5 Signs You May be in a Rut!

Calvin Kai
4 min readAug 2, 2020

Recognize when your life may be turning off course by looking out for a few key signs.

Photo by: Rhett Noonan on Unsplash

Now and again, I’ll find myself ‘in a rut’.

I’ll ignore the goals I’ve set for myself and have no motivation or interest to do anything meaningful.

Matter of fact, last month was one of unprecedented stagnation for me. With zero motivation, I parked all the grand plans I had for myself in the back of my mind. And where was I? Parked in front of the TV, wasting away.

Being in a rut is when you feel stuck, unable, or unwilling to move past your current state. Although it may feel comfortable in the moment, there is no benefit to your life. This is a normal phenomenon that everyone goes through at some point in their lives. But staying too long in this phase can become quite dangerous for your mental health and well being.

Recognizing this behaviour in ourselves can be challenging. So in this article, I’ll be sharing five different signs to look out for to see if you might be in a rut!

1. Dreading the Day

The alarm sounds in the morning, I hit snooze. Seven minutes later my alarm sounds again, I hit snooze. Forty minutes and 5 snoozes later, I’m still in bed wishing I didn’t have to get up or move.

Finally, I roll out of the bed, muttering profanities and obscenities all the way to the bathroom. When this routine continues for consecutive days or weeks, it’s a pretty clear sign that I’m in to rut city. Hating life and not giving a damn if you’re late for school, work, or whatever engagement is no way to start your day.

2. Lack of Focus

When I’m in a rut, I pretty much don’t want to do anything. And with the things I have to do (like work or school), I don’t do very well. I’ll find it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand, and daydream about being somewhere, anywhere, else.

Imagining yourself laying on some beach in Hawaii sipping on Mai Tai’s isn’t harmful, per se. But I know that if I’m living in a dreamland away from reality and putting off work, it’s time to make some changes.

3. Indifference

‘Meh…’

‘Eh…’

These are usually the types of sounds I’ll make while in a rut. And when I’m too lazy to summon up the air to speak, it’s the good ol’ shoulder shrug.

You want to grab a few drinks and hang out? ‘Meh…’

You wanna try that new restaurant? ‘Eh…’

You wanna go laser tagging? *shoulder shrug*.

This type of behaviour sends your social life straight through the meat grinder. Not only that, but you could also be missing out on some amazing experiences and killer stories.

4. Lack of Motivation

I make a lot of goals for myself around self-improvement. So it’s important for me to make time to read and learn.

When I’m in a rut, it’s so easy for me to look at these things and be like, ‘Meh…’ (see point 3).

I usually end up spending my time scrolling through social media and watching TV. The crazy part is, I know that what I’m doing is a waste of time, but I continue to do it anyway!

Motivation to exercise is pretty much out the window too when I’m in a rut. So if I notice some new love handles while looking at myself in the mirror, I know that I gotta get it together.

5. Excuses

Like my point about indifference, when I’m in a rut, I will go to the ends of the earth not to do something. Every excuse ever used, I’ve likely allowed to spew through my mouth. As painful as it is to admit, when I’m in a rut, I value the comfort of stagnation so much I’d rather not do anything to disrupt it.

‘I don’t have the time’.

‘I’m too tired’.

‘It’s already too late for that’.

These are a sample of the excuses I’ll tell myself (and/or others) to avoid doing something.

Takeaways

There are many signs associated with being in a rut. These are the main 5 that I look for in myself.

Paying close attention when you experience prolonged and consistent patterns of these symptoms can be the indicator you need to get yourself out of a rut.

By recognizing these signs early, it allows me to make the proper adjustments in my life. Adjustments that help me to get my life back on track.

For anyone going through this, know that you’re not alone. The important thing is to able to recognize these patterns. Once you do, you can make the necessary changes to get back to living the life you want.

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Calvin Kai

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