There is no denying that life is often a rollercoaster with many ups, and many more downs. We can rarely have one without the other. Call it equivalent exchange, karma, what have you, but we cannot experience success all the time.
Most people will periodically fall into a rut.These can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, and can even persist for a few years. What causes a rut can sometimes be obvious and easily fixed, or they can be random and sudden.
After what seemed like a good start to the new year, I found myself in a rut. After making all these promises and setting up so many goals, I would wake up unmotivated with a desire to lie in bed and do nothing at all.
But perhaps luckily, or unluckily, I’ve dealt with ruts before. It’s through these previous experiences that I’ve come to know the different ways to get out of a rut and back on my feet again.
You begin to realize that you’re stuck in a rut and that’s okay. The first step to getting out of one is through acceptance.
Nothing good will come out of being in denial for too long. Sure, it might be easier to ignore everything and look the other way, but if you do, the stress and obstacles will only pile up, making it even more difficult to get back on your feet again.
Accept the situation that you’re in and remind yourself that it won’t last forever. With that thought in mind, you’ll be able to move forward and onto the next step.
Find the source
All things in life have a beginning, middle, and end. Ruts are no different.
Take the time to reflect on yourself and how you got to this point. Maybe you’re unsure of what direction to take in life or you no longer find passion in the things you do. Perhaps a relationship has gone awry or little things have simply added up along the way.
The source of ruts can be one singular starting point or many things all at once. It will require a lot of self-reflection and perseverance in order to find the source, but once you do, getting out of a rut becomes much easier.
One source of a rut could be doing the same, exact thing day in and day out.
Now there’s nothing wrong with having a routine. There have been numerous articles that tell us that having a routine can encourage healthy habits, improve mental health, and add structure to achieve our goals.
But by doing the same exact thing over and over, we can go on autopilot and forget to live life. When we start going through the motions, that is when it’s important to implement something new into your routine.
The change you need could be asking for help at work, taking up a class for your hobbies, or, the most extreme, moving to a different state/country. That is why identifying the source is so important. Once you know the source, you will be able to figure out what you need to change in order to get out of your rut.
We are currently living in a ‘now’ generation. People expect things to be instant, for things to happen all at once. This is most apparent in the media (e.g. TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels).
With ruts, it’s important to take things day by day. Ruts are not something that can be instantaneously fixed within a few hours. It can take days, weeks, even months to start feeling like yourself again—and that’s okay.
Make small, achievable goals that you can accomplish within a day. These will act as little reminders that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. They can range from things like finishing a project for work, setting up a long overdue doctor’s appointment, or even just making your bed.
They don’t need to be some grandiose gesture. The little steps will add up until, eventually, you find yourself miles away from the rut you were in.
Talking with other people
Life can be difficult and lonely—but it doesn’t have to be.
When we’re going through a rut, having a good support system can help tremendously. By talking with another person, they might see something you didn’t and provide the advice that you needed to hear.
Sometimes, all we need is a shoulder to cry on and an ear that will listen. Knowing that we can share our burdens with another person will lighten the load and make it easier to move forward once again.
Ruts don’t last forever
Like everything in life, ruts are not permanent.
They come and go like the seasons, some disappearing faster than others. But it’s important that no matter how many times a rut knocks us down, we refuse to give up and continue moving forward.
Just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ll go.