Bust Your Rut

Six Steps To Getting Unstuck

By Guerline Jasmin

Originally published in ASCP's Skin Deep, July/August 2008.

If you’re doing the same things over and over, and you’re not happy, you might be in a rut. Maybe you feel bored with life or burned out. Perhaps making your goals a reality seems insurmountable and not even worth trying.

Being stuck in a rut is never fun. It makes you more prone to depression and negative thinking—two things that dig you in even deeper. If you want your situation to change, you must change. The key to making this big change is to make little changes first. These guidelines can help.

Think Big ... and Small. You need motivation to change. Think of the new circumstances you want in your life. But don’t stop there. Create a list of actions that will move you closer to your vision. They don’t have to be monumental leaps. Small steps, done consistently, will get you results.

Be 100 Percent Responsible. Your complaints helped you realize you were dissatisfied, but now you’re aware of what you want or don’t want in life. If you’re experiencing a bad situation, embrace the change.

Express, Don’t Repress. Don’t suppress your emotions, but experience them fully. If you feel you need to cry or yell out in rage, do so. After you’ve let the emotion out, let it be. Don’t dwell on it. Find the hidden lesson in your situation so you can move on.

Take Inventory. Schedule time each day to review your successes. Often when people are in a rut, they forget about the great things they’ve already done. Build your confidence and your inner strength. Remind yourself of your wonderful capabilities and know you can be successful again.

Expand Your Focus. Shift your thinking from wanting to having. With this mindset, your subconscious will go to work immediately on the desired change. Create a picture or scrapbook reinforcing the desired change in your mind. Review it daily. Write down what you want seven times daily in the present tense: “I am feeling good about my health and the way I look.”

Do Something. Many people reply to every suggestion or request with words that contain the seeds of defeat: Well ... I’ll try. Do something that will revitalize your life and sensitize you to opportunities. Take a different road to and from work. Take a walk during your lunch hour. Meditate 15 minutes a day.

Escape the Rut for Good. Despite the length of time in your rut or its depth, there is hope. While change is scary, working through fear is the only way you’re going to make progress. Move forward with passion. Whether your action step is large or small, implement it today. By doing something—anything—you create momentum to drive yourself into the life about which you’ve always dreamed.