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How to Get Out of a Rut

Posted on June 16, 2022 in Inspiration

Have you ever felt trapped in your own life? Have the meticulously crafted routines and patterns of your day-to-day become the bars of a cage? Does every day feel the same? 

You’re caught in a rut: a frustrating, depressive stand-still built not only from monotony but from a lack of fulfillment. You probably erected a series of routines that worked well at first, but slowly those routines conspired to create a feeling of being “stuck.” You’re still trying to put one foot in front of the other, but the days seem to blur together. Your motivation has run dry. You’re bored, you’re burnt out, and your creative fuel tank has been running on fumes. 

Sound familiar? If so, don’t fret: you can beat the rut. You can become unstuck. Here’s how to start:

Identify Your Rut

No problem can be truly solved without first identifying where it’s coming from. Just as every person is different, so is every rut – and even if you’ve already beaten a rut or two in your life, what you’re currently going through might be entirely different than your last battle. 

A person sits on the floor defeated

To find the source of your issue, you have to look inward and identify the cause of your discontentment. Are you upset about your job, your relationships, your perceived purpose? Is it some combination of these factors? 

Keep in mind that identifying an issue from the inside-out can often be an unnecessarily complicated task, and a licensed counselor or therapist can be a great resource for identifying how to turn your life to the next exciting page. 

Treat Yourself With Kindness

Forgiveness and kindness are important parts of the process. Forgive yourself for being stuck, and don’t lament not having the issue fixed yet. You’re doing your best, and that’s an achievement in itself. The idea of “perfection” is a toxic notion that can overwhelm, cloud your judgment, or lead to you being overly hard on yourself.

A person sits with their back to us in a cross-legged meditation pose

Cut yourself some slack, practice some self-care, and allow yourself the grace and love you deserve (which is a lot more than you think). The path of life has many forks, and when you treat yourself well, you’ll discover it’s so much easier to find – or createthe perfect path for you.  

Change Up Your Routines

Shaking things up might seem scary, but it’s the perfect way to inject some new flavor into your life. By changing little things in your day (even something as small as trying a new food, driving on a different road to work, or striking up a conversation with someone) you begin to break down your monotonous, negative patterns. 

A close-up of a personal planner

These changes can free up your previously stagnant mind and start a ripple effect that can further add excitement, levity, and positive change to your life. Spontaneity can be a great way to defeat boredom, and boredom is a root cause (at least partially) for many ruts. 

Looking for more creativity in your life? Learn how to foster it. 

Work Toward Something

It’s easy to feel lost without a purpose or goal to strive for. Motivation needs fuel, after all. Big life goals can be empowering, but the road to those achievements is often a long one… and that can exacerbate feelings of discouragement. For this reason, having small things to look forward to is just as important as the big things. 

We see the silhouette of a person standing on top of a mountain while the sun rises

Even something like scheduling a night out with friends, or being excited about a new episode of your favorite TV show, can provide a sense of excitement and motivation that enlivens a “regular” day.

Interested in reaching for the stars, or just trying something new? It’s never too late to set some new goals.

Get Some Air and Exercise

If you’re feeling bogged-down in the rat race, a little fresh air and mindfulness can be a big help. 

A person walks down a hiking trail surrounded by forest

A walk can help center the mind and relieve feelings of depression, whereas a workout or a little exercise can provide a much-needed outlet for the unproductive feelings and energies we carry.  

Be Persistent 

Running a marathon can be exhausting, but why quit in the middle? So many successful people achieved their success simply through force of will. Take one of the most popular children’s books of all time for example: Dr. Seuss had The Cat in the Hat rejected by publishers 27 times before someone finally saw the merit in it. 

A person pushes a rock up a hill

Just because you aren’t where you want to be right now, doesn’t mean you can’t get there… you get there by continuing to walk the road. You’ll get where you’re going if you just keep doing the best you can. Contrary to what you may think, your best is good enough, and you are making progress. Just keep going.     

Want to know how Paul Kirby broke down the barriers in his own life? Watch the award-nominated short film to see for yourself! For even more tips and inspiration, follow the Kirby Foundation on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And join the mailing list for the inside scoop on out-of-the-box thinking and creative fusions! 


Are you interested in hearing the complete story of Paul and Dulcinea? Watch the video (nominated for Best Short Film at the 2021 Vail and Portland Film Festivals) for more info.

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