Stuck in a rut?


Q: “Any ideas on how to get out of a rut and move on?”

A: Most of the time this happens because we are thinking habitually. So, pay attention to your thinking. Once you see a pattern that isn’t serving you well, take note of what it is and think differently. For example, if you notice yourself worrying about money (or anything else for that matter), catch yourself in the act, so to speak, and remind yourself to try something new. Think something like, “I’ll be fine” or “Worrying won’t help,” and then don’t allow the old thoughts to return.

Another helpful strategy is to change your daily habits. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective this can be.

If you always read novels, try going to a bookstore or the library and picking up some non-fiction for a change. Then, go home and read the entire book. The book can be on any subject that interests you, but you’ll be amazed at how many new ideas enter your mind.

Finally, if you’re one of those people who tell yourself that you will do those things you’ve always wanted to, but only after “life settles down,” or you have “more time,” tell yourself that you’ve waited long enough. Starting today, choose something that’s really good for you and do it before you do anything else. For example, go for a walk or a jog, or get some kind of exercise, first thing in the morning. Or, if you’ve always wanted to meditate, but keep waiting for the right time, start a new routine, today.

The key with any of these “good for you” activities is that you prioritize them ahead of things you “have to do.” Changing your routine in this way is a fabulous way to get a fresh outlook on life.

If you’re in a rut, it’s important not to take it, or yourself, too seriously. Know that a slight change may be all you need to feel happier right away.

Richard Carlson, Ph.D., is the author of the best seller “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”