5 Effective Strategies to Get Out of any Rut

Feeling in a bit of a slump? I’ll share some easy ways to get yourself back on track.

Calvin Kai
5 min readSep 7, 2020

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Photo by: Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

So the last couple of weeks have been the same for you:

You wake up every morning dreading the day and hating whatever it is you have to do. You feel like you’re going nowhere with work, gazing out the window waiting for 5 o’clock to hit. And pretty much nothing gets you out of the house. You’ve been neglecting your friends and your house is a mess. You’re in a rut, my friend, and it’s time you do something about it.

If you read my last post, there are a few signs I look for to see if I’m in a rut. And in need of a kick in the butt.

I’ve never wandered this path for too long thanks to the strategies I’m about to discuss.

1. Exercise

Coming out of the shower and seeing some new doughnut rings on the waist in the mirror is never a pleasant sight.

Now to be clear, I don’t believe that the way look in the mirror should determine your self-esteem. But what I do believe is that the choices you make can have impacts on your body and health.

When I go through these periods where I’m in a slump, I’m usually not paying attention to my health. I end up eating and drinking a ton of junk which pretty much wrecks the physique.

So the first thing you should do when you’re feeling stuck is to get moving. And it can be as easy as going for a walk, a quick jump rope session, whatever. As long as you’re not sitting on your butt melting away.

Now I’m no scientist or health nut. But a rush of endorphins after a good workout is bound to get you in a positive mindset. And it’s this thinking that’ll help you build that momentum to tackle more things.

2. Switch Up Your Routine

Sometimes we stagnate in life because of the routines we’ve built for ourselves.

Now, routines in themselves aren’t characterized as good or bad.

A routine is a predictable and consistent practice of specific behaviours and actions.

Routines based around positive and meaningful actions can enhance your life greatly.

On the flip side, a routine deprived of any meaningful action can really dig a hole for yourself.

Let’s take this routine as an example: Wake up at the absolute latest to still make it to work on time. Go straight home after work. Watch TV for 6 hours. Bed. And then repeat the next day.

Does this sound like your typical Monday-Friday routine? Are you feeling as if time is passing you by? If you answered: ‘Yes’ then it’s pretty clear that you need to adjust your routines.

Routines play a huge role in our lives. Keep the good ones and cut the bad ones.

Dull and mundane routines serve no purpose in building a meaningful life. So when I’m in a slump, I like to switch things up. Spending some time before or after work doing some self-learning is a great way to start. Scheduling in a workout before work (see #1) is also a great way to introduce some positive change.

3. Start with small changes (forcefully if needed)

In the same vein as #2, getting yourself out of a rut is all about making meaningful change in your life.

But whatever you do, please start small.

Don’t make some outlandish goal for yourself like climbing Everest. And especially if you’ve been smashing 10 twinkies a day for the last month.

Most of the time, when the results are not immediate, you give up.

Believe me, I’ve made that mistake many times.

One time, I decided that learning to play the guitar would be a better way to spend my time.

But I did a few things wrong.

First, I set way too high expectations for myself. I practised hours and hours each day thinking that this was how I was going to be like Jimmy Hendricks.

Second, I was too focused on getting as good as possible as soon as possible. When I didn’t see any meaningful improvement within the first few weeks, I gave up. And then back on came the sweatpants.

What I’ve come to learn is that positive changes take time to manifest. And they can only be possible through consistency and practice.

Trying to commit an exorbitant amount of time every day isn’t sustainable and will cause you to give up.

So now, when I want to make a change or start doing something new, I always start small.

I made a goal for myself at the beginning of the year to set aside more time to read and learn. And I tell myself that five minutes is all I need.

It’s fast enough that I can do every day. And with some consistency, over time it’s had a huge impact on my life.

4. Just say YES

Do you find yourself always saying ‘No’? Either to yourself or to friends and loved ones?

‘No’ is the single biggest syllable that keeps you imprisoned in a state of ruttitude.

This will keep you trapped in a vicious cycle of stagnation. It’s also kinda rude when you’re flat out rejecting people all the time.

So the next you’re feeling a bit lost or stuck, just say ‘Yes’ to the next thing that you come across, no matter what. “We should go skydiving!” — ‘YES’. “You wanna help demo my basement?” — ‘YES’.

Obviously, good judgment and common sense reasoning should still apply. But from my experience, forcing myself to answer in the affirmative works out pretty well.

I also usually get a kick-ass story out of it too.

5. Inspirational Content

This section might be a bit cheesy (and I’m known to be quite the cheeseball). But I get a huge confidence boost when I listen to a good motivational speech.

Who doesn’t love hearing someone scream at them over epic symphony music?

You’re the reason your life sucks but you’re also the reason it doesn’t have to.

That’s typically the message that inspires me most.

Ten minutes of watching Tony Robins or Eric Thomas and I am pretty much ready to take over the world.

Closing

Everyone will, at some point, feel stuck and capable of accomplishing more. The good news is that this feeling doesn’t have to be permanent. You can get through it by first taking some small, but meaningful actions in your life.

What actions have you taken recently to get yourself out of a rut?

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Calvin Kai

Instant ramen connoisseur | Amateur wordsmith | Aspiring armchair expert. Sharing lessons on the human experience https://www.eversincethatnight.com/