WordNet defines a rut as a groove or furrow (especially in soft earth caused by wheels) or a monotonous routine that is hard to escape; as in "her job made her feel that she was stuck in a rut".
What is this thing that we call a rut? Is one man's rut another man's rapture? I. What is a rut?
In nature, weight and repetition form a rut. A wagon wheel travels the same path over and over and over again until the ground retains the impression. If you've ever driven a rutted road you know that once in the rut it becomes difficult to get out. On the other hand a rut may serve a useful purpose; before a road gets paved and straightened out, it often begins as a series of ruts. So a rut may lead you to a useful place; it may just need paving.
The elements of a physical rut on a road can be compared to our ruts in life. Our lives are full of repetitious activities from eating to sleeping to brushing our teeth. Our jobs require that we take the same road or train or bus. We take the same elevator, we encounter the same people, we do the same work, we go home, sleep and start all over again.
Some repetition is useful and necessary - too much seems to lead to the formation of a rut. Let's look at the emotions that being stuck in a physical rut cause. If you can't get your bike or car out of a rut, you quickly begin to feel trapped, frustrated and stressed. Sometimes you bow to the inevitable and simply continue to move forward until the rut runs out. You may not be carrying the equipment needed to bust out of the rut. You might need someone else to help you pull out of the rut.
II. How did you get there?
When you were a toddler you learned to walk often by falling down a lot. Sooner or later repetition had its effect and walking became second nature. You might remember the first time you successfully dressed yourself or tied your shoes and now these activities are second nature.
Our human selves are gifted with this ability to learn a task so well we don't have to think about it at all. This makes us more productive; consider how long it would take you to dress and get out of the house if you had to think consciously about each step of the process.
This learning process will eventually affect any behavior that we do consistently. And this can lead to ruts. If you get home at 6 p.m. every evening and lay on the sofa for an hour, you'll eventually find you've fallen into a rut. I guess you could say that a rut is a habit that we don't like anymore.
Look at the areas of your life you consider ruts - what activity did you do repetitively that got you into the rut? Why was it a good thing at first and not good now?
III. Do you want to get out?
But if we say we don't like the rut - are we sure we really want it to go away? We must sometimes examine the reasons for our ruts. It may be there to protect us from some pain we perceive that the effort to change would cause.
Most of us don't change (behaviors, attitudes, relationships) until the pain gets great enough. This doesn't need to be physical pain - psychological and emotional pain can cause us to change as well. The desire to get out of a rut - in our relationships, our jobs, our free time - will only motivate us when the alternatives become unattractive enough.
So your first task in rut busting is to honestly ask yourself if the pain you feel is sufficient to move you in some other direction. If the answer is "no" then the next task is to begin to add reasons to change. Start a list - write down as many reasons as you can to change and a second list of reasons to let the status be "quo".
IV. How to get out of the rut.
Move in a direction perpendicular to the rut. In daily behavioral terms, this means applying direct pressure in the direction away from the rut. It means going out and walking instead of sitting in front of the TV. It means confronting the jerk at work instead of knuckling under. Ever notice how loud an engine gets when it's trying to power out of a rut? This is hard to make ourselves do but probably the quickest way to get results.
Get a plank or some other tool to increase your traction. In life terms this means taking a class or joining a support group or reading a book. It may mean asking for help which, if you've ever been stuck in a rut, can be embarrassing.
Call a tow truck. Hire a coach or get some counseling. In this day and age it is not a negative stigma to establish a relationship with a professional who can guide you and provide you with the life tools you need to change. Email me at the address below for information on a free coaching session.
Get a more powerful vehicle. Go back to school. Strengthen yourself physically. Eat better, sleep more. One of the things I learned after I'd taken Time Management and Stress Management classes was that I was able to handle more "things" in my life which kept me out of a rut.
V. How to stay out.
Map out the road ahead to avoid the ruts. If you have no life goals or plans you'll tend to get back into ruts easily. Read Barbara Sher's book "I Could Do Anything in Life, If I Just Knew What it Was".
Get a guide who can show you how to stay out of trouble. Ole Steve, the Croc Hunter, never seems to need a guide - but most of the rest of us do. Again, the key here is a relationship with a coach or counselor or support group who can help you stay honest.
Conclusion: if you still don't know how to get out of a rut after reading this, then write me with your circumstances. I'll try my best to give you an objective evaluation of your situation - though you may not like the answers!
Hal Warfield is a professional speaker, teacher, and coach. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contemplating Change And Moving Into Action
Do you ever have the sense that there has to be more to life than what you are presently experiencing? Those are the moments in time where you become consciously aware of your problems, and awaken to the possibility that change could occur. Perhaps you've noticed yourself seriously considering making some changes surrounding your food habits or your weight. Possibly you've taken the time to make a mental checklist and noted all the ways that food and/or your weight affects the quality of your life. Your awareness may include some of these insights:
Wisdom eludes me. The more I learn, the less I think I know. Maybe it's because when I learn something new I realize how much more there is to know. And by that I mean, how much we can know, not how much we must know. It's perpetual. I strive to learn more, but sometimes I feel I don't know enough.
What Comes First the Action or the Feeling?
In other words, it is in the "doing" that we appreciate and learn the meaning of an action or activity, not simply in thinking about it.
Your Life Just OK? It Doesnt Have To Be That Way! Live the Life You Really Want To Live!
I have some questions for you. Are you ready? How would your rate your life on a scale from one to ten; 10 being fantastic and 1 being the worst it could possibly be? Are you happy with the most important aspects of your life? And note that I didn't say are you content or are you satisfied. I said are you HAPPY with your life the way it is now? If you are, why are you happy? If you are not, why not? I urge you to be specific when you answer those questions.
Motivation: 7 More Musings on Motivation
1. "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to that mountain, move from here to there, and it shall be done. Nothing will be impossible for you." - Jesus Christ.
Secrets to Motivating Yourself and Others
There is hardly anything more personal that what motivates each of us to perform in a work environment. Here's some insight into how to choose the best "carrot" to motivate both yourself ... and others.
A Perfect World ... Imbalance Creates Motivation
I am a big proponent of balance. Everything has to be just so. I believe that we should all strive to obtain balance in our lives. Balance between career and family. Balance between public and private. Balance between spiritualism, finances, and materialism.
Daily Motivation: 7 Methods
Isn't a lack of daily motivation one of the biggest problems we face when trying to better ourselves? We often know what to do, or at least the first few steps. But we hesitate, something else catches our attention, or we just don't feel like doing what we need to do.
Success -- The Key and the Fire
Self-discipline is a powerful tool that can help you accomplish about anything you can dream or imagine. Self-discipline is the act of controlling our emotions, actions, thoughts, words and personal direction. Some people seem to be naturally self-controlled and some seem to have no self-control at all. Others seem to constantly struggle with self-discipline.
What is Success?
Everyone wants success. People talk about setting goals and positive thinking and getting to the top. However, most of these same people never really define what success means to them.
Three Simple Ways to Stay Focused
While I was trying to find a subject to write about this month that would be of interest to my readers, I did many things with my computer.
Procrastinator No More!
Procrastination is when ever we postpone a task or duty intentionally without a valuable explanation. It is a natural tendency in people. Let's face it, sometimes we are tired or a specific task is unpleasant to perform and we respond by putting it off until later. If it happens only once or on something of not much importance it is okay. But, what happens when a student keeps putting off the school work. At the last minute he may want to make up for the lost time but fails the class. So, can you see how procrastination can get in the way of your success and objectives? Therefore, it is crucial for people to learn how to avoid this negative tendency and manage it effectively. Below I have added some tips that can convert anyone in to a procrastinator no more!
The Most Courageous People in the World
Who are the most courageous people in the world? Armed services? Coastguards? Astronauts? Firepersons? Explorers? Mountaineers? ??Sports? For us, the most courageous people in the world are those who are committed to discovering how they can get the best out of themselves. Individuals, who are committed to learning about and changing, their habits and beliefs in order to fulfil their dreams. Individuals, who are fighting the dreaded disease of complacency.
Just Do It!
If you run a business like I do, you probably have limited time to do all the things you need to do each day. In order to make sure I get to exercise each day, I have to get up BEFORE the chickens do ? between 4:30 AM and 5AM. Every single time I have to tell myself, "Kim, JUST DO IT!" I don't always want to either but I do it.
Map to a Gold Mine - Could You, Would You?
If a total stranger came up to you and said: "I've got a map", what would you think?
Walking a New Road
(excerpted from the Take Charge of Your Life 6 CD series)
Dont You Quit!
"A man who has nothing to die for is not fit to live." -Martin Luther
10 Easy Ways To Stop Procrastinating
It is counterproductive to concentrate on so many tasks that you cannot accomplish them and may cost you time and energy with no results. Many people seem to spend a lot of time and energy only to achieve very few results.
Action vs. Self Delusion
Knowledge fueled by emotion equals action. Action is the ingredient that ensures results. Only action can cause reaction. Further, only positive action can cause positive reaction.
Success Through The Power Of Daily Action
Daily actions to achieve your goals means daily progress and daily excitement as you start to feel your dreams are actually coming true.
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