• Ellen Shilling

10 Effective ways to get yourself out of a rut

“Control your own destiny or someone else will” — Jack Welch

There’s nothing worse that being stuck in a rut. It leads to feelings of despair, frustration, isolation and a feeling that life is going nowhere. Ever feel like life is happening to you rather than being in control and taking life by the horns? If so you’ll know how that feeling can affect your confidence as you feel a victim of the outside world and things beyond your control.

Do not despair, it’s easier than you think to get yourself out of this rut. The first step is to decide to make a change, however small, and to take control of your life. Yes there is a element of letting life flow but how can the world know that you want anything if you’re just sitting apathetically waiting for something to change? It's not a mind reader, how can it know if you’re not telling it what you want, if you’re not taking action to change it.

So start today, make that decision and then follow these 10 very simple steps:

Get active

Move, take up some form of exercise. Take the stairs in work instead of the lift, go for a 10 minute walk at lunchtime or get up early and go to the gym before work. Whatever it is that you can fit in with your lifestyle, if you’re very busy and the idea of heading to the gym for an hour causes more stress than pleasure then try something else. If you’re a parent you can combine activities with spending time you’re your children. A trip to the park or the bowling alley makes for a great day out and combines exercise with fun and play. Whatever it is. Make commitment to doing some form of exercise every day from now onwards.

Make a plan

Where do you want to be in a year’s time or even a months time? Look at all areas of your life, such as:

  • Career

  • Wealth

  • Health

  • Relationships

  • Family and Friends

  • Fun and recreation

  • Personal growth

  • Physical environment (where you work and where you live).

Identify what you want and not what you think you should want

If going online dating is something everyone is saying you should do then don’t do it unless you really want to.What would be the ideal for you?

Take a few moments to write down what you want in all of these areas and put it up somewhere that you will see frequently throughout your day. Once you know what it is that you want it’s a lot easier than hoping that something will change but not knowing what that is.

Calm your mind – meditate

Every day spend a few minutes either taking deep, relaxing breaths or listening to a guided meditation. Some people love walking meditations where you concentrate on the weight of your feet on the ground and all the sounds around you while you walk (listening to your ipod while doing this is not recommended!). Other people love being taken off on a guided journey, whatever is your idea of relaxation build it into your day, even 5 minutes is better than nothing.

Congratulate yourself for your achievements

No matter how big or small they are, even if it’s a “mistake” (my philosophy is that there is no such thing as mistakes, only experiences that you can learn from). This could be a simple pat on the back or buying yourself an item you’ve always wanted.

Break out of the norm

– change your patterns. If you normally do things in a certain way, try shaking things up and doing things differently. Monotony can lead to boredom and frustration. So change things around, it may feel a little strange in the beginning but it will feel good to embrace new routines into your life.

Clutter clear

If you’ve clutter in your physical environment then you’ve clutter in your head. Start off small, a drawer here, a cupboard there, soon you’ll have a whole room done and you’ll notice the difference mentally and emotionally as well. You’ll have more room for new experiences in your life and more energy as well.


Now this doesn’t mean coming off the booze for the month! Just cut down on alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake. If you normally put 2 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee and cut down to 1 spoon in say 4 cups of coffee a day then that’s 2 spoons less a day and 14 spoons less a week, 56 spoons a month, that’s nearly a bag full of sugar that’s not going into your body! If your body is stressed, as it is with excess sugar, then your mind will be too and your energy will suffer or your blood sugar will go haywire and you’ll be up and down all day! Cut down on sugar and coffee, try some herbal teas instead.

Take care of your appearance

How you present yourself to the world reflects how you feel about yourself. When we feel good we look good and vice versa. Take the time to choose what you’re going to wear in the morning, what picture of yourself you’re going to represent to the world this day. Walk tall and confidently even if you don’t feel confident. There’s a saying that I heard recently “when you look down you feel down, look up and you feel up!”

Take action

No matter how small, do something. This is the most important thing to do to get yourself out of a rut. ”The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.” Even if its baby steps towards your goal at least you’re moving in the right direction.

Follow these simple steps. Print out these tips and commit to doing at least one of them every day. Soon you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind” – William James


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7 Carysfort Avenue,


Dublin, Ireland 

Eircode - A94 K6Y5

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