Laina Turner, Author
L.C. Turner, Author

How to Get Yourself Out of a Rut

We all get to that place in our life, whether personal or professional, where we feel stuck. That things aren’t moving in the direction we want, or it’s not fast enough.

Maybe things aren’t making sense anymore. You wake up one day and dread doing something when the day before you felt it was fun. You’re not sure what happened, why it’s not bringing you the same joy, and more importantly what you should do about it.

You might feel blah, unmotivated, lazy. You have days where Netflix seems more exciting than working on the things you used to like or even going out to meet with friends.

It’s not just those of us in midlife. It can happen to anyone regardless of age.

get out of a midlife rut

We all go through these streaks of not being motivated to do anything, and there can be many different underlying reasons for feeling this way.

If these behaviors and feelings resonate with you, you might be in what I call a rut. And since we all know that doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the definition of insanity the only way to get out of your rut is to make changes in your routine and your outlook.

But changing up your routine can be hard. Especially, if it’s one that’s worked for you up to now. It can be hard to admit we need a change.

I used to think I didn’t need a routine. I mean sure I had one but I didn’t NEED it. I prided myself on being able to go with the flow and still get everything done.

I may not have thought I needed a routine, but I was fooling myself.

I finally acknowledged when people wanted to change up my routine I would get edgy and my productivity would drop. Hence, I depended on my routine I was just blind to it. Especially, when I transitioned into full-time entrepreneurship and wasn’t working that 9-5 where I had structure whether I liked it or not. Those first few months working from home were the least productive of my life.

I remembered the first time I felt stuck and unmotivated. It scared me because I wasn’t sure what to do. It was a foreign feeling to me. I worried I wouldn’t find my mojo and passion. That I’d be a boring person who never accomplished their life dreams.

But over the years, and many ruts, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me get re-excited ( I know that’s not a word, but it sounded fun) and rejuvenated about the work I’m doing.

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At least enough to make myself do it.

And let’s be honest that’s all you can ask for sometimes. Not every single thing you do is going to be super exciting.

So what should you try if you feel stuck in a rut?

1. Revisit your goals and why’s and make sure they still align with your long-term objectives. Sometimes you keep working toward a goal because it’s habit, but you’ve fallen out of love with it or started going in a different direction. That’s ok. Goals are fluid. They’re meant to change as we grow and change.

You want to make a point of revising your goals a couple of times a year (at least) to be proactive and make sure you’re still working toward what you want.

Though if you find yourself frequently changing your goals, you might have a problem with focus. You’ll never accomplish anything if you’re not focused.

2. Change one thing. If change scares you (and that’s ok if it does), then don’t try and change everything at once. Your routine became a routine because at one time it worked. Maybe you can adjust one tiny thing, and it will be enough to make a difference. If not once you get used to the change you can change something else.

3. Be crazy and mix up your day. I like to get up early (well the word like is a bit of a stretch but it works best for my schedule) and get my writing and workout done first thing before my mind gets distracted. But I will get to a point a few times a year where I start dreading getting up before it’s even time to go to bed. I then know it’s time to flip my schedule and remind myself why I get up at 5 am to work out. Because I hate it even more in the evening.

4. Same task different environment. It can be simple like working at Starbucks instead of Panera Bread. Instead of working on your laptop indoors go to a park. Head to the library instead of your home office. Changing the scenery in which you do your work can often be a creative vibe to what you’re doing.

5. Do something you’ve never done before. It could be you need to try something different. Go rock climbing (I’m talking indoors not repelling down the Grand Canyon) or try a silks class. Read a book in a genre you’ve never read. It could even be drinking tea instead of coffee.

6. Talk to someone. Sometimes telling someone, your frustrations might be all you need to get unstuck and figure out what it is you need. Even if it doesn’t solve your problem, it certainly can’t hurt. We all need people to talk to.

The most important thing I can offer you is don’t beat yourself up. Feeling stuck is often temporary, and it’s normal. Even when it involves something you love. Being patient with yourself to figure out what you need is key. Stressing out over it will make it worse.

Remember you are fabulous. Every day in every way!

I’d love to hear how you get yourself unstuck.

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