What Is a Rut And How Did I Get In One?
As I’m writing this, I’d like you to know that I too am in a rut, and I had no idea until I started writing this piece. So if you’re reading this and you’re in a rut, you’re not alone, it happens to the best of us.
Have you ever been in a place where you feel numb and frustrated at the same time? Is something genuinely wrong? Maybe but probably not. Life has just become so… grey.
Things have lost their color, food no longer tastes sublime. You just feel off, empty, like your in an eternal loop of mediocrity.
You are going through the motions, but you don’t actually find joy in anything anymore. Your life is probably fine though, your version of fine anyway, with the same old things and your same old ways. Sound familiar?
The dictionary says that a rut “is a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change” I say the dictionary is always right.
Get Out of Your Own Way
You are your own worst enemy. Have you heard that before? Well, that is the unfortunate truth when it comes to being in a rut.
Your actions and reactions got you to the place of feeling like the hamster on the wheel who can never ever catch up, and you, and only you have to get yourself out. So first off, you need to stop sabotaging yourself.
Get your mindset right and think positive (especially if you don’t want to.) Take a serious and critical look at your thoughts, actions, and habits and ask yourself:
- Does this make me happy?
- Is this habit or action necessary for my life to function properly?
- Does this thought or belief limit me in some negative way? If so how? And more importantly, how can I stop thinking or believing this way?
Purposefully fill your mind with positivity and calm, the importance of this can not be overstated.
Declutter Your Life
Here’s the thing, when you’re in a rut, it’s not going to help if you keep everything exactly the way it is and expect change. Just like with your thoughts you need to sit back and take stock of your life. What’s going on? What is taking up your time your space and your mental bandwidth?
Is it a job that is keeping you chained up with golden handcuffs?
Or a relationship that is draining every ounce of your joy? Are you drowning in clutter and things you simply don’t need? Whether it is a bad relationship or old jewelry that is gathering dust in the back of some closet, whatever it is – get rid of it. Downsize, declutter, make your life as simple as possible.
Be ruthless, your time and space are sacred – only spend it on things that are worth it.
Yes, circumstances can suck. Yes, life can and will sometimes be completely unfair.
But we simply can’t control those types of things, so there is just no use in letting it get you down. Life will never ever be perfect, but you need to learn to be happy despite that.
And if not being rebellious happy then at least commit to stop complaining.
Onto something more physical. Go on a vacation, to the beach or the mountains.
In our daily lives, it’s so easy to get caught up and forget that it’s just as important to rest and recharge as it is to be productive and focused. In fact, one could argue that to rest and recharge is the secret to being productive and focused. But don’t just go to the same old place and do the same old things.
Challenge yourself to do something entirely out of the box.
Find Your Meaning
Fair warning, this is probably going to be a little tougher than throwing out old stuff and booking a vacation. If you feel like everything you do is pointless then it’s likely that you may not know or be focused on your purpose in this stage of your life.
You can choose to be happy any time, but your life needs meaning in order for you to be sustainably fulfilled.
Discovering your purpose is not always easy if you don’t have a singular, clear talent but it’s not impossible, and it will be something you will always be grateful you did.
Focus on Growth
Having goals is terrific and can lend you the much-needed drive to stay focused in life, but with certain things, it will benefit you much more to focus on growth and progression rather than obtaining something specific.
A good example of that is with mending relationships. If you have had some pretty tough relationships, you’ll know how difficult it can be to get back to a good place.
It isn’t something you can put a deadline on; you’ll have to work on taking every day as it comes and making the very best of it.
That’s true for things like addiction or depression.
You’ll have to gauge for yourself what the things are that you should focus on in this way and then you’ll have to have grace with yourself and accept that it may not always be perfect.
Gratitude is a life-changing practice.
It takes the things we have and the things we’d rather have differently and makes us see it as a blessing, because well, that’s exactly what it is. The mistake that many people make, however, is thinking that gratitude is an emotion that comes to you.
It’s not. Gratitude is a choice. Like eating healthy or working out is a choice. Just like exercising or following a healthy diet, it will take consistency for it to be effective.
Of course, similar to changing your lifestyle you’ll start feeling different immediately but to sustain that feeling you will have always to stay mindful of it.