I Know What it Feels Like When You're Stuck in a Rut

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Does this sound familiar...When you wake up on a morning you don't look forward to the day ahead. At work, every day is a routine and drags by. You look around and know you deserve more, and want more, but don't have the time or energy to do something about it. You've been doing the same job for several years and you no longer love what you do. You have become the master list maker, creating to do lists but never getting anything done, or if you do, more things are added so your list is never-ending. You lose track of time because every day feels the same and you feel like you're the hamster trapped in a wheel, forever running but never getting anywhere. The sound track of your life rather than being something upbeat and exciting, has now become the sound of your voice constantly complaining about how unfair life is, that you're bored and you don't have a purpose. And now, you realise you're going through the motions and you're on autopilot in your life.

If this connects with what you are thinking and feeling right at this moment, then it's highly likely you're stuck in a rut and languishing in a comfort zone you have created in your life. When you are in our comfort zone, you don't have to think about the choices you make and what you are doing. What you do is easy because you know how to do it, what's expected and generally what the outcome will be. As you go through life in our little comfort zone, you're not happy, challenged or stretched and you are certainly not fulfilled; you’re just OK but not really in a good way. Life is ticking along, you've got a job, you're getting paid, you've a roof over your head, a great family and you can go away on holiday each year. And yet, you feel there is more to life than just going through the motions. You feel you have more to offer and you want to challenge yourself more and grow.

At one time or another, we all experience being stuck in a rut. So, here's what happens when we experience this. Here we are sat in our comfort zone, we're not asking for the earth, we just want to be happier, content, satisfied; we want to have more meaning and purpose to our days and life. We make the decision to do something about it. We come up with ideas, start to make changes, which to begin with seems OK but then as we get to a certain point the thought of stepping outside of the comfort zone becomes increasingly scary. Our fears, our limiting beliefs go into overdrive. We play the "What If" game; what if I move jobs and I can't do it, what if we move to renovate a house we have always dreamed of and it turns into a nightmare, what if I retrain and then can't find a job, what if I write a book and nobody likes it, and so on and so on. All these fears and beliefs become a barrier to us stretching ourselves and going beyond what we are comfortable with, so we just stay as we are. We can go through this process numerous times, something will motivate us to try again or it starts to create greater discomfort. Then when we're about to break through, we talk ourselves out of it again.

This is until one time, something forces us to break through that barrier. Either an external event, such as being made redundant or because staying as we are in our comfort zone has become too uncomfortable, it is causing us to hate the thing we used to love, it is causing us to feel stressed or depressed at the thought of continuing as we are. Suddenly, we find the motivation to move away from something we don't want becomes so great, it makes us act and pushes us out of our comfort zone. Once through this is where the magic happens. The negative emotions are gone; yes, it can be a little scary at times but in a good way, now it's exciting, we feel energised in a way we didn't before. We are doing something different, we're being stretched, growing and we are no longer going through the motions. Of course, after a while, we'll create another comfort zone, this time it will be bigger, there'll be more opportunities in there, more connections we'll have built up our skill set, our confidence will be higher, after all we've done it before so we can do it again. Maybe next time it won't take so many attempts to make the change.

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If you think now is the time you're ready to get out of that rut, here's what to do:

  1. Understand the comfort zone you're currently in and be honest with yourself as to why you stay there.
  2. Get out of your head. Simplify and gain clarity. Figure out what you want, what life you want to create for yourself, what's the magic beyond your comfort zone.
  3. Set your SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.
  4. Focus on the future, don't be trapped in the past and your previous negative experiences.
  5. Act. If you do nothing, then how can you expect anything to be different?

Let me know what magic you create.