Are you trying to figure out how to get out of a rut you’re in?
A rut is defined as a long, deep trench, or a pattern/habit that has become dull or uninspiring.
The term has evolved to describe any circumstance we can be in that is not progressing, has become stale, depleting, unhealthy, or too small for us.
Honestly, the first definition also works – long deep trench.
The Sanskrit word that comes to mind is samskara. In this context the word literally means groove.
I remember when I was in college, these two greek organizations would throw what they called “The ice block party”.
This was back when my personal habits may have been less healthy. Heh.
They would take a blow torch and melt a long groove in this huge block of ice, and when the “liquid” they were using touched the ice block, it followed the path of least resistance down the trench.
The point here, is that repetition of anything is going to cause our brains to become comfy, and it’s easier to get stuck doing something over and over that is unhealthy for us.
That being said, what’s always been done might no longer be working for you anymore.
Regardless, there is a process that you can use to start your “climb” out of the trench.
There are a few things you must do if you are gonna have any success ins changing your situation.
I’ve compiled them here. You’re welcome.
Forget your investment
Often we can make the mistake of seeing how much we’ve put into something as a reason for dumping endless resources into it.
Think of a time you realized something was less than ideal, but you already put a bunch of money into it, so you kept on going to get your money’s worth out of it.
This is called sunken cost fallacy and it’s killing you.
Think about it – you know it’s not working, but you try to keep going with it, wasting more time and energy.
Humans are highly risk averse creatures, so we tend to prefer NOT losing something over potentially gaining something, even if we don’t like what we would lose.”
That just equals more waste and makes no sense.
It does, however, make us comfortable because we create for ourselves the idea (really a dream) that we might get something from this if we keep going.
The reality is, we’re scared of wasting the past investment, so we doom the future investment as well.
Don’t do that. Instead, allow for mistakes to exist in your life, and understand that it might have been a good investment back then, but isn’t any longer.
Now that you’ve done that, move on.
Your personal bubble might be your enemy
The comfort zone.
Our brains don’t like to be stretched.
“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Roy T. Bennet
But if you’re wondering how to get out of a rut you’re in, think mozzarella.
You might have outgrown your current circumstances, and it’s time for you to expand and become greater.
The power of if/then statements
I read about these a while ago, from two doctors (forget their names, sorry) but their called implementation intentions.
Implementation intentions are basically if-then statements that allow for you control how you will react to certain circumstances in the future.
So if your rut takes the form of a behaviour that you’re having difficulty shaking, you could construct an if/then statement, which will act as a mental “plan” that you can access when the circumstance arises in the future.
“If the gas station comes in my rear view mirror, then I will turn on the radio and distract myself instead of turning around”
“If Suzy is rude to me tomorrow, I will yadda yadda yadda, instead of getting loud and rude with her back”
These can be used with any scenario and are very powerful.
To make them for yourself, just do this:
[If blank happens], [what you will do to either embrace the situation or avoid it]
Your brain reacts positively to this type of mental imagery, and you can use them to avoid circumstances or to be prepared to act when they occur.
Ask yourself the right questions
- What actually is the problem I’m having.
- What is undesirable about this situation, where I define it as a rut?
- Why is that undesirable?
- How do I feel knowing this is occurring in my life?
- How would I prefer to feel?
- What can I do to feel that way? What actions could I be taking, feel the way I want, instead of how I don’t want.
These questions take you through a natural process of understanding your problem, defining it as a rut, and how to get out of the rut by creating more favourable actions you can take.
Guilt, shame, obligation and fear are all emotions we feel that may cause us to stay in situations that are no longer healthy for us.
It can be painful to leave situations that you know are harming you, especially when those situations involve others that you’ve got strong emotions for, but ultimately, your life is for you, and when a situation is not healthy, you need to leave.
The other side has just as much responsibility to care about you and how you’re being affected as you do them.
Keep the sides equal.
Dig deeper – Know yourself better
How have you outgrown your current situation?
How to get out of a rut, means how to get out of any rut.
Your right could be your relationships with other people.
A rut for you might be that your career is no longer rewarding.
This rut you’re in might have to deal with letting your dreams die inside.
But ruts also mean that you’re living an uninspired life.
Every day is a new day, and you’ll never be able to find happiness if you don’t move on.
A rut is a machine, that turns due to habit, and keeps rotating even when you’re no longer putting your passion into it.
It can seem like you’re life is churning but you really aren’t having much to do with it.
It’s all occurring without any excitement on your part.
To figure out why you’re so bored with life, try the life balancing questionnaire.
But in general, you’ll need to dig deep within yourself to find what “ignites your fire”
A simple question to ask is, “What could I be doing all day that would excite me more than I am now”. Keep asking yourself that until you’ve found something truly special.
Make sure everyone involved is a good fit!
Is this really gonna work out for you?
Are those involved interested in changing? Or is everything alright as far as they’re concerned?
Are they going to oppose getting out of this rut? Do they even think it’s a rut?
These are all things you need to ask yourself if you are concerned with how to get out of a rut that you’re in.
- Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever
- You’re not meant to be in their life forever either
- Both parties have a right to do what is necessary for their own happiness
What to do now
There you have it, 7 proven ways for how to get out of a rut.
If you are indeed in a rut, sign up for my free mini course that I created specifically to help you realize the rut you’re in, and design a future where everything the rut took from you is back in your life even more than before.