How Can We Prevent Ruts?
Getting in a rut usually feels pretty rotten. It can help—a little bit—if you realize that this feeling means that you are gravitating towards change. Your awareness is growing and, like a plant that grows towards sunlight, you can’t help but reach towards different, change.
But awareness before you’ve actually made the change often feels very uncomfortable—a.k.a a rut. The good news is that by using mindful living tips you can create the change you want.
Some people seem to get in ruts often. Others seem to constantly change and morph as though it comes easily to them. I’ve noticed that many of the people who change easily have strengths/skills that I believe heralds in small changes constantly—vision, decisiveness, the willingness to take big risks. Since they are always changing, ruts are less common.
If you don’t consider yourself to be someone with the traits I pointed out, don’t despair. Getting better at accepting and bring forth change is something that can be worked on. And being intentional about creating the change you want can actually get you unstuck.
Mindful Living Tip 1: Find New Sources of Inspiration
Imagine making a meal with potatoes, eggs, and cheese everyday. You can find new ways to mix, bake, and prepare the ingredients to make novel meals. But eventually, you may find that you crave something different.
Now, imagine you add just one new ingredient to the mix – chorizo or bacon. All of a sudden, you have a little bit of novelty, a new taste.
Our minds need the same thing. Sometimes just one new “ingredient” can start something big. Try finding a new voice to read or listen to. Try a podcast or a new blogger. Turn on Ted Talks and listen to whatever interests you and then read about the person giving the presentation.
To really shake things up, consider listening to a talk that doesn’t interest you. What new ideas, questions, or comments come from that?
Put mindful living tips to work:
Action Step: Commit to finding a new source of inspiration once a day or once a week and notice what happens.
Mindful Living Tip 2: Commit to the Thing You Know will Make a Difference
What is the one thing—habit, practice, mindset—that, if you changed it, would radically alter your life? Do you need to lose weight? Go back to school? Apologize to your mom? Break up with your loser boyfriend? Move?
Often we know a few things we could do that would totally shake things up for us in a good way. But many times we are scared or just don’t feel ready to make the change. The thing is, sometimes we never feel ready. Sometimes that day doesn’t come.
Sometimes we just need to do it.
Action Step: If there’s something you could do to change your life but you’ve been waiting, consider committing to it and taking action.
Mindful Living Tip 3: Pick One New Challenge
Some of the mindful living tips mentioned require that you have a sense of direction. But sometimes we have no idea what we need to do in order to get things moving again. Or we have too many ideas and don’t know where to start.
When this is the case, pick something—anything—that excites you and create a challenge.
Interested in investing?
Buy an Investing for Dummies Book and set a small goal to attain.
Investing Challenge: I will invest $200 this month for my dream trip.
Like to decorate?
Take a decorating class online.
Decorating Challenge: I will decorate my guest bathroom in the next 30 days.
Think about going vegan?
Look up leading brands of vegan products and try cooking with one new ingredient a week.
Vegan Challenge: I will cook with one new ingredient a week and post the meal picture on Instagram.
Whatever you do, find something that inspires you and takes you a bit out of your comfort zone. See what this small mindful change creates in your life.
Action Step: Spend a few minutes looking up classes, books, or blogs on a topic you are interested in. Set a realistic but stretch challenge for yourself—make sure it’s one that you actually want to accomplish.
Mindful Living Tip 4: Join a New Community
When you surround yourself with new people, change will happen. Whether the community shift is something big like a workplace, or something more modest like an online group or a local class, opportunities and ideas become more probable when you are a part of a group.
Action Step: Find a local or online community that interests you. Don’t overthink it—just find something that piques your interests or aligns with your values and join.
Mindful Living Tip 5: Invest (Really Invest) in a Community
Although this tip sounds like a variation of Tip 4, it’s not. Sometimes you do need to join something new to bring about change. But sometimes, investing in a group or community you already belong to on a deeper and more meaningful level will jumpstart change.
When you turn around and ask yourself how you can make your community better, you will see opportunities to make a difference. When you bring that energy to something, things will shift.
Action Step: Find one doable way that you can improve your community and take steps to make this happen. Consider, talking more to a few members that you like and see if genuine connections grow out of that.
The Last Very Important Thing You Need to Know about Being Stuck
As you work on “getting” unstuck, remember this small but valuable reminder:
You may FEEL stuck but since your life is changing all the time, you are not REALLY stuck. Feelings come and go and eventually pass.
Feeling stuck does not feel good and there are certainly action steps that will help you change this feeling quicker. BUT, don’t ever forget that you are not really stuck, you just FEEL stuck.
And you can always use mindful living tips to move forward.
So now I’d love to hear from this community. Where do you feel stuck and what are you going to do to move yourself forward faster?