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supportive friends
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small changes
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30 minutes
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Are You Stuck In A Rut? Tips To Help You Move On
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Most of us go through periods of our life when we’re stuck in a rut. The knack of course is to make sure that you don’t stay stuck and move on as quickly as possible, but in order to do that, you need to recognise that you’re stuck in a rut in the first place. It sounds simple, but it can often take quite a long time before people realise they’re in a rut and by the time they do, it can be quite difficult to know how to break out of it.

Some signs of being stuck in a rut include:

  • Feeling bored and dissatisfied with life.
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Avoiding taking on anything new.
  • Sleeping, eating or drinking too much
  • Finding it hard to focus
  • No longer dreaming about the future.
  • Wanting to stay in the past

No one can pull themselves out of a rut, without making a concerted effort to change certain patterns of behaviour and becoming motivated to do some things differently.

Stay in the moment: One of the things that keeps some people stuck in a rut is a tendency to look at the past and left that affect the present. For some people ‘if only’ is their mantra. However, in order to pull yourself out of a rut you need to focus on the present and stay in the moment. You don’t have to be hampered by the past. You can focus on the present and make changes to the present.

Change your routine: This doesn’t have to be radical change (unless of course you want to be) but making small changes can make all the difference. You have to do something that works for you, but you could do something like spend 30 minutes a day watching less television and read a book, work at a hobby or go for a walk.

Choose your friends wisely: It’s amazing how many people surround themselves with people who are not supportive of them. When you’re stuck in a rut you’ll continue to repeat the same patterns of behaviour. If you have a group of special, supportive friends, that’s great, but if you’re surround by people who undermine you then get of them.

Know yourself: In order to start breaking the habit of getting stuck in a rut, you need to start recognising what causes you to get stuck in the first place. Signs might be boredom, fear, stress, Uncertainty... etc. Look back to incidents in the past when you’ve got stuck in a rut and try and identify what has happened, and then what you could do differently if a similar situation arose.

Switch off negative self-talk: It’s very easy when you’re stuck in a rut to keep blaming yourself and indulging in a lot of negative-self talk. The problem with doing this, is that it doesn’t help you to move on. Rather than tell yourself you’re hopeless for being stuck, do something positive towards becoming unstuck.

Take regular exercise: The benefits of exercise have long been recognised on the health and well-being of people. Make sure that you exercise regularly. It can help clear your mind and give you some thinking time about what aspects of your life you may need to change.

Use different strategies to break a rut. Obviously different type of ‘ruts’ require different strategies for getting over them, and you need to investigate what works for you. There are common strategies such as breaking things into bite sized chunks which is ever popular. I like using the 5 minute more rule for small issues. However, if you want to make major changes in your life then planning, goal setting and an action plan would be more appropriate.

Reward yourself: Set in place for an adequate system of rewards for yourself, so that you acknowledge the progress you have made in changing your habits and getting out of a rut. Rewards are a good strategy for helping to motivate yourself.

There’s generally no quick fixes to getting yourself out of a rut, but if you’re committed to change and prepared to do some things differently, it’s a habit that you can break and minimise the chances of it happening again in the future.

Street Talk


Great article.... there is nothing worse than being stuck in a rut. I typically take a break from everything and do something that I enjoy and that I don't think about (typically some form of exercise). This allows me to come back and address a problem in a completely different way.

  about 8 years ago

Kyle, thanks for taking the time to comment. You are so right to highlight the necessity of taking a break when you're stuck in a rut. I think it is easy to forget especially when we have a deadline to hit.

  about 8 years ago
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