You’ve read hundreds of blog posts on personal development. You’ve tried implementing all the good habits. But despite seeming like you have it together on the outside, you secretly feel like you’re going nowhere.
Here you are, stuck in a rut. Following the same old routine day in, day out. Having no idea how to actually get where you want to be.
If you’ve never felt that way: congratulations. You obviously know exactly what your goals are, and how to get there.
But if you do know that feeling, then let’s discuss what you can do when you’re stuck in a rut. And more importable, how to actually get out of that rut.
1. Examine why you’re stuck in a rut
You probably more or less know what you want. But you might not know how to get there. So, instead of moving towards your goal, you’re stuck in your old ways.
The first step is to examine why exactly you’re feeling stuck. Maybe you’ve been working towards your goal for a while now, and suddenly you don’t know what you want anymore. Maybe you’re so busy or overwhelmed that your brain can’t handle any additional topics anymore. Possibly, you’re spending so much time on short-term goals that your long-term ambitions keep being pushed to the side.
I’ve been feeling like this lately. My original goal was to start a successful business of my own, one that adds value to people’s lives. And also to work from home to suit my introversion and IBS. In some ways, I have achieved that. I am working from home, as a freelancer, and am making a decent income. But as my taxes keep increasing and my days start blending together like they did when I was working a traditional job, I can’t help but ask myself: what am I doing? Why does my job still not include actually helping people? And why do I feel like I’m putting my dreams on hold (again) while I’m busy making money for my next income report?
Now, your situation might be different than mine. But until you figure out the reason for being stuck, you’re unlikely to effectively get out of your rut. So, here’s your task: take a pen and paper and write down how you’re feeling. Just pour everything that’s happening in your mind onto that piece of paper, and don’t worry about it making sense. This exercise should help you get to the bottom of the question: why are you stuck in a rut?
2. Re-define your goals and break them up
Goals change. Sometimes they change altogether as well get older and realise that being a veterinarian wasn’t actually a great idea. Other times, we start a family and feel like that career we were dreaming about sounds less appealing as spending time with our children. And sometimes, our old goals just need to be tweaked a little bit to sound exciting to us again.
In order to get out of a rut, it’s important to know what it is that you’re actually want. And what you’re willing to sacrifice for it. Maybe, that goal that’s been haunting you just doesn’t align with you anymore. And maybe you just need to get a nanny or quit jour current job to be able to properly work towards it.
So, go ahead and redefine what it is you actually want to achieve. To you want to start a business that allows you the freedom to travel? Do you want a good work-life balance that doesn’t leave you constantly burnt out? Or do you finally want to complete a project you’ve been half-heartedly working on for years?
The key is to define a specific long-term goal and then break in up into small, but SMART short-term goals that will help you move in the right direction. You can formulate these short-term goals as tasks to add to your to-do list. Preferably, they should be so small that they can be accomplished in a couple of hours.
In order to achieve long-term goals, you have to take small steps towards them every single day. So instead of freaking out about your huge, seemingly unachievable goal, focus on the next small step. You’ll be amazed at how far you can go by doing that consistently.
3. Regain your creativity
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m much better at working towards my goals when I’m feeling creative. I find ideas more easily, am more motivated, and the whole process ends up being much quicker.
But unfortunately, I’ve noticed that the less creativity I use on a daily basis, the less creative I end up feeling. And that’s often the reason why I get stuck in a rut.
Working on my freelance projects all day long, doing chores and binge-watching shows on the weekends has not been great for me. I’ve been grabbing my phone more than usual, have not practiced my creative hobbies in literally months, and have fewer creative ideas in general.
It’s a vicious circle, really. The less creative my work is, the less I am. And that makes it even harder to work on other creative projects I might have.
So, what’s the solution? Well, one way to regain creativity is to force yourself to be creative. But that’s not as bad as it sounds!
Don’t just sit down in front of your project and stare at it. Instead, find a fun way to regain your creativity.
In my case, I decided to take up sewing and alter a couple of clothes. This ended up being so much fun that I altered even more clothes and ended up sewing for most of my weekend instead of just watching TV.
After this, I started feeling inspired again and went out with my boyfriend to take a couple of photos. And before I knew, I was back in front of my computer, writing and working on that creative project I had put on hold for so long.
The moral of the story is that being creative fuels more creativity. So, find a creative hobby that you love and give it a go! Redecorating your home, trying a DIY, painting, or even reading can all help you get out of a creative slump.
Regaining your creativity can work wonders when you’re feeling stuck!
4. Opt for a change of scenery
Sometimes, you’ve tried everything and it still doesn’t work. No matter how hard you try, you just end up back where you started. In the same old routine, going nowhere. I get that, it totally happens to me, too!
If nothing seems to work to help you get you out of your rut, a change of scenery can truly do wonders.
Something as simple as going for a walk can clear your head and give you loads of new ideas. (Just don’t take your phone with you!) And when a walk is not enough, try booking a small getaway or even travelling for a while.
Physically getting out of your rut stops time from flying. You’ll be able to break free from your routines, gain a new perspective and also just take a break from everything.
Here you go, these are my 4 tips for when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut!
Please let me know if you found these helpful! And feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section – and share this post with someone who might need it. 🙂