Being stuck can sneak up on us. We often don’t wake up one morning and think, “I’m in a rut.” Instead, we have slipped into one, over days, weeks or even months before we realized it. It’s like that when you have been cooking something really fragrant. You may not smell it as much as someone who walks into the kitchen for the first time. When you have been in a rut, it can be hard to recognize.

Do you suspect you are in a rut? Here are some tell-tale signs that there are parts of your life that are stuck:

·      Your body feels sluggish and heavy. When you are in a rut, you don’t do a great job taking care of yourself. You may not eat as well or exercise as often as you need to.

·      Your energy is low, and your typical routine feels like more of an effort than it should.

·      You keep thinking about the good ol’ days. The days when life was simpler, and you had less worries and concerns, you may have weighed less, or you were in better shape. You wish desperately to go back to that place.

·      Your sleep is volatile. You may have a hard time sleeping because your mind is busy and hard to calm down. You may also want to sleep all of the time. Escape is the name of the game. You find getting out of bed in the morning is ridiculously hard.

·      You may have a hard time being social. It’s just easier to be alone than make yourself spend time with friends and family.

If you can relate to some of these signs, you have woken up in the right place at the exact right time. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in your rut, the good news is that you don’t have to dig any deeper. You can start pulling yourself out of your rut RIGHT NOW.

Busting yourself out of a rut requires that you do something different. It’s easy to think about doing something different or make a plan for a new course of action. Getting out of a rut requires that something in your life changes.  After all, you can’t expect to keep doing the same thing and get different results.

Moving out of a rut also requires that you consistently make a choice to do something that pulls you in the right direction.

Each of these habits has a key purpose. They redirect your energy toward more of what you do want and less of what you don’t want. When you keep focusing on being in a rut, giving it your thoughts, energy, and attention, the rut will get bigger and you will stay there longer. When you focus on the life you want to live, where you are in an easy and natural rhythm with your life, it will be easier for you to stay there and keep living from that place.

Ready to bust yourself out? Here are 10 Habits that will do just that:

1.    Acknowledge where you are.

This is a shift in your thinking that is very powerful. Now that you know you are in a rut, take an inventory of your life. What is working? What isn’t? Look at all the areas of your life-- relationships, work and career, money, health, spirituality.

Acknowledging where you are is one of the first steps in taking full responsibility. Once you see what parts of your life you want to change, you can start creating new habits to pull yourself out of that rut.

2.    Give yourself 20 minutes.

Getting out of our rut can feel overwhelming. We may look at certain projects and things we want to accomplish and they may feel insurmountable. Instead of thinking you will never be able to do all that you need to do and it’s easier to not even start, give yourself 20 minutes. Set the timer and work without distraction for 20 minutes. Instead of cleaning your whole desk, you may just get a corner. You may not finish revamping your resume, but after 20 minutes, you were that much closer than before.

3.    Start your morning off right.

A great morning ritual is so important to start each day with calmness and clarity. Create a few things you do every morning to start yourself off on the right foot. I wake up every morning, drink a huge glass of water with lemon, meditate for 10 minutes, and visualize what I want to create in my foreseeable future (see habit #6). Next, I’ll spend some time doing my most creative work, and then I work out. This ritual feels so grounding to me.

As you create your morning ritual, include time for stillness, even if you are just sitting for 5 minutes paying attention to your breath. Add in other habits that would be a good way to start every day and design the start of your day with purpose.

4.    Do one thing to feel better.

This is like pivoting or changing directions. Feeling better in your body is something that can build momentum in the right direction. You can go for a run or walk, have a big glass of water, take a power nap, take a few minutes of quiet for yourself or read a chapter of a book. When you find yourself going down the wrong road, it’s never too late to turn around and go in the other direction.

5.    Gather your tribe.  

There is a good chance that while you’ve been in your rut, your family, friends, or coworkers have been wondering what’s up with you. It’s time to get out of your head and share your challenges with someone. See the community of people around you that is there to support you.  Partner up. Don’t do it alone. Share the shifts you are looking to make with a friend. They may need to bust out of their rut too, and you could be doing them a huge favor. Then, hold each other accountable to do what you both need to do.

6.    Create a clear picture.

Your life is really available for the creating. Take time and create a visual in your mind with what you want your life to look like. Picture where you want to live, design what your home looks like, and who you are with. What are you wearing? How do you feel? What are you doing? Do this every day after your meditation (see habit #3). And while you are at it, dream big. Why not? If your lifelong dream is to cruise to Alaska, picture yourself on that cruise ship. Do you have a dream of finishing the Boston Marathon? Picture yourself crossing the finish line with a big smile on your face.

7.    Your daily practice.

There are some critical things you must do every day that support your wellbeing. These activities are around movement, sleep, and nutrition. To feel better, you must take care of your body. Design your own daily practice. Choose at least three practices that you know will make you feel better. Here are some examples you can choose from:

·      Sleep between 7 ½- 8 hours every night.

·      Get outside. Walk the dog. Soak up some sunshine and breath in the fresh air.

·      Do a physical activity for at least 15 minutes.

·      Eat real food.

·      Connect with friends and family.

·      Spend time with your creative side. Play music, write, draw, knit or anything else that is a vehicle of self-expression.

 

8.    Have an attitude of gratitude.

Every day, write down at least 1 thing that you are grateful for. Nothing is too small or too big. You may be grateful that it stopped raining or that you had your favorite meal for dinner. You may be grateful for the home you live in or for the health of parent or child. It can be anything at all and the idea is that you acknowledge those things in your life that you appreciate. This practice will get easier over time. Work your way up to 3 and then 5 things every day.

9.    Let go.

More often than not, we can feel stuck in a rut because we are holding onto something so desperately. We hold onto resentment, anger, sorrow, guilt, and other emotions that leave us feeling immobilized. Get clear what you are holding onto. Is it a situation that didn’t turn out the way you would have liked? Are you holding onto resentment toward someone in your life? Or, do you keep beating yourself up? Forgiveness sets us free. Forgiveness gives us a new lease on life. Get clear for yourself what you can let go of and then set yourself free.

10. Acknowledge yourself.

Shifting your attitude and making changes in your life can take some big effort. Be your own biggest cheerleader. This may be the hardest habit to embrace. It requires you to give yourself credit where credit is due. This is something you may naturally not be good at. For every shift you make, give yourself a pat on the back.  But also, notice the impact that small shift had. Do you have more energy? Is your mind clearer? Are you sleeping better?

The moment we wake up and realize that our life is not how we want it, is the moment we start moving in the right direction. Finding yourself in a rut isn’t the bad news.  It’s the opening for a change. Incorporate these 10 habits into your life and backsliding will be a thing of the past. You have now been armed with ways to move yourself in the direction of your dreams. Dream big and take one steady step at a time!