5 Strategies to Help You Get Out of a Rut
Sofia Adamson, Staff
For many of us, there comes a point in life when things feel flat, boring, negative, or even painful; simply put, you find yourself in a rut. Day-to-day life seems to be harder than it should be, and you start to feel stuck… even if it seems like you have everything going for you in terms of a good relationship, family or job.
The good news is that this is perfectly normal… and you have the power to change it!
By changing a few habits and your mental outlook, you can easily get out of a rut. You only live once, so don’t be afraid to stir things up and try these five tricks that might get you back on track enjoying the beautiful experience of life.
1. Let Go of Expectations
It’s easy to get caught up in the pipe dreams that mainstream culture conditions us to believe are the key to happiness: winning the lottery, owning a luxury sports car or the perfect house, finding an attractive partner… or just even finding a partner. Succeeding at the latest get-rich scheme or getting the glamorous job everyone wants.
You may think that success, beauty and possessions bring happiness, but in reality happiness comes from within…with inner peace and general well-being. Letting go of expectations regarding job, income, relationships, belongings, appearance, etc. is one of the best ways to find happiness. Once you let go of what you think will make you happy (usually based on conditioning by popular culture and mainstream media), and allow life to just happen, you start to appreciate day-to-day life and enjoy the ride.
2. Embrace Change
Comfort zones are hard to let go of. A daily routine, a job you’re used to, or an established relationship may be making your life stagnant, no matter how hard you try to deny it, and sometimes without you even realizing it. For many of us, change can be difficult… sometimes it’s outright scary.
Changing things up may be necessary, especially if you’re in a rut. Often, when you step out of your comfort zone, you find a new zest for life. For some of us the change might be as simple as giving up a weekly happy hour with co-workers that only fills you with gossip and makes you useless for the entire next day as you nurse a hangover. In exchange, you may want to join a yoga studio or martial arts school, keeping you social but also affecting your life in other positive ways.
For others, breaking the routine might be more drastic, such as taking a sabbatical from an established career to travel a strange continent, staying at cheap hotels or hostels, meeting people you would have never thought you’d want to talk to, and learning about different approaches to life.
3. Take Time to Reflect
If you find yourself in a rut, take some time to reflect on what’s really happening in your life. If you feel anxious or overwhelmed, make a list of what tasks and routines are bringing these stresses into your life. Perhaps you realize you’re over exaggerating their effect on you. On the other hand, you might find that you need to let go of commitments in order to diminish painful or unpleasant experiences that are diminishing your overall well-being.
If you’re feeling stuck or depressed, it is your body telling you something is off in your life. Reflect, meditate, write in a journal – whichever tool you pick, take the time to explore what’s preventing vibrant energy of life from flowing through you.
4. Set Some Goals
You don’t need to go as far as starting an elaborate bucket list, but set some goals about where you’d like to be in 5-10 years. Or perhaps where you’d like to be in 6-12 months. Once you reflect on your life, you may realize that you’ve attained what you’ve always felt was unattainable, and you need a new pursuit or goal to get your excited about life. New goals might also bring about unexpected changes and challenges, which might seem daunting at first, but are likely to fill you with vigor and snap you right out of your rut.
5. Stop Creating You Own Obstacles
It’s becoming a known fact that we create our own reality. Using words phrases such as: “I’m trying to”; “It’s not possible for me because…”; “I’d like to but,” creates obstacles in your mind and thus obstacles in your life. Once you’ve identified your stagnant routines or set some new goals, don’t approach them with negative thought. Stop considering all of the possible problems that new changes might bring into your life. Instead, take a positive approach and spend time exploring the variety of new possibilities your actions will invite into your life.
Being stuck in a rut can be just as bad as any of the obstacles you can conjure up in the mind, so instead of dwelling of what might go wrong or daydreaming of pre-programmed expectations, take the time to reflect, create a realistic vision, and start taking steps to manifesting the life you’re meant to live.