Ever get stuck in a rut? You know – one of those times you realize you’ve been doing the same thing day in, day out for weeks, months, years even! A rut can also manifest itself when you find yourself feeling uninspired by your work or your daily life even the things that used to or should bring you joy.
Envision a tire stuck in the mud (or the snow for my fellow northern climate folks). When a tire gets stuck in a rut, it’s usually stuck in its own tracks. The wheel ground down the snow or mud and got itself stuck. But really, it was the driver who got it stuck. Despite best efforts, the path taken wasn’t quite right and the conditions surrounding the tire, and usually the whole car, were unsuitable for travel.
How Did I Get Here?
The same thing happens in your life sometimes. You take a wrong turn, make an unwise choice and suddenly your life isn’t fit for your goals anymore. No matter how hard you try to get yourself back on track, you’re just plain stuck. Sometimes it happens suddenly – a big mudslide of gunk takes you down all at once. Sometimes it’s an occasional dusting of inconveniences, frustrations or boredom and pretty soon you’ve dug yourself into a hole you didn’t even realize you were digging.
I’ve seen business owners, authors, stay-at-home moms, high-powered executives, kids, 9-5 workers, everyone get stuck sometimes. No one is immune no matter how great our lives seem on the surface. When there is a gap between where we are and where we want to be, it’s easy to get caught in a space of burnout, boredom or confusion about what to do next.
How to Get Out
When you find yourself stuck, there are many things you can try both big and small to shake loose whatever is holding you down. The key is to experiment and be open to change. It’s unlikely that the first thing you try is going to magically get you back to happy. Sometimes it requires a combination of things. With a car you may need sand, a rug, a shovel and another person to push. With life you may need a new job, healthier habits, a vacation and another person to lift your spirits. And sometimes with a car or your life, you need to bring in the tow truck to completely remove you from the rut so you can get going again.
For your life this tow truck may be a therapist, life coach or big change like a move, ending a relationship or finally losing the weight that is causing all your health and self-esteem problems. It’s not fun to admit we have somehow gotten ourselves stuck. It’s not fun to make that call to someone who can help you see things in a new way. It’s not fun to make scary and stressful life decisions. But sometimes the best solution for getting out of a rut is to call on an expert to help you find a new path.
5 Really Easy Ways to Get Out of a Rut
- Books – great for shifting perspective and helping you come up with ideas for change. I love Deepak Chopra for deep spiritual reflection. My bestselling book, The Happy Hour Effect, is filled with 100s of real-world, super easy tips and ideas to help you de-stress and live happier.
- Life Coach – experts at helping people navigate your life goals and changes, life coaches can help with career change, starting a business, losing weight, relationship issues and much more. (I’m a certified coach so reach out if you need an action-oriented support person to help you get unstuck.)
- Vacation – sometimes we just need a break even for a day or two. If you can’t afford an out-of-town trip, find local parks, restaurants and outings to shift your environment.
- Habit Change – eat healthier, exercise more, quit smoking, drink less – these can all lead to massive positive life improvement. It may seem hard to get started and stick with it but in the long run these changes will benefit you in huge ways.
- Talk It Out – sometimes we just need someone to listen and help us honestly assess what’s going on in our lives. Therapists, friends, spouse, family members and other health practitioners are great resources.