Feeling Stuck in a Rut? 7 Ways to Start Getting Unstuck
If you feel stuck in a rut in your life, work, or business, you are not alone. Midlife and beyond is a particularly common time for people to feel stuck in a rut, for many reasons.
When you feel stuck in a rut, here are 7 things to keep in mind that can help you get unstuck.
1. Feeling stuck in a rut isn’t the problem. Doing nothing about it is the problem.
The reasons people get stuck in a rut can be many, complex, and vary from person to person based on their circumstances.
However, once you are in a rut, what you do next will influence how long you stay there.
It is important to keep in mind that doing nothing or settling for a “this is just the way it is” mentality, will keep you stuck indefinitely.
There are always things you can be doing to work toward getting out of the rut you are in. Believe in your ability to figure it out.
Decide you are going to find a way to get out of the rut and onto a more fulfilling path. You don’t have to know how before you make that decision. You can work out how as you move forward. Just making the decision will make you feel more empowered and in control of the situation. It will also shift you into being solution focussed, which opens the door to progress and change.
2. Take small steps
When you feel like you have a mountain to climb to get out of a rut, stop staring at the top of the mountain. It can be really demoralising. Instead, just look a few steps ahead. Take some small steps to get some quick wins. It will help you to start moving forward and feel like you are starting to make progress. And that is a very motivating feeling.
3. Review your habits, behaviours, and mindset
Often it is these things that contribute most to us staying stuck in a rut. Take an audit of your behaviours, habits, and mindset. Are they helping or hindering you in your situation? Identify what you need to start or stop doing. Start working on those things.
Look for ways to show up differently because when you show up differently, your progress, results, and outcomes tend to be different too.
Changing your behaviours, habits, and mindset is one of the most powerful ways to create change that lasts.
4. Get clear on what you want to have happen.
It is great to be clear about what you don’t want about the rut you are in. What is even more powerful is to be clear on what specific outcome you want to achieve. The reason I stress being as specific as possible is this:
The more specific your vision/goals/desired outcomes are, the more specific you can make your action plan. The more specific your actions are the more specific your results will be. So, get as specific as you can.
5. Stop dwelling on the rut you are in.
I totally get that feeling stuck in a rut is a miserable place to be. I have navigated a fair few of my own over the years, so I know how bad it feels and how hard it can be to deal with. But dwelling on the rut you are in serves no useful purpose. Not only that, but it will keep you stuck longer. Put an end to the dwelling and get into solution focused action.
6. Stop beating yourself up. Be kind to yourself.
Maybe you have made mistakes or made bad decisions that have contributed to the rut you find yourself in. Maybe you wish you had made different choices years ago or done something about it much sooner. But cut yourself some slack. Beating yourself up over things you have or haven’t done serves no useful purpose and just makes you feel worse. Stop doing that. Instead, embrace this mantra:
Learn the Lesson. Apply the Learning. Move on.
Be kind to yourself. Put your time and effort into supporting yourself in getting out of the rut you are in, not beating yourself up for being in that position.
7. Stop blaming. Take 100% responsibility for your situation.
Playing the blame game changes nothing. So, whether you are blaming yourself, other people, the economy, the dog, or anything else, know that it is a waste of time and energy. Plus, you are disempowering yourself. When you take 100% responsibility for what is going on, you put yourself in the driving seat to create change. You empower yourself to create a new reality.
The bottom line:
Feeling stuck in a rut in your life, work, or business at midlife and beyond can happen for all sorts of reasons. But you don’t have to just settle for it. Choose change. Choose to become solution focused. Choose to create a better reality for yourself. Then just start. Take the first step, then the next, and so on.
Creating change to achieve what matters most to you is just an accumulation of small steps taken consistently and persistently over time until you get from where you are to where you want to be.