5 Ways To Bust Out Of Your Rut

The Rule Of Holes is this: If you’re in one, stop digging. If you are not pleased with the results you are getting in your life just now, there is a better way. Use these five actions to break out of your rut.


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When You’re In A Rut

Ennui. Boredom. Lassitude. Whatever you call it, and whatever the cause, the results are . . . well, usually no results at all. At least, not the results we want to achieve. In the world governed by cause and effect, all actions (causes) have results (effects) — and so does inaction. However, more often than not, the effects of inaction are not the ones you and I desire.

But what if you are stuck in place? Overwhelmed? Weighed down by too many burdens? Then you are likely not pleased with the results you are getting just now. And if your inactivity causes you to overlook or ignore important warning signs, the results could be drastic . . . failing health, failing relationships, failing finances.

Stop Digging!

You don’t have to hit rock bottom to turn things around (although sometimes that’s what it takes). A thinking person can raise her awareness and take steps to escape the doldrums. Of course, you must first rule out any underlying physical or deep mental or emotional causes by consulting the proper professional. But if you determine that your inaction is within your power to change, you can begin to take control again to create the life you want. To that end, here are 5 things you can begin now to escape the ennui, break free of boredom, and leave the lethargy.

Clobber Clutter

Clutter can be an unnoticed drain on your energy, like a background noise you don’t notice until it stops. Tom came home from work each day to a kitchen table that was covered with things that didn’t really belong on a kitchen table. Since they didn’t have a designated place to pay bills, Tom and his wife kept a stack of bills on one corner of the table. Often, they’d bring in the mail and toss it on the table as well. And there was usually several days’ worth of morning papers stacked up where they had read them at breakfast then tossed them aside. Then there was the kids’ homework, usually a toy or two, and the occasional odd item of clothing.

Tom didn’t realize how much energy the cluttered and unusable table was taking until he and his family decided to clear it off and stop using it as a catch-all. They set up a bill-paying center at a desk in the den. Next, they made a rule to recycle the newspaper as soon as they had read it. Then they put an in-box, together with a trash can, recycle bin, and shredder, close to the door so that mail could be sorted and properly filed, recycled, trashed, or shredded. Tom was surprised to discover that he got a tiny burst of energy when he came into the kitchen in the evenings and saw the clean table.

Get Moving

What if there was a prescription you could take that was guaranteed to improve your physical health, strengthen your mental health, brighten your emotional health, that would make you look better, feel better, and live longer? Wouldn’t you take that prescription every day?

There is such a medication, but you don’t swallow it. It’s called “exercise” . . . or if you don’t like the “e” word, increased activity. Increasing your physical activity to even 30 minutes per day on most days can give you all of these benefits. It doesn’t even have to be 30 consecutive minutes. Try doing short 10-minute bursts of activity several times throughout the day.

Eliminate Tolerations

Thomas Leonard, the “father” of life coaching, was one of the first people to understand and point out how tolerating petty annoyances was a huge drain on one’s energy. Leonard defined tolerations as those things we “put up with, accept, take on, and are dragged down by . . .” including “people’s behavior, situations, unmet needs, crossed boundaries, unfinished business, frustrations, problems, and even our own behavior.” [Leonard]

Begin identifying and cleaning up the things you will no longer tolerate. Most of us have between 60 – 100. Keep the list handy and read through it every day. By keeping your tolerations in your consciousness, by naming them and being aware of them, you’ll begin naturally to work through and eliminate the items on your list.

Express Gratitude

One of the most accessible and universal happiness tools is gratitude. You can improve your happiness level by practicing gratitude. Here’s how.

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Choose a time when you have several minutes to reflect on your life. Ponder 3 – 5 things for which you are currently grateful. On average, doing this exercise once a week is most effective.
  2. Choose a fixed time to contemplate on something or someone for which you are grateful. Think of why you are grateful and how it (or she or he) has enriched your life.
  3. Choose one thing each day that you usually take for granted or that goes unappreciated and express gratitude for it.
  4. Acknowledge one ungrateful thought per day and substitute a grateful one in its place.

Elevate Your Thinking

I once attended a workshop on understanding and changing “non-supportive” beliefs where I was given a list of 55 “head trash” beliefs. The most insidious one, the instructor pointed out, was “I’m doing OK”. This thought does more than any other to keep us stuck in place.

“We cannot solve our problems,” said Albert Einstein, “with the same thinking we used when we created them.” If you are telling yourself, “I’m doing OK” then you are missing opportunities for growth and improvement, simply because you won’t see them.

“I’m doing OK” is the motto of the Comfort Zone. Try changing that thought to “I’m doing OK AND I’m getting better each day!”

A Better Way

If you are not pleased with the results you are getting in your life just now . . . there is a better way. If it’s because you just can’t seem to get started or you are doing just the minimums to get by, begin one of these steps to break free of the lethargy. Then add a second, a third, etc. It will take an amount of effort to begin with, but the payoffs are well worth it. Start small and start today. That is embracing your Excelerated Life™!

Excelerated Focus™ — aligning your actions with your true desires — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose.

Read more about the Excelerated Life™.


Leonard, Thomas. The 28 Laws Of Attraction. New York: Scribner, 1998.

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