Two people can have the exact same repetitious routine. One person’s perspective of that routine is that it is dreary and dull (he’s in a rut); the other person’s perspective is that the routine is part of a larger plan (he’s in a grind). This person’s daily makes them feel fulfilled, realizing he is changing for the better. But if you are the first person, you may feel unmotivated, unfulfilled, and uninspired. You may fall back on unhealthy habits or realize change is needed, but you stick to what is comfortable instead. The worst part about it is you feel like you are wasting time and will miss out on something if you do not figure it out really soon.
The good news (or bad news?) is that many people feel lost. If you feel like you are in a rut, you are not the only one! But you can get out of it. In the words of Robert Frost, “Everything I’ve learned about life can be summed up in 3 words. It goes on.” When you are struggling, getting and keeping a perspective is difficult as we tend to get tunnel vision and focus on only the negative which adds to more suffering. Our minds are powerful, and focusing on negativity is easy, especially if surrounded by it.
All of our journeys are unique. Even if two people have the same childhood, financial status, friends, and education, they will not still go through life the same. Your journey is just that – your journey with its ups and downs, with sunshine and shade.
Take some time to evaluate yourself and think about who you are. What brings you happiness naturally? Once you identify what makes you happy, find things that reinforce that happiness – whether it’s a new career, starting a business, moving to a new place, or starting a new activity or hobby. Even the tiniest of actions create results and can catalyze significant change.
If you need help exploring, research on your laptop topics such as “how to live a happy life” or “how to find your way.” The search results can spark ideas and find interesting things. You could also join different groups to meet people and see what they are experiencing in life. You can discover their passions and what they want to achieve regardless of their ages. People can change your life for the better.
Another approach is to list 15 things you would like to pursue. Circle the top 10. Then, from there, pick the top 5. After that, select the top 3. At last, choose the one to pursue. You will gain inspiration from going out and accomplishing this. Repeat this exercise to add more inspiration to your life.
Just try something new – pick up a book or join a book club, take an art class, or sign up for a yoga class. Whatever it is, do something that you think you will love or grow to love. Don’t get frustrated because trial and error is needed. And if you can’t financially try new things, find a part-time job or develop a side hustle. In the process, you could meet new people who introduce you to others or invite you to join them for socializing, activities, and events. Going to dinners, movies, and social gatherings will add that spark into life to help get us out of ruts.
Don’t take life too seriously by living in the moment and being grateful for what you have. So many things are in this world that you can try, so don’t get lost in the clutter and distractions of life. Sure, set some goals to develop a sense of direction, but most importantly, take that first step.
If you’re in a rut that’s bringing you down and making you feel like you’re failing, realize that you can’t figure it all out. Re-frame your thinking, which will help create positivity in your life. If you often struggle with low satisfaction, continue introducing something new once a day or week. This change could be as simple as trying out a new recipe. You could see if there’s a group where you live that walks, which would get you out once a week or more. Slowly expand your daily and/or weekly activities.
Humans are like seeds that take time, energy, and water to grow into trees. Time is needed to develop and branch out. Life is filled with challenges that can be difficult to keep going when things seem wrong. But no matter how difficult life gets, keep moving forward, making changes, and not giving up. There is always a way to keep going, even if you feel like you don’t have the strength and courage.
The bottom line is to find something that gives you joy and focus your energy on that to get yourself out of a rut. Take time to relax, do things you love, and surround yourself with positive people who will help you stay positive, too. Believe in yourself and your abilities–you can achieve anything you set your mind to, including getting yourself out of a big rut.
So whether you climb 5% of the way out of the rut or 100%, and for however long it lasts, it’s okay to find yourself back in a rut – such is life, and being gentle with yourself goes a long way to helping you pick yourself up again.