How to Get out of a Rut: A Guide

Rut: a habit or pattern of behaviour that has become dull and unproductive but hard to change. 

Oxford Dictionary

I was on top of the world, until I wasn’t. Completing the Tour Du Mont Blanc (TMB) changed my life, but, not in the way you might think.

When I arrived back home, the opposite occurred. I was tired, and things seemed to lack a certain luster.  My fitness plummeted; I stopped doing everything I loved. I found myself in a rut that would last more than six months of my life.

We’ve all be there. Too many hours sitting on the couch, too many days living with disappointment. In this post, I’m sharing key tools to help you get off the couch and back into your life.

Gain Clarity

Ruts are characterized by low energy, lack of action, and negative thoughts. We have between 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts a day, 80 percent negative. Becoming aware of your mental chatter or inner critic is the first step in creating change.

Exercise 1: Write down your negative thoughts. You may have to do this multiple times to get a clear picture of your pattern. Realize that these negative thoughts are not you, but rather, your inner critic. When you have a negative thought, disassociate yourself from it.

Examine Your Lifestyle

Treat your body like a temple, not a tomb. Feeling good starts with respecting your body.

Exercise 2: Lifestyle Survey

  • Am I getting enough sleep? 7-8 hours Is optimal.  
  • Am I drinking enough water? 3-4 litres a day is the recommended.
  • Am I following a balanced diet? 
  • Am I moving my body? It’s recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.

Instead of focusing on how awful you feel, look for solutions by asking yourself these thoughtful questions. 

Yesterday vs. Today vs. Tomorrow

This exercise can be a real wake up call. Rate your life in five key areas: physical, mental, social, career, and living environment.

Exercise 3: Rate these five key areas on a scale from 1, very dissatisfied to 10, over the moon. Think back and rate each area 5 years ago, versus the present day, and think 5 years into the future. Compare your rating from five years ago versus today. Have you progressed? Maybe you’re actually declined. This is a powerful exercise that can help you gain perspective and start to set goals for the future.

Visualize Who You Want to Be

Visualization is powerful. The funny thing, your brain can’t tell the difference between what is real and what you’ve visualized.

Exercise 4: Write down the person you want to be. Don’t limit yourself! Dream big, and be bold! No one needs to see it, ever. The most important thing is to visualize yourself in great detail. How do you dress? What food do you eat? How do you treat people? How do people treat you? Be extremely meticulous.

Be the Gatekeeper of Your Mind

Words hold power. Consuming negative content adds fuel to the fire. First step, ditch the news. When was the last time you read the news and actually felt good afterwards? The amount of inspirational free content out there is astounding. Watch YouTube, listen to a podcast, visit a personal development website, read a book.

Exercise 5: Start your day by reading, listening to, or watching something inspirational.

Take Action

Action is the only way forward. Unlike lightning, motivation doesn’t just strike. Motivation is created by action. As the law of inertia states: an object in motion, will stay in motion. An object at rest, will stay at rest. You need to build gradual momentum to move you forward. Momentum starts by taking small actions to instantly improve your mood. Some examples include:

Sit tall and smile.

Wash your face.

Brush your teeth.

Get a shower.

Turn on your favourite song.

Drink a large glass of ice water.

Make your bed.

Stretch for 10 minutes.

Exercise 6: Make a list of small actions that make you feel good. The next time you find yourself feeling lethargic, reflect back on your list and choose an activity that will create momentum, then, go do it. These small steps will get you rolling, and with time, will become larger.

Feel the Pain

Nothing is more motivating than feeling the pain of regret. Many people avoid discipline because it’s painful in the short term, but nothing is more painful than getting to the end of your life and thinking of all the things you should have done. 

Exercise 7: Ask yourself “if I continue this behaviour, how will I feel at the end of my life?” Reflect on this answer for a considerable amount of time. Only when you feel the fear and pain of regret, will you be moved to change.

Closing thoughts:

This is your life. The probability of you being born is 1 in 400 trillion! It’s a miracle. You’re a miracle. So start acting like one. Make your bed. Drink the water. Live your life!

Life is nothing but a grand experiment, an opening in a moment of history to shout, scream, love, live, and die, but you won’t do that by sitting on your ass worrying about the right thing to do with your life. A tremendous amount of amazing discovers we’re made by accident, not by plan. Try something, and if that doesn’t work, try something else! That’s the beauty of this. It’s an exploration of what it is to be alive.

Gary John Bishop

If you found this post meaningful, please share, like, comment, and follow my blog. For daily inspiration and guidance on living your best life, follow me on Instagram @miss_susanflynn.

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