We've all been there. The same ho-hum, monotonous crap day in & day out. Okay maybe it isn't always “crap,” but it sometimes feels like it, doesn't it? We spin our wheels doing the same things on the same days, getting the same results — & those results are less than desirable, nine times out of ten. It's like that wagon wheel digging those big grooves into the dirt path, making it hard to venture anywhere but where we've gone before: A rut.
Isn't it comfortable, though?
It's predictable & it's safe. We know what to expect & it doesn't cause too much of a ruckus in our lives.
But, it is BORING. There's nothing new happening to fulfill us & sometimes we feel like we could go through our days half-asleep. In fact, many times, that is exactly what we do, whether we realize it or not! We aren't challenging ourselves or living up to our full potential. Not one bit.
So, what are we to do?
How do we pull ourselves out of this ditch we've created?
Honestly? The first thing to do is to acknowledge we are in this rut. It can be uncomfortable, but it is a necessary step. Just the fact you're here, reading this, is a good sign, though. Whether you've actually said it out loud is irrelevant at this point. The mere fact you're reading something titled, “How to Get Out of a Rut” means you at least think you might be in one!
Do you see what that bolded question says, though? The last two words? “We've created.” This ditch we've created. Yes. YOU created your own rut.
Acknowledge YOUR responsibility in the situation you find yourself.
Trust me. I know all the ways we can transfer responsibility to anyone but ourselves — because I have done it. I still do it. Frequently. It is an ongoing habit I try really hard to be aware of so I can continue to grow & change.
Some of the things & people we blame for our ruts are valid & suck, hard-core.
For me? It's a depression that comes with a Bipolar II Disorder diagnosis. Or, could it be that I lost my mother when I was only 17? That shaped the end of my teenage years & warped much of my young adult life. Can you imagine how jaded I've felt? (Still do, quite often, when I am honest with myself.) Maybe it's the fact that I have toddler at home with me, so I have a hard time getting my work & school done. Or, perhaps it is my sheer exhaustion, no matter what I do or take; I struggle to have an energetic day & I am never quite sure why.
For you, maybe it is some version of one of those things. Maybe you had a crappy childhood or someone ripped you off in the past. Is it that you have a disability or illness of some sort. Or experience some level of poverty? The point is that we all have something, right? I am not trying to minimize valid ailments in any way. BUT, here me out.
How many times do we use our ailments — valid or not — as an excuse to do poorly?
Just because we have these horrible things happen to us does not mean we need to keep letting them bring us down. YOU have the power to make of your situation WHATEVER you want. That's right. YOU. The more you focus on your short-comings, the more abundant those short-comings will become.
The more you start to focus on what you CAN do, the more you will realize just how much more successful you can be.
Do all of our ailments & setbacks just disappear when we change how we think of them? Of course not. I still have Bipolar II Disorder & suffer from bouts of depression. My mother is still very dead & I miss her every single day — & am starting to cry as I write this. All of the “crutches” we give ourselves for not living up to our potential & staying stuck in our rut are still going to be there. The key is to acknowledge that those are things that happened to us; they do not define us. Can we say that again?
The things that happen TO us do not DEFINE us.
Don't let them! Please don't let them. You cannot control everything. Fact. So, quit trying & quit wallowing in your misery over the bad stuff. Move on in whatever ways you can. Focus on what you CAN control.
So, you're prone to depression? Make it a goal to simply let your feet hit the floor in the morning & go STRAIGHT to the shower to get ready for your day. Start there. Depending on the severity of your depression, that one goal might take you a day or a week or a month… But YOU are in control of it & YOU are taking the first steps to start to get out of your rut.
Does your toddler, who is with you & attached to you ALL the time, dictate your day? Are you not getting done the things YOU need or want to as a result? Well, I hope you don't want to give your toddler away! You can't control how demanding your toddler is. But do you know what you CAN control? When does your day begin & end? How do you spend the time before your toddler wakes & after your toddler goes to sleep?
Take a look at your routine & identify what you CAN control.
I am not a very domestic person. That's just not an area where I was blessed. Yet, I am a stay-at-home mama to a very active two-year-old. I also have my business to run AND I am an online college student. (Accounting, y'all! Go figure.) Plus, somewhere in there, I need time to decompress & calm my mind & feel like RETA JAYNE too, y'know? Having a toddler dictating my day just does not help me when it comes to finding time & balance to be able to accomplish everything I want & need to accomplish in a day.
I find myself in a rut if I am not careful, doing the same things day in & day out, yielding the same mediocre results — & not feeling very fulfilled doing it.
Then it dawned on me. I was focusing on all the things I could NOT control — the things “dragging me down,” so to speak. What could I control in my situation? How could I get out of this rut? So, I got brutally honest with myself & I made some hard choices.
Make the necessary changes, despite the fear involved.
Was it easy? Absolutely not. Tears were shed. There have been some really bad days in the midst of trying to make changes for the better. You might experience those too. It is frightening & exhausting to make changes necessary to get out of our rut.
But, the rewards will be SO worth it!
I closed down my business because it no longer “fit” my life & my family. I started a new business that worked better, but still let me carry out my values within it & fulfill my whole reason for being an entrepreneur. When my body signaled utter exhaustion after putting my toddler to bed, I stopped fighting it. Yep. No joke. I started going to bed just after her, as early as 7pm!
An early bedtime can be life-changing!
I went to bed earlier & used that time to read for an hour or two. I turn off or silence my phone, stay off Facebook, & ignore the outside world & lie in bed & read for an hour or two before falling asleep. During this time, I also chat with my husband (if he is coherent enough, since that is his normal bedtime for work too). I read books that help with mindset & motivate me to continue making positive changes in my life & way of thinking. This helps me fall asleep with positive thoughts & excited to start the next day. But that isn't the only drastic change I made.
Start your day on a positive note.
For me, my biggest frustration was not having enough time to do the things I wanted & needed to do. I felt like I was reacting to my day rather than running it myself, so I started my day by getting up earlier! Instead of being upset I couldn't fall back asleep in the early hours of the morning after my husband left for work, I started getting up & starting my day at that time.
Some days, I hit the shower & put on my makeup, record some videos for my business, or take some photos. Other days, I go straight for the coffee pot & sit at my desk to have uninterrupted time to write or blog or plan my week. Maybe it is a combination of those things — or more focused on the house, like putting dishes away or changing a load of laundry.
I let my anxiety guide me, in a sense.
I can't control that I get anxiety & beat up on myself for not getting done EVERYTHING I want to get done… So, I spend my mornings in a quiet house getting done whatever it is that has been bugging me the most or fits my “best case scenario” of how my day “should” go.
Create a plan for yourself that is feasible to follow.
Schedule your day or your week, make yourself lists, & visualize it getting done. Do what YOU need to do to control the things you can actually control. Quit working AGAINST the things you can't control & start working WITH them. Why does everything have to be a battle? Simply put, it doesn't. So stop.
I started planning my week out.
I tried giving myself specific tasks for each week, but I found that fueled my anxiety in ways that were counterproductive & far from positive. So, I decided to quit fighting it & I settled on giving myself a “theme” for productivity each day of the week.
Find what works for you.
Mondays I focus on planning.
I followed up on anything that happened over the weekend & composed new blog content.
Tuesdays & Thursdays are for prioritizing being dressed & ready at the very start of my day.
I was ready to record a video, take photos, get out of the house & whatever else keeps this homebody in check with the “real world” without having to “fight” the toddler to get out of the house in a presentable fashion.
Wednesdays are “pajama” days if I so choose.
I can focus on more “cerebral” tasks, stay in, catch up on some housework, & just love on my toddler, in general.
Friday, I leave open for whatever fell behind during the rest of the week.
I also aim to try to get new blog content out, but it is my day to look at my week as a whole & do whatever needs to be done to give me balance in terms of what got accomplished. If appointments had me out & about on my “pajama day,” I stay in PJs or if I didn't get around to recording videos, I get up & get dolled up & do my videos. I give myself the flexibility to have that day to “get my mind right.”
Saturday & Sunday, I try to leave as family days.
The handsome husband is off work so I try not to have any expectation of how the weekend will go so that he can steer us those days. This usually means that Saturday we have some kind of family outing, even if it is just to run a few errands & Sunday we have a “lazy” day at home, in pajamas a lot of the time, getting stuff done around the house & enjoying each other's company.
Stop being the victim.
Take control of the things you can! Your rut is there because you have chosen to fall into it. Just the same, you can choose to get out of your rut. You can. Work WITH the things that you are currently viewing as obstacles. Rethink how you look at them.
Put fresh eyes on your entire situation.
What would you do differently in an ideal world? How can you take a piece of that “ideal” vision & make it work for you NOW? Letting your situation control you & place blame with anyone or anything but you will keep you in the victim mentality & in that rut you're beginning to loathe. Just stop. YOU control YOUR actions. What happened to you is not YOU, but you ARE how you choose to handle it.
Tell me in the comments ONE thing you will change to start getting out of your rut.
And, as always, please accept this invitation to join us over in the Calculated Chaos Community for confidence boosts & friendship. <3