6 Ways to Escape the Rut That is Your Life

L.A. Strucke

Good news - the life you wanted is still within reach

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You look around in life and everyone is succeeding except for you. Life has not dealt you a fair deck. You’re trapped in a rut and you can’t get out.

“The only difference between a rut and the grave are the dimensions.” – Ellen Glasgow

Others have escaped the rut. They’ve left soul-sucking jobs, relocated to places they dreamed of, and left a loveless relationship.

Yes, there is a way out. You don't have to sit around waiting for your dreams to die with you.The life you wanted is still within reach. Here are 6 ways to escape the rut that is your life.

1. Talk to a Therapist or Life Coach

Some problems are simply too overwhelming to deal with alone.If you have any addictions or are suffering from depression or anxiety, talking to a therapist will help more than you can imagine. Don’t feel embarrassed to take this route. Many therapists now offer virtual appointments. You don’t even have to leave your home to talk to someone.

You should never remain stuck, sad, or unmotivated when there are so many resources out there to help you. If you have a hormone imbalance it could aggravate your depression. Lack of sleep is another issue that can contribute to anxiety and negatively affect your mental health. First, see a medical professional and rule out any physical problems and address any you have. Then invest in yourself and get counseling to heal you of your issues. No one should have to endure a miserable life because they have issues.

Once these issues are addressed, you’ll feel empowered to take action to change your life. For when you don’t have the energy or motivation to get out of bed, it’s going to be twice as difficult to get out of your rut.

2. Let Go of Fear

Are you playing it safe because of fear?

Fear can be paralyzing. It will keep you from chasing your dreams. Yet the secret to success is to climb out of your comfort zone. 

“Insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.” - Albert Einstein

You have to do the things you love, and if these things challenge you - then you are on a good path.

When my daughter was going on auditions in NYC, in the beginning, it was overwhelming. We had to learn train schedules, navigate NYC, and learn how the auditioning process worked. We were stepping out of our comfort zone, but it was one of the most exciting times of our lives.

The truth is nothing in life is safe. Your job could be eliminated in a layoff. You could lose your home to foreclosure. Change is frightening but it’s also exhilarating. It brings new people and experiences into your life. 

In your quest for success, you may have to overcome a fear of flying because your career requires it. You may have to do a lot of public speaking. In the beginning, it will seem overwhelming, but each time you master something new, it will prepare you for the next step.

3. Focus On What You Want

Listen to your heart. What career would you love to do, even if you never got paid for it? 

Did you ever dream of doing something but people talked you out of it? We all have things we love to do, but people have told us our dreams are impractical or the odds are too great to make it. Maybe someone told you that you weren’t as good as other people. That dream — the one you thought was impossible.

I know a young woman who told her mother she wanted to be a psychologist. Her mother discouraged her, and pointed her in another direction she didn’t want to go in. Now she works in a soul-sucking job and feels stuck. So many people get talked out of their dreams. Don’t let that happen to you.

You can get training in the area you love and improve. If you never try to do it, you will spend the rest of your life wondering why you never did. Pursuing this so-called impossible dream, you have could be the exact thing you need to pull you out of your rut.

Numerous successful people tell of well-meaning family members and friends that discouraged them from pursuing their dreams. They were told that nobody makes it in their field and there’s not enough money in it. 

Look around you at all the entrepreneurs that are supporting themselves. The secret is to begin working on the side until you earn enough to do what you want full time. Some people are earning 6 figures with multiple streams of income coming in. They worked their butts off, but now they are living a life they love. 

People remain in their rut because they falsely believe that’s all they deserve. They can’t imagine a better future for themselves. Yet, there is an exciting world out there of beautiful places you can live and work, and interesting people you’ve never met. Those people are never going to travel to see you in your rut. Your job is to climb out of it. 

 According to Jack Canfield, the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, one of the main reasons people don’t get what they want, is because they haven’t decided what they want. You need to decide what you really want in life, and take small steps towards your goals.

Action is the cure for being stuck. Make a list of your goals, and tackle them one step at a time.

4. Drop the Excuses

“Success requires no explanations. Failure permits no alibis.”— Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich.”

Everybody has excuses for why they can’t get out of their situation. Excuses do nothing but keep you unhappy and stuck where you are. You need to stop leaning on them and move past them.

Many excuses are based on fear. It could be a fear of criticism, of losing people if you fail or succeed, or a paralyzing fear that you’re not good enough to accomplish what you want.

Fear is the enemy of achievement. You have to start believing in yourself. Step out on faith and fear will disappear. 

You are not too old. Some people use the excuse that they’re too old to do anything. Actress Judi Dench’s flim career took off when she was in her 60's! 

I know numerous people who use age as an excuse for going for that career. They say by the time they graduate they will be in their 40’s. Answer this. Would you rather be in your 40’s with a career you love, or not do anything and spend your 40’s living in a rut?

5. Take Action

Want positive changes in your life? Take action. We all know it’s not that easy. But action is the only way.

“Inaction brings doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”— Dale Carnegie

Write down a step by step plan to get out of your situation. In a 2015 study, psychologist Gail Matthews revealed that when people wrote down their goals, they were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads. Each step you cross off the list, will give you more confidence and get you closer to your goal.

When we look at the long term picture, it seems overwhelming. But when we write it out in steps that can be accomplished daily we steadily bring our long-term goal into reality.

6. Ask For Help

People want to help their friends. Networking with others is an amazing resource for all areas of life.

Friends or experts can give you honest feedback on your work. Many people have found their next job through a friend. If you look within your circle there will be someone great at writing resumes, who can help you polish yours. If you’re seeking a new job, put out the word and you’ll be heard.

Networking in a field you like can introduce you to the right people to help your career take off. Glenn Ballard helped Katy Perry get started. I just saw a documentary on Netflix about Clive Davis. This man helped numerous artists have the career they always wanted.

 If you want to move, but feel stuck, reach out to friends. Friends could help you pack or steer you to a reliable contractor. When it’s time to move, call your friends to help. Pizza is an excellent motivator. 

Friends can even help with your love life. Often a close friend will see someone is completely wrong for you, way before you will. They’ll listen to you when you are going through a heartbreak and let you know you have support. Your friends can help you meet new people, even if it’s just virtually.

And when you are writing down your goals, you can share them with a trusted friend, who will help keep you accountable. 

Moving Forward

These 6 ways will help you escape the rut that is your life.

The most important of all is to take action. Once your plan is set in motion, you’ll be closer to the life you want. If you act on these ideas, this time next year your entire life will be different. 

You won’t get there by staying in your rut. Stop holding yourself back and begin today. Your new, amazing life awaits.

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