New Ideas for Getting Out of a Rut

March 8, 2017
woman at desk

Have you ever described yourself as kind of… stuck? Maybe you feel stuck in a job, stuck on a fitness plateau, stuck in a stale relationship, or even stuck living where you live. Why is that?

Experts say the feeling of being stuck in a rut is likely to come from a deeper feeling that keeps you from making a change. Maybe you’re afraid, or uninspired. Here are a few ways to unstick!


What’s the reason for the feeling?

When you look a little deeper at why you’re feeling stuck, you’re likely to find any number of reasons that seem practical on the surface. Staying the same in a job, in your longtime habits, in your hometown, even with your same hair color… all of these choices create a feeling of safety or security. We tend to like to know what to expect, and we know others do, too.

So, getting unstuck requires a risk. Or at least, a decision to do something different. And that means you might worry about making a mistake, or you might assume that you’re better off with what you have than what might be worse if you were to change things up.

So, you don’t make a change. You put things on hold. The process of getting yourself out of a rut begins by discovering what’s really holding you back.

  1. Gather the facts. Most of us are better about making decisions when we feel well-informed. If you want more confidence to pursue a new goal, arm yourself with the knowledge of what it might take to get there. How long it might take, who else has done it, what small steps would be involved and what changes you could expect once you arrive. Think about this: when you decide to go to bed early one night, you don’t worry a lot about what you’ll miss or how that will compare to another night that you slept a little less, right? You’re an expert on when you put yourself to bed, so the everyday smaller decisions you make aren’t so big and scary. Work on building your understanding of the change you want to make, and the decision to make it will be a lot easier to act on when the time is right.

  2. Clear your mind. Now that you know a lot about yourself, why you feel the way you do, and what you might like to do to change things up and get out of your rut, it’s time to take a break from research and clear your mind from all the steps, judgements and expectations involved. There is a phenomenon known as “analysis paralysis,” which is a clever way of saying thinking about something too much can actually prohibit you from doing it. You’ve already armed yourself with plenty of good information, so why not give yourself the benefit of an open mind and a calm approach to your journey out of a rut. Focus on the action at hand, and just do that. It’s an excellent way to actually move in the direction you want to go. And that’s the definition of getting unstuck, isn’t it?

  3. Allow the changes. When you act on something that was once difficult or delayed for you, it isn’t unusual to face some surprises – even resistance. As humans we are comforted by routines, traditions, people we like and places we know. So, getting unstuck means stepping off the path and possibly finding it isn’t quite what you planned, imagined or even wanted. Now that you know that, there’s no need to panic. You needed to take yourself out of your comfort zone to move on toward your goals. Allowing these changes to happen, and then rolling with the next decision based on your new understanding – that’s the way out of a rut. Observe what’s new, make a note of it, but try not to become anxious about the nuances. Remember you were trying for change in the first place – now you’re on your way to the future you’re creating!




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