Getting Out of The Rut

The definition of a rut is a deep groove, track or trench with no end in sight, which has been worn by a vehicle or habitual passage. It’s a monotonous routine where you keep trudging along, often losing sight of your own goals and uniqueness. This can be an accurate description of a lifestyle that so many people have fallen into, especially in this economic environment.  Does it describe you?

My life experiences have taught me you can’t advance your life forward personally or professionally when you are in a rut.  Ruts drag you down and prevent advancement.

If you don’t get out of the rut, you will be frustrated, discouraged, and unfulfilled.  Your relationships will suffer and your performance will be adversely affected.

How to Get Out of Your Rut

Recently I visited the website of my cousin, Deb Erickson, who calls herself “The RutBuster.”  She has a three-step program to help people get out of a rut.

She’s right on.  In fact, I realized that this is the very process I employed when I’ve gotten out of my personal ruts, so I’d like to give those to you now, putting my own spin on them.

Step 1.  Become aware.  It’s your choice point.

  • You must recognize that you are in a rut. Before any positive change can occur in your life, you must know that you have a problem. Take some time to analyze your situation.  Know that ruts can also be mental, emotional, physical, or financial.
  • What is the rut you are in?  Why are you in this rut? How has it affected other areas of your life?  If you are unhappy with your career, how has that affected your marriage and your relationship with your children.
  • Awareness allows for choices. Stay in the rut and continue to suffer all the negative outcomes, or take control of your life—get out of the rut and find new meaning in life.  Getting out a rut is a matter of choice.  While it may take some time to get out of a rut, you can’t begin the process until you have made a conscious choice that enough is enough.

Step 2.  Set your intentions. Follow your Internal GPS.

  • Determine what’s important to you. What do you value?  What are your goals? Who do you want to become?  What do you want out of life? What kind of job uses your skills and talents to the fullest? Where would you find the greatest fulfillment? Get clear on where you would like to take your life.
  • Listen to Your Internal Voice. Everyone has a built-in GPS system. It’s that internal voice that guides you, tugs at you, warns you, and directs each step you take. Understand the big picture of what you want to achieve and let that internal voice keep you on track and help you accomplish your long-term goals. As long as you are pursuing something that is truly important to you, your inner voice will tell you when you are off track, or on track, and the small refinements you need to make.

Step 3.  Let go and flow.   Allow things to unfold naturally.

Once you are clear on what you want, put together your plan; then let things unfold naturally. More than likely you will be moving down a new path in life. Although it is impossible to prepare for everything, if you stay focused on the things that are truly important to you, the doors of opportunity will open before you.

As you focus on the big picture of what’s important to you, The Law of Attraction will kick in just as Brian Tracy predicts: “Each person is a living magnet.  We radiate thought energy that sooner or later attracts into our lives the people and circumstances that harmonize with our dominant thought.”

You can get out of the rut.  Just allow life to unfold naturally and follow Mark Twain’s advice: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

It’s time for a little self-evaluation

Take time out to review your situation, evaluate your life, and examine your goals.  Ask yourself these questions: Where would I like to take my life? Am I in a rut?  Is my marriage in a rut?  Is my career in a rut?  Is my golf game in a rut?

If you are in a rut, I urge you to watch a short 6-minute video by Deb Erickson on her website at www.deberickson.com.  Her book, Get out of the Rut and on with Your Life, may also have some concrete ideas that will help you get out of your rut.

You are in control and you have the power to get any part of your life out of a rut. Just keep your eye focused on the big picture of what you want to achieve and then move down the road at a pace that allows you to enjoy the journey.

About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)

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  • Christina

    AWESOME timing!! Wow, I really needed this. Thanks Todd!!

  • Christina- Your post brought a smile to my face. Not too many people in a rut have your energy. I am sure you won't be in it long. Todd

  • This is so true. I think that we come to a point in our lives where we may be just miserable. It may not even be that we've done anything "wrong". It may just be time for a change. If we never felt discomfort, we'd just keep going, doing the same things over and over and never grow, change and move on. My personal belief is that God allows that feeling of discomfort to grow inside of us as a way to move us to the next good thing he has for in our life.

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