Sooner or later, most people will get the feeling that their lives have hit a rut. When we come to this realisation, it usually only leads to feeling like a hamster stuck on a wheel; rushing frantically forward without ever making any actual progress. Whatever it might feel like, getting stuck in a rut in your life is rarely to do with a lack of ideas or opportunities. In this post, we’ll look at some of the best tips for getting things moving in a positive direction again.
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Make Friends with Regret
Regret never feels nice, but it leads to counterfactual thinking, which has been found to be a great source of self-motivation and development. If you’ve never heard of it before, counterfactual thinking is the practice of constructively thinking about what might have happened if things had been different. By making friends with your personal regrets, and chewing over what you might have or should have done in a given situation, you’ll be able to tackle the future head-on with a powerful, refreshed resolve: “The next time that happens, I’ll do this instead.” Try not to fall into the trap of simply counting your blessings in the situation, and shrugging off any ideas of self-improvement. This won’t take you anywhere fast. Analyse what you could have done better (without being too hard on yourself!) and use this to model a specific aim for self-improvement. It can be tough to get used to chewing over your regrets, rather than forcing them to the back of your mind and thinking about something more pleasant. With time though, you’ll learn to see regret as a useful tool, rather than something to be avoided.
Set Achievable Goals
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice we can offer for anyone who’s found themselves stuck in a personal rut. The autobiographies from some of the most successful CEOs in the world, all the way to self-help businesses like Self Development Secrets, emphasise the importance of having achievable and measurable goals to work towards in life. An absence of these is often at the root of why many people find themselves in a rut. You may be well aware of the big changes you have to make in order to get out of your rut, and feeling pretty overwhelmed by them. This, as you can imagine, can keep you stuck in a rut like you wouldn’t believe! You can get around this problem by giving yourself achievable goals in the interim. Just make sure you’re not falling into the common trap of pushing yourself too far in these plans, or going too easy on yourself. This will only lead to you exaggerating your abilities, or passing the blame of your failure onto something other than yourself. Be brutally realistic about your abilities, matching them up with the goals you set. When you’re working towards something challenging, but not extremely hard to attain, you’ll find yourself out of your personal rut in no time!
Know your Comfort Zone
Finally, it’s important to start paying closer attention to something you have interact with in one way or another, every day of your life. Before you get out of your rut, you need to have a keen understanding of the things that keep you in it. One of the most common things that keeps people in their rut is sticking to their comfort zone – a situation that makes you feel safe and comfortable, usually rooted in some element of your early childhood experience. If recently, you’ve been feeling like you’re in a negative, and seemingly inescapable situation, it’s important to take a step back, and think about whether any aspect of the situation feels familiar. This will help you gain a better understanding of your reactions to various changes, and how you can turn them around for the better. Most importantly of all, you need to know how important it is to get out of your comfort zone, especially if you feel that your career or personal life has hit a brick wall. Breaking out of your comfort zone will help you set those goals you hold for yourself, and give you practice in adapting to confusing or frightening changes. In the future, this can also help you apply creative thinking more often, and find new solutions around problems.
If you feel that you’ve driven yourself into a rut, start applying these tips to your day to day life. You’ll be amazed at where a few simple principles can take you!