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You know how it feels to be stuck in a rut. You’re doing the same activities over and over, and you’re not happy. Maybe you feel bored with your life or burnt out on the job. Perhaps you know what would make you happy, such as a new job position or increased responsibility at work, but making that goal a reality seems insurmountable and not even worth trying. So you stay in the same situation you’re currently in, hoping that someday something will change, but it never does. Face it … you’re in a rut!
Being stuck in a rut is never fun. Aside from being bored with your situation, being in a rut also makes you more prone to depression and negative thinking – the two things that will keep you in your rut for even longer. So if you want your situation to change, you must change. Instead of complaining that there’s nothing you can do to make your life better, realize that there’s actually a lot you can do. You just have to get out there, take a risk and do something.
When you are not making any progress toward a particular goal and feel completely stuck, the key to making a big change is to make little changes. Use the following six guidelines to jumpstart your life out of a rut right now.
1. Think Big … and Small
You need motivation to change. Therefore, think of the new circumstances you want in your life. Envision the new job or the new corner office. Now, you have the motivation to actually do something. But don’t stop there. Once you decide what you want, you then need to make a plan to get there. Create a list of action steps that will move you closer to the vision you have for yourself. Realize that your action steps don’t have to be big or monumental leaps. They can be small baby steps that lead you to your goal. Always remember that small steps, done consistently, will get you where you want to go.
2. Be 100 Percent Responsible
To get unstuck, you have to be 100 percent responsible for your actions. After all, you are the only person with the power to change your situation.
Despite what you may think, your company, the marketplace and even your family do not have the power to make changes for you. You are in control of your life and must be responsible for making changes. Therefore, don’t complain about your current situation. Sure, your complaints helped you realize that you were dissatisfied with something, but now that you’re aware of what you want or don’t want in life, stop complaining. Your constant negativity will only further drain you and won’t change your situation. For example, if you’re experiencing a bad situation, such as a job loss, instead of concentrating on the job loss and complaining about it, embrace the change and think how you can upgrade your resume or whom you can contact for new job opportunities.
3. Express, Don’t Repress
As you work your way through your rut, don’t suppress your emotions. Instead, experience them fully. Going back to our example of a job loss, perhaps you’re very sad that you lost your job. Maybe you loved that job and wanted to stay with the company for the rest of your working career. Rather than be depressed for weeks or even months, express the emotion you’re feeling. If you feel you need to cry or yell out in rage, then do so. After you’ve let the emotion out, let it be. Don’t dwell on it forever. Experience the emotion and then move on. Remember, each event we experience in our life is a learning opportunity. Find the lesson that’s hidden in your current situation so you can move on.
4. Take Inventory
Schedule time each day to review your past successes. Many times when people get stuck in a rut, they forget about all the great things they did in the past. They are concentrating on the present, which is not so good right now, and they can’t figure out how they’ll get past their current circumstance. However, when you look back at your past successes, you start building your confidence and your inner strength. You are reminded of all your wonderful capabilities and that you can be successful again, if only work toward your goal.
5. Expand Your Focus
It’s easy to want something, whether it’s a new relationship, a promotion or even to lose weight. The work happens when you’re making that want a reality. This is when you need to shift your thinking from “wanting” to “having.” Why is a “having mind-set” so important? Because when you focus on something in terms of “having,” your subconscious mind will go to work immediately to come up with a number of ways to get the item or circumstance. Therefore, create a picture or scrapbook representing your successful life. Cut out pictures and words from magazines that represent what you want. This step is important, because once you create your vision on paper; it’ll be reinforced in your mind. You can then go through that scrapbook every day to remind yourself of the kind of life you want.
Additionally, write down what you want seven times per day. When doing so, be sure to write in the present tense, as if you already have the circumstance. For example, you could write, “I am the best maintenance manager in the company.” Or, “I have a new fishing boat.”
6. Do Something
Many people who are stuck in a rut reply to every suggestion or request with the same answer: “Well, I’ll try.” It’s time to reject that answer. You need to either accept, decline, or counter the suggestion. The words “I’ll try” are not motivating and contain the seeds of defeat. The fact is that trying and thinking about doing something are a waste of time and energy. To get out of a rut, you must do something. For example, you can take a different road to and from work. Take a walk during your lunch hour. Meditate 15 minutes a day. Doing something, whether big or small, will revitalize your life and make you more attune to opportunities. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
If you really want a change, do something today. No matter what the outcome is of your activity, you’re going to learn something. Take a step toward getting out of the place you don’t want to be anymore.
Escape the Rut for Good
Yes, there is hope for you, no matter how long you’ve been in your current rut. And while change can be scary, the secret is to work through the fear. That’s the only way you’re going to make progress and increase your self-confidence.
So, take 100 percent responsibility for your life today. Learn from the lessons you uncover, and move forward with passion. Whether your action step is large or small, implement it today. By doing something – anything – you create the needed momentum to drive yourself out of that rut and full speed into the life you’ve always dreamed about.
About the author:
Guerline Jasmin is president of Success Strategies Unlimited, a consultancy helping individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential. A passionate leader who helps others overcome adversity, Guerline has a masters degree in human resource development, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in education and leadership. She is also author of the forthcoming book, “How to Keep Your Past from Invading Your Present and Destroying Your Future.”