Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Stuck in a Rut? 5 Ways to Get Out and Move Forward

Stuck in a Rut? 5 Ways to Get Out and Move Forward

There’s are few things more frustrating than being stuck in a rut.

The wheels are spinning, but you’re not getting anywhere. Like the whole world is moving around you, and you’re stuck in place. And the harder you try to get out, the more stuck you feel. It’s exhausting, yes.

Unfortunately, we all get stuck in a rut from time to time. A surprise or challenging circumstance pops up in our road of life, and we end up off the road and stuck in a ditch.

Whether you’re feeling unmotivated, down, or trapped in a pattern, we need to dig ourselves out of the mud and back into momentum.

Here are five simple and effective ways to get out of that rut and start moving forward:

Advertising

1. Engage Your Body

Whenever we’re spinning our wheels but not moving forward, it means we’re stuck in our head, thinking of actions without being in the vehicle that can take those actions.

Physiologically, exercise increases our brain’s production of dopamine. This neurotransmitter helps us to feel motivated and take action in life.[1] It also helps stimulate alpha brainwaves [2] which are associated with less anxiety and more relaxation. That allows us to think creatively and come up with new solutions.[3]

So, when you feel stuck, stop overthinking and start engaging the body. You may choose to hit the gym, do a few pushups, walk around the neighborhood, or even dance in your living room, for instance. Moving your body can help you get unstuck and start doing something productive again.

2. Talk (Or Write) It Out

We often cycle around the same thoughts over and over again when we can’t take another step forward. But it’s challenging to break this cycle because we can’t see that we’re even in one.

Once we speak the words out loud to a friend, therapist, or coach, or put them down on a piece of paper, we can separate from those thoughts and start to identify the patterns that keep us stuck.

Advertising

Often, just hearing ourselves say the words or seeing them in our journal can help us to think about our situation in a new light. The added benefit of speaking to another person (whom we trust) is that we get to hear their feedback or advice as well.

3. Start Easy

Sometimes, taking any action is entirely overwhelming. Most of our daily activities are a composite of a whole bunch of actions that we group together. When we’re exhausted from trying to get out of a rut, we don’t have extra energy to spare.

For example, “getting ready” in the morning may sound simple, but it consists of a long list of actions. After all, you need to get out of bed, take a shower, brush your teeth, and dress up.

Doing all that might feel overwhelming when you’re in a rut, so start with the easiest step possible. Just get out of bed and feel proud of it — that will not pressure you into doing the other things on the list right away.

Similarly, entire books are written with just one word, followed by the next. Exercise happens with a small movement and then the next. Big projects are finished with one tiny action after another.

Advertising

Then, celebrate each small step that you accomplish. You don’t need to focus on speeding through everything. Instead, you have to do the most straightforward step that will help you start moving once more.

4. Try Something New

The thing about spinning your wheels without moving forward is that we know its outcome.

Doing the same activities on the loop isn’t going to change that.

When you’re stuck in a rut, therefore, try something new. It doesn’t have to make sense or even seem directly related. It can be as simple as saying hi to a stranger each day, getting a new haircut, or changing up our morning routine.

What we choose to try matters a lot less than the fact that we’re willing to shake things up.

Advertising

The worst that can happen is that we don’t move forward. But if we’re willing to try a new strategy and experiment like scientists, it will be easy to figure out what can motivate us to move forward.

More often than not, a significant life change comes from that.

5. Get Lots of Support

Being stuck in a rut causes us to deceive ourselves into thinking we’re doing nothing because we don’t see outward movement. However, in actuality, spinning our wheels is a physically and emotionally exhausting process.

To get out of it, we need to get the support of every kind from others. It can be from friends who we can text or chat with during an emergency or counselors who can assist you when it comes to nourishing movement, essential oils, baths, massage, herbs, medication, etc.

Very few people can get out of a ditch themselves. So, there’s no shame in accepting whatever support is necessary to get out of that rut. In truth, it’s the only way to set yourself free.

Bottom Line

We may find ourselves in a rut at one point or another. Sometimes, it happens for a short period; other times, it takes you for the long haul. Either way, it’s critical to have simple yet useful tools to help us get back on the open road.

More on Getting Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Lindsay Henwood via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele is a writer, life purpose expert, and brand strategist who helps people map their sensitivities to discover their purpose.

stuck in a rut Stuck in a Rut? 5 Ways to Get Out and Move Forward 5 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Day at Work 5 Things to Do If You Don’t Want to Get Back to Work How to Be Humble Without Putting Yourself Down 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Success (And Don’t Know It)

Trending in Life Potential

1 13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them 2 How to Live a Full Life With No Regrets 3 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again 4 Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead 5 How to Make a Positive Change for a Fulfilling Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 3, 2020

13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them

13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them

In life, we encounter problems as we breathe. But it doesn’t get to us until we feel a major impact, and that’s when it becomes a source of concern, hurt, or sorrow.

Life problems, depending on their magnitude, can be clogs in the wheel of progress, and we may not be able to attain our full potential if we don’t learn to place our problems in the proper perspectives as suggested in Robert Schuller’s Tough Times Never Last.

In this article, I have identified some common areas where you will most likely face problems as you make progress towards reaching your full life potential. I have also suggested practical approaches in handling, managing, and solving such problems.

1. Financial Crisis

We live in an uncertain world and a financial crisis may come at different stages of life. While you should always anticipate and prepare for a financial crisis, it may still catch you off guard or the magnitude may be far more than any preparation you have made over the years.

It could be that you lost your job or a major investment, got slammed with a lawsuit that threatens your savings, or have your livelihood be affected by a major disaster. So what do you do when you are in a financial mess?

Solution

To overcome a financial crisis, you will have to come to terms with the crisis. Acknowledge and accept the situation and begin recovery by setting your financial priorities right.

The next thing to do is to identify the cause of the crisis. If it’s due to a job loss, then your effort should be directed at getting a new job. If it is having multiple debts, look for ways to consolidate your debt so that your monthly debt repayment can be consolidated into one instead of being burdened with multiple payments.

You can also sell some of your assets to raise money to save the situation, or look for a better job if you are earning less at your current job. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family and friends if you need to.

2. Health Crisis

Another major problem that might come up in your life is a health crisis. This is not far-fetched because our body systems work round-the-clock, even when we are sleeping. As a result of this, and if you don’t maintain routine health habits, health deterioration might begin to set in. Things might even get serious if you don’t attend to it early.

Advertising

Solution

When you are facing a major health crisis, the first thing to do is to consider lifestyle changes. This includes cutting down on junks, eating healthy diets, exercising, breathing fresh air, taking some sun, etc.

Apart from the lifestyle changes, you have to seek quality medical help and make sure you get different opinions about the state of your health so you can get the best affordable care.

3. Relationship, Marriage, and Family

There may not be anything as sweet as love and family life, but it can also be the source of pain for some. Human imperfections in a relationship can cause a major crisis in life. This has been a stumbling block to many on their path to fulfillment.

Solution

The best thing to do is to prevent relationship problems from happening, but if they do happen, you need to face reality and begin to take steps towards addressing them. Do your best to keep the lines of communication open as this can help in strengthening your struggling relationship. Talk about the challenges with your partner and look for common grounds.

You can also arrange to see a counselor together or read books that address the specific challenges you are facing. The worst thing you can do is to end a relationship and that’s only when you have exhausted all other options.

4. Workplace

The workplace is supposed to be a place where we dutifully render the services for which we’ve been hired.

However, it is not impossible to face animosity at work—dealing with toxic people who would rather not see any good in what you do. It might be caused by differences in background, attitudes, and unhealthy competition that can result in personal conflicts. This can create undue stress and reduce productivity.

Solution

Be as professional as possible when dealing with toxic people. Be kind and show understanding, and try to avoid personal confrontation.

You can even try to reach out to the persons and invite them over for a coffee and get to understand their worldview. This can help you to connect with them at their level so that you can avoid unnecessary stress for yourself.

Advertising

5. Career Pressure

In your quest to become more successful, you will likely encounter work-related pressure. Such can come when trying to stabilize your career or climb the career ladder. It can also come as a result of overworking and having no life. Career pressure is one of the most common life problems.

Sometimes, it may be that the promotion you are working hard to get is not coming or positions you are qualified for are being offered to others. The pressure can get more intense when you find that most of your colleagues are moving ahead of you.

Solution

Check to find if you have personal or attitudinal problems. Some attitudinal problems can put you at a disadvantaged end. It may be poor communication, poor personal grooming, or poor relationship and networking skills. If it is any of these problems, then work on improving yourself in those areas.

You can also observe your colleagues who are succeeding and take note of what they are doing differently.

6. Unfair Treatment

We are in a world where some people often think they have some privileges over others and may want to exercise this thinking and treat others unfairly. If you find yourself in an environment where you are being oppressed or treated badly because of your race, gender, or current status, this can make you feel really bad and can also affect your psyche and productivity.

Solution

There is the temptation to decry your treatment, defend yourself, and demand a change immediately, but you should really wait for the right opportunity to do that.

When the time is right, reach out directly to the person or authority involved, and make it private. Meanwhile, you should be factual about the instances of your unfair treatments. Don’t just say it that you are being treated badly; give several undeniable instances.

Once you’ve made your grievances known politely, keep being you. If things don’t change, you can cocoon yourself in that environment. If you have an option to leave, you can do so as well.

7. Emptiness and Boredom

When you are in a rut, everything becomes normal, dull, unproductive, and yet difficult to change. This can lead to feelings of emptiness and boredom. This may not seem like a serious life problem, but it can have a great impact on your life.

Advertising

Solution

To overcome boredom and emptiness, break out of your routines, and deliberately create a new experience for yourself. If you can’t leave your job to find a new one, start doing other things that reflect your true passion. Sometimes, the things that give us the needed drive in life are not our day jobs.

8. Confusion

Confusion is described as a change in mental status in which a person is not able to think with their usual level of clarity.[1]. It is inherent in forgetfulness and lack of concentration.

It can be caused by different things including medical and environmental factors. It can also be due to the experience of a loss, a heartbreak, or abuse.

Solution

Don’t allow the situation to deteriorate into something more serious. Try to snap out of whatever experiences you have had that is causing confusion. Seek medical help if necessary or talk to a psychologist.

9. Friendship Problems

We need friends in our lives to rob minds and hang out together and even help us when we run into trouble. But many people have found themselves in serious trouble as a result of the company of friends they keep. They’ve experienced jealousy, backstabbing, and betrayal of trust. Some friends have even used the information freely provided in times of friendship to betray trust.

Solution

Don’t open up on everything to friends. Keep some information only to yourself. If you notice that a friend is working against you, confront them with the truth. Limit your interaction with them or get rid of such toxic friends completely.

10. Haunting Past

We all have pasts, and we might have done some crazy stuff in the past before we begin to live a more civilized and decent life. But sometimes, the past comes back haunting. It’s even worse when life problems of the past haunt you back and become problems of the present.

It may be that what you have done is now striking your conscience, keeping you awake at night. Or someone who knows about it is trying to use it against you, and it is standing in the way of your progress.

Solution

Be true to yourself and forgive yourself. If it is an issue with another person, you can reach out to the person to settle with them. If it is a secret that is now being leaked out, own up to it, take responsibility, and move on.

Advertising

11. Safety and Security

You may find yourself in an environment where there have been unexplained murder, gun violence, police brutality, insurgencies, and other life-threatening situations. This can make you feel like you might be the next victim. What should you do in this situation?

Solution

Ensure that you watch where you go and keep your home secure. You can also get involved in a neighborhood community watch to collectively find solutions to the threat. If the situation persists, you can move to a more secure location.

12. Failure

Failure can bring disappointment and can also slow the pace of progress. But failure is also part of life, and we have to learn to deal with it. But what do you do when an experience of failure weighs you down?

Solution

You can read a book or biography to get inspired by other people’s success stories.

13. Grief

No one loves to grief but we can’t totally shield ourselves from it. The loss of a loved one is painful and, if not properly handled, can lead to an emotional breakdown.

Solution

Take your time to express emotions. You can also pen an emotional tribute to the individual. Writing can help us bring out the feelings that cannot be expressed otherwise, and it helps us breathe a sigh of relief.

You can also cope with your grief by helping them to realize some of their unfulfilled dreams or do something in their honor. Lastly, while you think about your loss, you will still have to move on, accepting the fact that life is transient.

The Bottom Line

Problems are what make life worth living. They help us adapt to become tougher as we adapt to different situations. Always remember that whatever problem you are facing has a solution or, at least, a manageable approach.

Therefore, never allow your challenges to stop you from fulfilling your true potentials in life.

More Tips to Help You Get Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Danka & Peter via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medicinet: Confusion: Symptoms & Signs

Read Next