I’ve been in a rut for months now. It’s not fun, but I’m also not feeling like I want to change either. It’s just easier to stay where I am instead of moving forward and taking risks. What can you do if you feel stuck? Here are some ideas:
Recognize that you are in a rut.
When you’re in a rut, it can be hard to realize that you are in a rut. You may not even notice that your life has become routine and predictable (and therefore, boring). But if it’s been some time since you felt excited or happy about anything in your life, then I think it’s worth taking a step back and asking yourself if there might be something wrong with how things are going.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I feel like every day is Ground Hogs Day?
- Is my life just one big routine?
- Have I stopped setting goals for myself because I’m too bored by my current situation?
Choose a new routine to replace the old one.
The next step is to choose a new routine that will replace the old one. Be careful not to choose something that is too similar, or you might find yourself back in Groundhog Day again.
The key here is that this new routine has to fit your needs and personality. If you’re an extrovert and thrive on social interaction, it’s probably not going to be a good idea for you to go get lost in nature every day (unless it’s with friends). Similarly, if meeting new people makes your stomach churn and gives you anxiety, maybe joining an improv comedy class isn’t going to be much fun for you either!
Get out the door, even if it’s with trepidation.
Do you know those days when you feel like the groundhog? You wake up, and it’s February 2nd and everything feels so familiar. You know what to expect, and have a rough idea of how long your day is going to last.
Well, here’s a little advice: Get out of bed. Get out of your house. Get out of your comfort zone; do something different and go somewhere new (just don’t drive by the same street twice). If you’re feeling stuck in a rut with your routine, shake things up!
Allow yourself to be nervous.
Allow yourself to feel nervous, even if you don’t have a reason to be. Anxiety is a natural reaction to change and uncertainty, both of which are frequent realities in life. The key is not trying to avoid it—or worse yet, pretending that it doesn’t exist at all. If you allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings (even if they do seem silly), they’ll pass sooner than they otherwise would, leaving you feeling more prepared for whatever’s next on the horizon.
Plan something totally spontaneous.
Planning something spontaneous can be a good way to break out of a rut. You could plan something spontaneous with friends, family, or by yourself. It could be free or cheap to do and it doesn’t have to be adventurous, but if you want to branch out into new things then this is your chance!
Write down activities that feel out of character for you to do and then do them.
Write down activities that you would normally not do, but really want to do. For example, “I want to go hiking.” Then, go ahead and do them! Don’t worry about what other people think or how you will feel afterward. The point here is to expand your comfort zone and try new things: if it turns out that hiking isn’t for you then at least now you know!
Check-in with yourself emotionally, intellectually, and socially.
- Check-in with yourself emotionally, intellectually, and socially.
- Ask yourself if you are happy with your routine. If not, ask yourself what would make it better and what steps you can take to improve it.
- If you need help or support to change things in your life, reach out and ask for that help from a friend or family member who knows you well enough to know when something is wrong.
Nurture your emotional well-being by identifying what you can control and what you can’t when in a rut or a routine, and then focusing on what you can control.
- Identify what you can control, and what you cannot.
- Focus on what you can control.
- Don’t let the things you can’t control get you down.
- Don’t feel guilty about not doing things that are out of your control, like when your parents ask why they aren’t seeing more of their grandchildren.
Ask for help if needed.
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to ask for help. If you are feeling stuck, ask for help from a friend or family member. If that doesn’t seem like it will do the trick, it’s time to get professional help. You can talk with your doctor about how they think therapy would be helpful for you and how much time they suggest spending every week in therapy sessions. My advice is not only to see a therapist but also to find other forms of support systems such as 12-step groups where people who have gone through similar experiences can offer insight into your situation and provide encouragement along the way!
There are ways to change if you want to change but no pressure if you don’t want to change.
If you want to change, there are ways to change. If you don’t want to change, there are ways not to change. You can do whatever you want. There is no right way or wrong way. You have the freedom and power to choose how your life goes and where it goes and when it goes anywhere at all without being judged for making that choice.
Remember that if you don’t want to change, that’s okay too. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut because of external forces beyond our control, and it’s important to recognize that. While there may not be a cure for Ground Hog Day syndrome, there are certainly ways to make life more enjoyable!