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How to get out of a rut in life

Identifying and overcoming the beliefs and habits that hold you back

 Have you ever been stuck in the snow or mud? You dig and dig. You attempt everything you can, but you keep spinning your wheels. That’s how it feels to be stuck in a rut. But it isn’t hopeless. There are specific actions you can take that will retrain your brain, change your mindset and empower you to go after your goals harder than ever before. Once you learn how to get out of a rut, you’ll be unstoppable.

Signs you’re stuck in a rut

The biggest sign you’re stuck in a rut is that it feels like your life is on a negative loop. You end each day feeling tired and rundown – or even start the day that way. Nothing excites you or challenges you. You can’t even remember the last time you felt pure joy. These are all telltale signs you need to figure out how to get out of a rut in life.

You don’t have energy

Oftentimes, you know what you need to do in order to be happier and more fulfilled, but you just don’t have the energy. You may know that you need to exercise in order to have energy. But you just don’t have the energy to exercise. The truth is that you adopt positive habits that will give you energy, instead of waiting for energy to appear.

You’re not excited for the day

When you’re in an emotional rut, you’re feeling down, but you can’t seem to get up off the couch and take action. You hit snooze 10 times before you finally roll out of bed. You feel you have nothing to look forward to. You must interrupt these damaging patterns before they steal your dreams.

You stay in your comfort zone

This is a more subtle way to be stuck in a rut. You may not feel bad outright, but have a sense that you’re not living up to your full potential. Personal growth is essential to living a fulfilled life – if you’re not growing, you’re dying.  

You’re not getting ahead

This is common when you’re in a financial rut: You spend all your time working, but you’re making just enough to get by, not get ahead. You can’t seem to land your dream job or scale your business. It’s time to set new goals and discover how to get out of a rut and get ahead.

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Identifying why you’re stuck in a rut

There are many ways that we can get stuck in a rut, but there is only one cause: humans are wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. This fulfills one of the most powerful of our Six Human Needs: certainty. While you may not feel at your best in your current state, you do feel comfortable. You know what to expect. You know that getting out of a rut is going to involve effort – and maybe even pain and failure.

This fear of failure comes in many forms. If you’re stuck in a rut in your career, it’s time to take a chance on a new job or even start your own business. In relationships, we settle for less than we deserve when we prioritize certainty over passion and intimacy or keep everyone at a distance because we believe we can only be certain in ourselves.

To identify why you’re stuck in a rut with life, think about how your decisions fulfill your need for certainty – and how you can turn this human need into a positive rather than a negative.

How to get out of a rut in life

get out of a rut

Being stuck in a rut isn’t a physical state or the result of your circumstances. It’s a state of mind, and it can be overcome. Creating new habits and training your brain to make new connections are key to getting out of a rut.

1. Get out of denial

People who are stuck in a rut often make excuses about why they can’t do this or don’t have time for that. But the most successful people in the world take total responsibility for their own lives. Stop blaming others for the way you feel and behave. Realize that your life is a result of your decisions alone. As Tony says, “Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant.”

2. Uncover the real reason

Discovering how to get out of a rut in life involves looking inward, not outward. You must identify your limiting beliefs, the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and hold us back from becoming what we could be. Next time you want to make an excuse, recognize that it’s your limiting beliefs talking – and turn them into empowering beliefs instead.

3. Turn shoulds into musts

What will you regret more in your life: wasting it with inaction and indecision, or getting out there and taking a chance? When you’re old and gray, looking back on your life, would you rather be saying “I should have done this” or “I lived life to the fullest”? If you’re stuck in a rut with life, reframe your choices as “must do,” not “should do.” An extraordinary life is waiting, if only you would live it.

4. Create healthy habits

The endless loop of being stuck in a rut is often caused by lack of energy. You know you need to make changes, but you don’t have the drive. To get the energy you need, you must create healthy habits. Improve your diet. Find a form of exercise you enjoy. Get outside. Practice gratitude. Start small and work your way up until you’re living a healthy lifestyle that will fuel your brain and body, and propel you toward your goals.

5. Take on a challenge

The human brain is incredibly complex – but it can be mastered. One part of your brain that’s involved in decision-making, called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, is responsible for applying past experiences to current decisions. Your brain solves problems using neural pathways that have previously worked. Creating new pathways can help your brain learn how to get out of a rut. To do this, take on a challenge. Don’t give up until you’ve learned a new skill or done something completely out of your comfort zone.

6. Get support

Getting out of a rut isn’t always easy. The human brain gets stuck in its ways. It can be difficult to hold ourselves accountable. Friends and family are often supportive, but they don’t always provide the push we need when we’re stuck in a rut. Getting a coach or attending an event like Unleash the Power Within could be just what you need to get back on track.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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