Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 7, 2019

How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire

How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire

Life comes in waves of novelty and familiarity. When things are new to us, whether they are goals, living situations, or jobs, they give us this rush of excitement and fear that pushes us to continue forward. Through the good and the not so good, these waves of novelty give us the opportunity to start anew and fuel our desire to enhance our lives.

When things become too familiar, on the other hand, it’s easy to fall into old habits and to feel as though we are not getting anywhere. This feeling eventually becomes something that begins to consume our days and we fall into a rut.

Once in that rut, it can be hard to get out, despite though you are well aware that you have trapped yourself in a cycle of doing the same things and getting no results.

The good news about being in a rut is that it is entirely possible to get yourself out, it will just take a little bit of strategy and self-exploration. If you’re one of the many people who feel that life has become bland or repetitive, take a look at this guide to help you get out of your rut and back into the life that you should be living.

1. Figure Out How Deep Your Rut Is

Not everyone’s rut is going to be the same. Some people may come to the realization that they are feeling trapped, make a slight adjustment in direction, and quickly put themselves back on track.

Advertising

Others, however, may be in a rut for several years before they figure out exactly what’s wrong and by that time, it is a little harder to change your course so that you can head in the direction that you’re wanting to go.

When you first begin to notice the feeling of being stuck or trapped in your current situation, hold onto that feeling and evaluate it. How long has this feeling been going on? Is this something that has recently appeared or is this something that you have been dealing with for ages but are only now noticing? More importantly, what type of feelings are being brought about with this shift in thinking?

Although being in a rut may feel relatively similar across the board and point to a lack of happiness with one’s life, there are different emotions that may be experienced when you come to the realization that you are in a rut. Some may be angry, some may be frustrated, and others may simply be going through a funk that they can’t shake.

It’s important to note this last part as some people may have everything they want but could be dealing with a major mental health issue such as depression. Depression manifests itself through symptoms such as a lack of interest in daily activities, fatigue and feelings of hopelessness and sadness, and avoidance of work and other responsibilities.[1]

If you’re not dealing with depression, the good news is that all you need are some life alterations to feel like your happy self again. If you are dealing with a form of depression, it’s important that you seek the help you need and if it is needed, you can take care of any life changes after you tackled your depression.

Advertising

2. Determine Where in Your Life You Feel Discontent

Being trapped in a rut may be a sign that your whole life needs re-working but that isn’t always so. Sometimes we may feel in a rut at work but could feel perfectly fine when we are out with friends or at home. Instead, we may feel stuck in a rut in our personal lives and may very happy with the progress that we’ve made in our professional lives.

Regardless of whether your rut signifies a whole life issue or just a problem in individual or several parts, you have to take a comprehensive look at your current life situation to determine where you are not getting your needs met.

The easiest way to do this is by using a goal-setting tool such as Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life, which identifies some of the major sections of life that people may wish to improve upon in order to experience balance in all aspects of their life.[2]

This resource specifically focuses on the following categories:

  • Physical/Health Goals
  • Personal & Social Goals
  • Work & Career Goals
  • Family Goals (Relationship and friendship goals can fall in here as well.)
  • Spiritual Goals
  • Financial Goals
  • Mind/Intellect Goals

Advertising

    Start by going through each of these sections of life and asking yourself, am I 100 percent happy in this given area?

    If you are, congratulations! That’s one less section that you will have to work on to get yourself out of your rut.

    If the answer is no, however, take some time to jot down ways you can improve that section. For example, if you feel as though the work and career aspect of your life could be improved, maybe that means that you need to change your job completely and work towards what you love or maybe you just need to figure out how to get a raise or promotion.

    Whatever ideas and visions make you happiest, write those down so that you can reference them later on when you begin working towards what you want.

    3. Start Off Small and Gradually Set Goals

    You can’t change your life overnight and trying to do so can bring about as much frustration and stress as being in a rut can. Look over your goals each day and ask yourself, how can I work towards this today?

    Advertising

    For the smaller goals like breaking a bad habit/creating a good habit or simply squeezing more you time into your day, you will be able to make these changes rather easily.

    For much larger goals that will take time, remember to break them down, set specific end goals and establish time frames, and remain mindful in your daily life so that you don’t end up drifting throughout your days and ending back where you are at the current moment![3]

    Final Thoughts

    The most important thing to remember is to not feel bad or bully yourself. Everyone goes through ruts, big and small, at some point in their lives. How your life goes from here depends entirely on what you do once you realize you are in one!

    Make the right decision by using the tips in this guide so that you can live the life that you want to lead in the future. If you need any additional help to guide yourself through some of the sections above, feel free to go through the following resources:

    Featured photo credit: Jake Melara via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Dylan Buckley

    Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

    10 Reasons Why You’re Demotivated and How to Overcome It Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire 13 Things to Do When You Feel Uninspired and Stuck Where You Are

    Trending in Mental Strength

    1 How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You) 2 How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life 3 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit 4 Do You Have a Fear of Disappointing Others? How to Conquer It for Good 5 Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on June 13, 2019

    How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You)

    How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You)

    Chances are, you’re busy hustling between the 40 hours a week you need to work, the family you need to provide for, and the bills that need to be paid.

    As the years pass by, you’ve begun to feel the burnout from all the needs and expectations required of you. You don’t feel like you are in control over your own life. In fact, it feels like the circumstances in your life are controlling you.

    What if there was a way for you to be able to have better control of your life and create all the positive changes you’ve been aching for?

    This can be done through self-realization.

    You’ve probably heard of this concept before, but you’re not really sure what it really is or how it can help you.

    I’m going to dive into what exactly self-realization is and the exact steps you can take to attain it for yourself. Read on if you want to learn how to unlock your potential and find a way to decrease your stress and anxiety, and gain crystal clear clarity about who you are and what you’re capable of.

    What Is Self-Realization?

    Self-realization has a few big definitions. In the Western world, it’s generally defined as the activation of one’s full potential of talents and abilities.

    How Psychologists Define Self-Realization

    Humanistic psychology also follows a similar train of thought about self-realization.

    Psychologist Abraham Maslow has named people he considered to have reached self-realization such as Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to name a few. His famous hierarchy of needs theory states in order to achieve self-realization (or in this case, Maslow uses the term “self-actualization”),[1] one needs to have a certain set of needs met before achieving it:[2]

    Advertising

      For example, self-realization cannot be achieved if you are struggling financially and too caught up in worrying about how to pay for the rent and provide food for your family. Unfortunately, this is usually the case for many people, which leaves little opportunity for them to maximize their abilities.

      How Religions Define Self-Realization

      In religions, the concept of self-realization is taken from a different perspective altogether. Connecting with your truest self has a lot to do with transcending your own mind and body. This self is often considered as an eternal being that is not confined to the physical space that your mind and body take up. Many recognize this part of yourself as the soul.

      To put all of these definitions together, self-realization is ultimately learning the answer to the foundational question, “Who am I?”

      The answer lies from understanding that you are not your emotions or your thoughts. Who you really are is not even your body or your mind. These are all things you as a self experience, but they are not you.

      And when you are too caught up in these things that are not yours, that’s when you fall victim to and get stuck in your negative experiences such as stress, anxiety and fear.

      While your thoughts, feelings, and physical body always changes, you do not.

      I know this concept can be a bit confusing to understand, so here’s a great video that explores who you really are explained by Prince EA. It was a video made in response to a bizarre interview session with Comedian Jim Carrey at the red carpet interview at the 2017 New York Fashion Week.

      Here’s the video:

      Why Self-Realization Matters to You

      How often are you distracted, lost in your thoughts, or overwhelmed by difficult emotions?

      Advertising

      Being in the present is more difficult than ever with the technology today. People are often buried in their smartphones or laptops while others around are craving their attention.

      Most people spend so little time in the present. They’re usually either hurt and having trouble letting go of their past, or busy worrying about their futures:[3]

      “People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.”

      Here are some amazing benefits to self-realization:

      • The ability to monitor your emotions. Rather than being controlled by your emotions, you can now use your observations about them during the experience to learn how to effectively handle things like fear, anxiety and stress. Self-realizations helps you do this by giving you the skill of letting go of debilitating feelings and taking hold of the empowering ones instead.
      • Improved focus and concentration. Guided by your own inner goals and values, self-realization helps you easily identify when you are entering into distractions and eliminate them. By getting rid of the meaningless things in your life, you stay committed to what matters most and you begin to see real results as you reach your fullest potential.
      • Increased confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem. By being connected deeply to your truest self, self-realization frees you from any insecurities, worries, and low sense of self worth that you feel tangled up in by helping you really grasp the truth that you are not defined by them.
      • Becoming more accepting of yourself and of other people. You are able to be more authentic and express emotions freely and clearly. As a result, you are able to form deeper relationships and spend more time connecting with people rather than trying to impress them.

      When people don’t have a strong sense of their own self, they get easily swayed to live life the way other people tell them to live it.

      The truth of this has been shown through Bronnie Ware’s famous work, which has shown that one of the top regrets of people who are dying was:[4]

      “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

      There can be tons of pressure whether it’s from work, society, and even friends and family for you to be a certain way. Maybe your rough upbringing instilled a strong need for other’s approval in you so you do what others expect of you. Maybe you’ve stopped trusting people because of your struggles with letting go of the thoughts and experiences that hurt you.

      Whatever the situation, self-realization gives you the safe space you need to heal and grow.

      How to Start Developing Self-Realization

      1. Start Meditating Regularly

      Aside from all the scientific evidence that shows the health benefits of meditation, it is also a prime way to achieve self-realization.

      Advertising

      One of my favorite apps that guide you through meditation is Headspace.

      I particularly love this app because it is very straightforward without all the woo-woo types of things you normally associate with meditation. It does a great job of demystifying what meditation really is and how it can benefit you to achieving self-realization.

      Here’s a great explanation of what meditation does for you:

      You can get the basic meditation guidance for free or pay for a premium version for access to more specific meditations that improve things like self esteem, creativity and relationships.

      In case you don’t want to download the app, here is the simple meditation practice you can do right now:

      1. Sit comfortably on a chair.
      2. Start by leaving your eyes open with a relaxed soft focus.
      3. Take about a minute to take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
      4. After a few deep breaths, gently close your eyes while you are breathing out.
      5. Resume normal breathing.
      6. Take a moment to pause and enjoy being present in the moment with having nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to check.
      7. Take a moment to feel the pressure of your body on the chair beneath you, the feet on the floor and the hands and the arms just resting on the legs.
      8. Gently bring the focus back to your breathing.
      9. As you sit there beginning to notice the breath and the body with its rising and falling sensation, don’t try and stop your thoughts. Simply allow them to just come and go.
      10. At this point, the only thing you need to do is when you’ve realized your mind has wandered, gently bring the focus back to your breath again.
      11. Gently bring the attention back to your body, back to that feeling of contact to your chair and the space around you and when ready, gently open your eyes again.

      Even if it’s only 5-10 minutes a day, learning to train your mind to be present is so important to your journey towards self-realization. You need to take a step back from the craziness of life and recompose yourself to be present for the things that matter most.

      Another great method that can be used to achieve self-realization that involves a bit more body strength is yoga. While there are many variations of yoga and has also become a very popular form of exercise in western culture, its original purpose served as a meditative practice to achieve the higher level of consciousness that comes from self-realization.

      You can access plenty of free Yoga channels on Youtube or join a gym to get started.

      2. Make Time for Self-Realization Every Day

      I know what you’re thinking.

      Advertising

      “I don’t have time for this!”

      I beg to differ.

      About 40 percent of the things you do in a day don’t involve you actively making a decision. Instead, it is actually a habit.

      Out of all of your habits, there are probably a handful of bad ones. If you can observe your daily routines, there is a simple way to change a bad habit into a good one, which is to start making changes to your environment to make it easier for you to change your habits.

      The idea is rather than trying to squeeze in more time to do something, simply alter a daily habit you have into something else.

      For example, let’s say you start your morning by brewing your coffee and sitting down on the dining table for 20 minutes to browse the internet to catch up on the news.

      The news is usually full of negative information, so why not spend those 20 minutes in meditation instead?

      One easy way to make this change is to change your environment up by keeping your laptop and phone in a different room so you don’t have immediate access to it when you sit down on the dining table. You make it easier on yourself to spend time meditating rather than staring at a screen.

      Want some more great tips on breaking bad habits? You can try out Lifehack CEO’s secret Control Alternate Delete method, which was the method he used to break 3 bad habits in less than 2 months.

      Final Thoughts

      Self-realization doesn’t happen overnight. It will take some time and practice, but if you turn the practices into a habit, you’ll be guaranteed to get there. Once you do, you’ll finally feel like you are in more control over your life and be able to get yourself to the next level.

      Now that you have a better understanding of the importance and benefits of self-realization, why not take a moment to put everything down and give it a try?

      More About Self-Realization

      Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next