CareerPERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Feeling Stuck in a Rut?

stuck in a rut-bored-sad-woman leaning on elbow

It can happen gradually or all at once. The sudden realization that you are stuck in a rut. The good news is, recognizing it is a huge part of the battle. Now that you know, you can work your way out.

Drastic Changes

Sometimes the easiest way to get out of a rut is to dramatically shake up your life. Baby steps work for some, but often, if your steps are too small, moving backward is too easy. You have a few good days, then before you know it, you are back in a slump. There is a benefit to taking drastic action. Identify what area of your life you feel most stuck in, and work from there. Job? Consider a change. Health? Take up a sport that will keep you active. Find yourself sitting home alone every night? Make a commitment to going out one night a week, even if you only make plans with yourself.

Expand Your Mind

Often when we feel like we are stuck in a rut, it is extreme boredom from lack of stimulation. If your job doesn’t regularly provide additional responsibilities and you aren’t spending time immersed in a hobby that you feel passionate about, it is easy to stagnate. Consider going to college. Whether you already have an undergraduate degree and want to pursue another, are considering a graduate degree, or you never earned a degree, heading back to school will kickstart your momentum to get out of that rut. If it seems impossible to make the finances work, look at private student loans. Private lenders provide funds you can use to pay for college. After graduation, you will have greater earning power. Consider it an investment in yourself.

Understand the Need to Break Out of Your Slump

It may be tempting to remain satisfied where you are. Change is hard, and it is even more difficult if you have spent years coasting. While it may feel easier to maintain the status quo, in the long-term you will probably come to regret it. Prioritizing personal growth is helpful for your mental health. Once you are in the habit of continually stretching yourself, you are in a much better position if the unexpected, such as a job loss, occurs.

Don’t Change What Works

Don’t go overboard when making changes. Part of effectively breaking out of a slump is identifying the things in your life that are working. If you feel satisfied in your job and are on a path forward with compensation and advancement opportunities, don’t try to break out of your rut by switching jobs. Make the change in areas that leave you feeling dissatisfied. Sometimes it can be challenging to pinpoint the area where you are stuck. Maybe your initial thought is that you are feeling stuck in your relationship. After careful consideration, you may realize you are ready to buy a home, and for some reason feel that you have to be married first. To make it easier to recognize where you are unhappy, make a list of everything that makes you happy. Now make a list of everything you do or are responsible for. It should be pretty easy to recognize what areas of your life are holding you back when you compare the two lists.

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