How do you get out of a rut? What does it even mean to be in a rut?
Someone (I believe it was Jim Rohn) once said “a rut is merely a grave with both ends knocked out.”
To me, a “rut” is a season of life where our thinking has become stale, tired, and boring. In the exciting, limited-time-only adventure we call life, there’s no time to waste on “ruts”.
Here are 3 sure-fire ways to renew your thinking and get yourself out of a rut.
1. Change your focus. Part of being in a rut is the sensation that everything seems like the “same old thing” day after day. How do you overcome that? Find something different to focus on! Concrete examples that sound simple but are powerful tools of focus-change:
- Read a book or magazine you have NEVER read before.
- Do some activity you don’t ever do: if you are a loner, this may mean going to a party. If you watch a lot of TV, it may mean reading a book instead. Just shake up your normal routine.
- Have an “opposite day”. For one day, do everything differently. Eat different food, take a different route to work, drive if you normally walk, take the bus if you normally drive. Try to do everything differently than you normally would.
2. Master your thoughts. Forget trying to change your emotions. They are ephemeral. But you can control your thoughts, and your emotions are rooted in your thoughts. Whenever you notice yourself in an emotional rut, start tracing back what you were thinking about right before you started having those feelings. Invariably you will find the thoughts that started the emotional slide. When you have found the thoughts that are the culprit – think about something else! Often awareness of the source thought is enough to dispel any tired or troublesome emotions.
3. Alter your physiology. It’s a proven fact – the way you use your body alters the way you perceive the world. To change your perceptions, change your physiology. That means alter your posture, breathing, or heart rate. How? eEre are some suggestions (merely thought starters – there are many more):
- Go for a walk or run
- Jump rope
- Do a series of long, slow inhalations and exhalations
- Ride a bike
- Do pushups
While all of these suggestions may seem simple, their power to get you out of a rut is profound. Give them a try and see for yourself.
Question: What tricks have you used to break out of a rut?