In a Rut?

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Have you ever been in a rut? I suspect many heads are nodding in the affirmative. Whether for a short duration or seemingly forever, one of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck in a situation that we don’t like and want to change. We may have exhausted ourselves trying to figure out how to make a change, and we may have given up. However, each day offers us an opportunity to renew our resolve and to declare that we are ready for a change.

We may even say out loud that we have tried and struggled and have not found a way, but that we are open to help, and that we intend to keep working to create change for ourselves. Making such a declaration to ourselves may be just the remedy for the stagnation we are experiencing. And it can be done today, right now.

Even with hindsight it can be difficult to understand how the choices we made have resulted in a given circumstance. Still, it is a good idea to examine what we tell ourselves about the situation. If we tend to regard ourselves as having failed, this can block our ability to allow ourselves to succeed.

We have the power to change the story we tell ourselves by acknowledging that in the past, we did our best, and we exhibited many positive qualities, and had many good experiences on our path to the present moment. We can also recognize that we have learned from miscalculations, and that this will help us with current choices.

When we do this kind of work on how we view our past self, we make it possible for the future to be based on positive self-assessment. This inner shift may allow us to get out of the cycle we’ve been in that has been keeping us stuck. Once you have done this inner work you can declare your intention(s) to create change in your life, end the cycles you have been spinning within, and enter into a new way of being.

Here are three ideas to help get you unstuck and to embrace the change(s) that you desire:

  • Lean on your routines. When chaos is swirling around you, a grounding force in your life is your routines. Your basic routines (getting up, getting dressed, etc.) can provide you that sense of comfort that everything is your world isn’t out of control. There may be some routines that you want to modify as you effect change. Hold on to enough of them to keep your footing.
  • Pursue your actions. Just take an action. Do something. Trust your gut. Reflect on what actions have served you well in the past. Look for patterns and consider change in directions that seem or are familiar.
  • Experiment. Intentional change is a perfect time for experimenting. This is where you get to have fun… exploring something new or different. If you’ve spent your life doing it one way, now you can try other ways to do it. As you shift your thinking and feeling, you will see how much the world has to offer. Take a look at everything out there. Dare to be bold. If you’re choosing to change, why not find the best fit?!

12 thoughts on “In a Rut?

  1. Eric, this post carries an applicability to me, my “here-and-now” … Some good reminders:
    that this is a good time / place for experimentation; that this is a time to have fun (in the midst of uncertainty): and this is a time to take action. I enjoyed this post. Hope all is well on your end.

    • WM, I’m warmed that the post has some personal applicability for you. It certainly does for me. What could not be fun about experimenting and taking action? 🙂 All is well here. Thanks for your thoughtful comment and sentiment.

  2. Eric, you are hitting me with this at a good time. I always feel like I’m in a rut in the fall. Watching my kids, my friends who teach, and the students on the campus makes it seem like everyone is starting into a new routine except for me. I’m going to take your advice and pursue and experiment. Time to sign up for a course or take out my paints again…
    Thanks for the impetus!

  3. Very good advise. I use these tools in my writing. When I get stumped I just start writing something. Then I will at least have something to work with. I stick to the allotted time frame I have chosen to write in, I write something, and I may even experiment with a new style.

  4. I remember the times when I have fallen and stayed in a rut. It took a whole lot of energy even to do the daily things …and an even greater amount to take that one step towards a different path. It was worth it though and I have one person which I will always be grateful for. I don’t keep in touch with her anymore…but she made me promise to do that one thing…which set me up the path away from that rut 🙂

  5. Yes, Eric, I think most of us have been within a rut at some point within our lives and in hindsight we should always follow our gut instinct .. When I didn’t then the rut got even deeper… We are often given signs to follow but are often blind to them.. Learning to read them and to see its up to us to climb out and change is our choice…. And we can really blame no one else if we keep pressing the re-play button if we dare not take the chance and dare to step out of our comfort zones which we can hang onto out of the Fear of the unknown….

    I have since learnt so much from learning to let go and learning to just go with the flow of life… and Trust in the experiences 🙂

    Great Post

    • Thank you, Sue. I “hear” and fully concur with your experiences and wisdom. I suspect staying that course have been both rewarding and invaluable. gut often yields favorable outcomes. Onward. Strongly! 🙂

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