Feeling like you are in a rut? Stuck in a comfortable but stale relationship? Is your career going nowhere? Have you stopped working out? Feeling stuck and like everything in your life is predictable and less than exciting? You are stuck in a rut, my friend.
There are a few unhelpful thought patterns that can get in the way of doing anything about it. Here are a few:
+ The “Sunk-Cost’ Fallacy- Focusing on the time/money/effort you have already invested and ‘sunk’ into the venture/relationship/project already. This is called the “sunk-cost’ fallacy. Instead of sinking more of your precious resources into it, choose to leave but make sure you take all the valuable lessons and gifts with you. Even in failed attempts there are lessons, gifts and truths that you can take with you. If you leave with only anger and regret, you will miss all of those.
+ Stop Day Dreaming! - Getting stuck in day dreams may help you feel better for a few minutes but is unlikely to create real change. If you aren’t getting regular exercise it is unlikely you will wake up in the morning feeling fit and healthy. Day dreaming about yourself being that person who takes care of themselves is unlikely to change anything!
+ Intermittent reinforcement - The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour; just because there is an occasional and sporadic positive change by an employer or partner does not meant that the negative situation you are in will become better permanently. You have to objectively determine if things are getting better overall.
Here are some strategies of getting out of that rut permanently:
+ No Such Thing as Perfection - Forget about trying to be perfect. Perfect really is the enemy of good enough. I am a real believer that not everything has to be done perfectly. If I felt that I had to be perfect at Pilates without ever having tried it, I would never have started (I’m never going to be perfect at it). There are times when I need to accept that what I can contribute is good enough for me today, and see my goal as progression and not perfection.
+ Make a Decision. When faced with multiple choices, the fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision can be paralyzing. The mountaineer Joe Simpson ( from the book and movie - Touching the Void) talks about being stuck in crevasse with a broken leg, almost dying because he was crippled by the decision to head left or right, one being the way out and the other was a dead end. He realized that not making any decision was worse than making a wrong decision because it meant he was giving up and not living. The ability to make decisions, even if they were wrong decisions made him feel like he was taking ownership and responsibility for his life, and if he made a wrong decision he could then decide to correct it, and make a different decision
+Focus on the End Goal - Remember why you are doing this. The monotony and at times tedium of striving for a goal can lead you to forget why you even started in the first place. Having physical reminders in places that you see often can be helpful. Creating a vision board, posting inspirational images and quotes to places you look at often can help to focus on the greater goal.
+Know what your comfort zone is - Moving out of your comfort zone is scary, so making small steps out of it can make the transition easier. To get a better visual, get a pen and piece of paper and draw 3 or 4 concentric circles, with you in the middle. In the circle right outside your own, list the activities you are very comfortable doing such as spending time with friends, going to see a movie, doing your day to day routine. In the next circle the activities that are a bit more scary but you would still do; go for a job interview, a first date, speak to someone new at a dinner party. In the next circle write things that really scare you, but if pushed you would maybe consider, and then in the last circle are your ‘hell no, not ever’ things. Working on expanding your comfort zone, and realising that fear is just a feeling and not what should stop you from growth and achievement.
+Take a Good Break - There are times when you need perspective and refreshment. If you are making healthier food choices to get healthier, allow yourself the occasional ‘cheat’ meal, and really savour the experience. If you have been grinding away at a degree or work then give yourself a few days off, and have a change of scenery. You don’t need to go far to see something new and inspiring.
+ Talk to someone. If you find that you are still stuck, talk to a friend or your boss or your partner. Let other know how you are feeling. Often getting others involved can help you feel more understood and gain a greater feeling of accountability. If you find that you have tried this and still nothing has shifted and you have run out of ideas talking to a professional is a good option. Make an appointment with a psychologist/therapist, they can help you identify why you are getting stuck in the first place and how to work through it.