Stuck in a Rut: 3 Ways to Break Free

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There is something about routine--it helps us get through life with all its twist and turns and ups and down. It's what we know. It's comforting. It's what takes the thinking process out of the equation.

But when does a routine become a rut? You know that place where you find yourself stuck in place feeling as though you are just spinning your wheels. Not moving forward, not moving backward.

I recently read  an article about change and transformation and the measures to take in order to keep us moving in the direction to complete our metamorphosis. Just like the larva cannot turn into a beautiful butterfly without going through countless changes, same is true for us. We have to keep changing in order to grow-- in order to transform ourselves into the person we are meant to be.

If we elect not to change, over time we may find ourselves stuck in a rut, the place where we lose our passion, enthusiasm and zest for life. When we find the struggle of our situation easier to deal with than trying to make the changes. While changes can lead to anxiety and uncertainty, not taking the leap can keep us stuck.  I know the daunting task that it takes to lose a lot of weight, while getting fit and healthy, BUT TRUST ME when I say the rewards for doing so can be so GREAT--we just have to have the courage to get out of our rut and our comfort zone.

But how do you know if you are stuck in a rut?

1. You lose your passion for what once gave you pleasure.

This happened to me a few years ago when I had overextended myself by signing up for one major race after another without allowing a proper recovery between these events. My body began to breakdown and I began to look at running more as a chore than something that I found pleasure in.

Remedy: I took a few weeks off from running and I began to explore other activities such as Pilates, spinning and kettlebells. Even working in the garden allowed me to reconnect to life--something besides running. Amazingly after a brief hiatus, I found my passion for running returned within weeks of taking some time off. Remember healthy living is a life-long journey. You don't have to keep raising the bar when setting your goals in order to achieve success.

2. You believe that your life will be transformed after _____ (ie: losing the weight, running a marathon, finding my dream job, earning more money, etc).

Trust me, I have the same problems today as I did 7 years and 80 pounds heavier ago. Life is filled with obstacles and it is how we approach the obstacles that can keep us stuck or allow us to make the most of the situation we have been handed.  

Remedy: Appreciate every obstacle, regardless how big or how small, that you overcome. Each obstacle that you conquer is a victory. Ask for help and do your research and come up with a plan on how to meet your goals.

3. You no longer ask for support and help.

Accountability to another person has been noted to be one of the most successful tools in our healthy living journey.  Trying to go this journey alone can be overwhelming, especially when we have little support at home. But having someone to help us over the obstacles can be just what we need when we find our motivation waning.

Remedy: Join a challenge. This can be one of the many challenges here on SparkPeople or it could be joining a training class at your local running specialty store. It could even be joining the LiveMind meetings here on SparkPeople. When people expect and depend on you to be there, you are more likely to make the effort to show up. Remember more than half the battle is getting out the door or signing up for your challenges and meetings.

Now that we are beginning a New Year, this may be the perfect time to reflect on the ruts in your life and begin to develop a plan on how to make 2012 the year you reach your goals and healthy living journey destination.

What are some of the 'ruts' you have found yourself in? What measures have you taken to get yourself out?

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CHERYLHURT 10/13/2020
Great Report
I am getting a little bit of a rut but I think I need to stick with the water fit classes and maybe do something else like bowling other days to break up the exercise. thanks Report
What are Livemind Meetings? Are those still on spark? Report
Good ideas! Thank you. Report
Thank you for sharing!!! Report
Very helpful & useful Report
Thanks for a great article. Report
Thanks for a great article Nancy. Report
Thanks for the encouragement! Report
Health problems and family illness have taken their tole on me. I can't exercise for long periods of time without my leg going numb. It has really dragged me down. It's the old "I want it fixed NOW" syndrome. I'm working to climb out of this hole, but it's taking time. Report
Thank you Nancy. I've added this blog to my SparkFavorites.
"Appreciate every obstacle, regardless how big or how small, that you overcome."
So true. Report
I tend to loose sight of my passion and I isolate myself. I am facing challenges and am not really sure how I am going to overcome the hurdle. Trying to control the outcome is not always a solution. Trust that answers to my question will come my way is what I am aiming for. I am opened to change and I trust I will find the way... Report
Good one Nancy! Ive been in a downward-spiral of a rut for a couple years now, butbI'm trying to turn it around. I've lost sight of my support system and why I do this.

Time to tackle 2012! Report
sigh..... Report
Love the Solution- I joined the January Jumpstart Challenge. Day 3 and I am really having fun in the New Year! Report
I too am glad I read this. I need to remember that ruts do not always have to do with eating and/or weight. Also, that having a support person or team is very important to the success of achieving any goal !! Report
I really enjoyed this article. It is interesting that I have just decided to experiment with implementing some small routines to help me get out of a rut. Maybe this seems a little counter to the article, but in the first paragraph it talks about how routines can be comforting and help us not have to think through everything--we just know what we need to do and go through the motions. I am thinking that by establishing some small routines for certain tasks, I will be able to get this comfortable level on a few more things in my life and not have to think through what I have to do each day quite so much.

Otherwise, I loved the thoughts in this article about metamorphosis and variety. I have always been a person who needs a lot of variety. I am just trying to find a balance between variety and routine, thinking that each services an important function.

Thanks for writing this very thought provoking article. Report
I have been in a rut and it is hard to dig yourself out of it. I am still working on getting out of it. Report
I like the accountability idea. We should not be alone when we are discouraged. Let's be sure to speak up when we feel disillusioned. Either those in life, or our SparkFriends.

Good one Nancy - Hope you have a great start to the new year! Report
I love what you said about trying new things to avoid losing passion for a physical activity. This applies to everything in life, not only exercise, so it's something valuable to remember as we try to lose weight! Report
Interesting that 'being in a rut' sounds so much like the early stages of depression--and your suggestions for the one can apply to the other. Thanks, Coach! Report
Being overweight is my rut. Never having a true foundation, support and plan to lose weight. Joining SparkPeople is how I'm going to move foward. I intend to use every tool at my fingertips to succeed. Report
I'm glad I read this I think it's going to help me out. Report