Rut – a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.
We all experience times when our lives are not going as well as we hoped. We feel bored, unproductive and listless, when asked to describe our feelings we often describe them as being in a “rut”.
Below are the top 3 proven ways to get out of your rut.
I hope they work as well for you as they do for me!!
Through my business I have the opportunity to interact with many people who like myself, are searching for success on the far side of fifty. Once we hit middle age many of us look back upon our lives in bewilderment and wonder where the time went. We know that time, that seemingly inexhaustible resource, is running out but we don’t know what to do about it.
We want to go more places, do more things and achieve more goals, but something is holding us back. We want to make improvements but can’t quite seem to get there. Our diets fail, our exercise programs don’t stick or we never get around to starting that business or writing that book.
After a while we get drawn into the monotony of daily living and fall into that funky mindset that we call a rut.
The problem is that many experienced adults feel ourselves sliding deeper and deeper into our rut. Some of us respond this frustrating situation by having a “midlife crisis”. But for most of us even this “crisis” is kind of pathetic and rarely results a major life change. Instead we make do with a shiny new car or a trip to an exotic locale.
Eventually most of us get past our “crisis” and go on living a life that we are not completely satisfied with. Not the life we dreamed about as a child, but a life we find tolerable most of the time.
If we are fortunate we have a job, house, car, 2.2 offspring, pension and a group of people we hang out with on the weekends. We go on annual vacations and if we are lucky we may even own a vacation property and not be in too much debt.
We know we are in a rut but we just can’t figure out how it got so deep or how to get out of it.
When in a rut we feel bored, listless, unproductive and kind of sad.
Googles definition of a rut as being a habit or pattern of behaviour that has become dull, unproductive and hard to change is completely accurate, but requires a little explanation.
Key to the definition is the word “unproductive”.
Productivity is a prerequisite to success. While I am a big believer in positive psychology the fact of the matter is that achievement of our dreams requires work. Achieving a high degree of success requires a significant expenditure of effort which can, at times, feel a lot like drudgery. I personally don’t mind drudgery as long as I feel it is productive. I have learned to work when I don’t feel like it and to do the things that make me uncomfortable. However once I see my productivity begin to drop I know I have to make changes because I am falling into a rut.
Following are three of the very best ways that I know of to get out of my rut and start living a more fun and productive life. These strategies are way cheaper than a car or a trip and far more effective and can have a very positive effect on your life over the long term.
Accept the fact that you are solely accountable for your life.
Despite your misgivings you have chosen your place in life and you have the power to change your circumstance.
The very act of accepting your accountability will do wonders for your feelings of personal power.
Take positive physical action.
The mere act of taking positive physical action helps build inertia. A shortened version of Newton’s law of motion (or inertia) says “an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion”. If you want a simple definition of Newton’s Law of inertia please click here
My wife Brenda explains it even better when she says “the less you do the less you want to do,” and I agree with her.
If you want to break out of a rut taking some physical action is a great start. Try going for a walk, do some gardening or even vacuum the house. Any physical action is helpful.
Even better yet do something that leads you toward the accomplishment of a major life goal.
Feeling that your actions are leading you toward the accomplishment will make you feel even better about them.
Find your purpose.
If you really want to break out of a rut trying doing something that you feel has a purpose.
It is a proven fact that many, if not all, of the people who have had huge impacts on the world also had a cause or a purpose that they were committed to.
Mother Theresa, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela were all committed to a cause. Steve Jobs looked upon his work designing computers as a calling rather than a job or a business.
While I certainly realise that very few people will ever be as attached their purpose as these world leaders I argue that we all have a purpose that we are put on the earth to fulfil. Each step toward the realization of that purpose is a step toward fulfilment while failure to realise that purpose will create unhappiness and discontent.
Have big dreams.
Your goals and aspirations must be big enough to inspire you. If they are not big enough to scare you they are not large enough to motivate you.
Earlier this year I was finding my workout were flat, and lacked energy. I was going through the motions but wasn’t feeling I was getting results.
I was in a rut and needed to make changes. So I set two goals;
I decided to start climbing mountains and I set a goal of accomplishing 100 consecutive push ups.
Over the last six weeks I have climbed four mountains and now can complete over 100 push ups.
My son and I have picked two bigger and tougher mountains to climb and I have set a new goal of 500 consecutive push ups. Now I know that 500 seems like a ridiculous amount of push ups for a 56 year old guy but the number needed to be that big to get me excited.
Change things up.
Over the years I have created many systems and processes in my life.
For example I always follow some sort of morning routine. I wake up early and I usually work out, meditate, read, write in my diary, plan my day and have a nutritious breakfast.
When I start to feel like I am going through the motions I make changes. I routinely vary my meditation practices and change my workout routines. As an example I am moving away from strength based routines, to yoga and functional movement.
Creating structure and routine is extremely important for goal achievement, but I am always working to optimise my processes. Every step of my morning routine is linked to an outcome and when my outcomes start to weaken I adapt and refresh my process.
What about you, do you have strategies for getting out of a rut?
Please feel free to share them.
Thank you for reading “Success on the Far Side of Fifty”.
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Joe Grainger is a business and personal optimization expert from Alberta, Canada. With over 30 years of leadership experience his work is centred on helping businesses and individuals achieve their vision of success. Joe is a well-known blogger, author and key note speaker.