all about?

Q: How does my chosen change or dream contribute towards my wider purpose in life? 

Write down what is truly important to you about life and the kind of legacy you’d love to leave and then explore whether or not your desired change or dream can play a role in that.  

A revelation at this level will often ease the other blockages you may have found lower down in the triangle.


And there we have it – a whistle stop tour of the neurological levels of change put forward by Robert Dilts. What do you think of them?

We may all come up against blockages for one reason or another, but with a little gentle exploration we can find ways to clear our path, to be courageous and do the thing we most want to do. I hope this post inspires you to ask questions, reflect and move toward your dreams. 

I’d love to know your thoughts so do leave a comment below. And, for more ideas and tips on this topic you might enjoy getting my fortnightly ‘Wellness Edit’ Newsletter. You can sign up for free here

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