How to get out of a rut

How to get out of a rut

To watch the video How to get out of a rut and visually learn the 5 steps, please click below. Otherwise, enjoy the blog:

So are you stuck in a rut?

If so, don’t worry you are not alone. Now in case you prefer the video version please check above, but for everyone else, likely wanting to read something tangible to help them get out of a rut, your in the right place!

Two types of personalities

So on a macro scale, there are two types of personalities I will be looking to help in this short blog.

  1. The first are very much like me and that is the zero to 100 personality type. Of course this isn’t the technical term for it, but what I am referring to here, is the notion that I am either operating at full pelt, or I am the complete opposite.

2. The second type are those who may not be as extreme as myself, but still often find themselves stuck in a rut, unusually, unexpectedly and now need to get out of it.

Either way, these 5 steps will help you shift gears and leave knowing some ways to get yourself out of a rut and the beautiful thing is, it applies to both types of people I’ve just mentioned.

So are we ready? Of course not, your likely in a rut, but let’s get going anyway.

Step 1 — Acceptance

Now you are likely thinking, well thats hardly going to get me out of it is it.

And for a moment you’d be right.

But often when we are stuck in a rut, we are pretty harsh on ourselves, we are making excuses, often in a state of denial and when we do tend to bounce back we are quite unforgiving on our behaviour.

But by simply accepting that we are in a “rut” and knowing from past experiences, that it doesnt last forever, it at least allows us to then focus on solving the situation sooner and understanding it, rather than blaming yourself for sucking!

Step 2 — Do Something

So now we’ve accepted it, we need to do something and it can be extremely small to start off with.

The principle behind this step is to create some form of momentum and change our state.

This can be as simple as brushing our teeth, writing the first sentence on your essay or just throwing yourself to the floor to do that first push up.

Although this may initially seem meaningless or pointless, it is usually the act of starting and the thoughts preceding this, that cause us to procrastinate and then rationalise with our minds, with the help of some fantastic excuses as to why it can be done at a latter stage.

We must change this, so whatever it is you need to do, do something small!

Image for post
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Step 3 — Don’t wait for motivation

Now unless you plan on watching Rocky Iv, every time you need a dose of inspiration or a kick up the backside to get motivated, you have to learn to progress without motivation.

And a brilliant way to look at this notion is to see the things you do on a daily basis, that require no motivation.

So just knowing this, we therefore wont always rely on a feeling to get us started. We almost have to rely on Lil Waynes eloquent lyrics of:

Fuck Your Feelings

And with those, explicit lyrics, we actually can reveal a truth that our success depends more on our execution as opposed to our feelings.

Step 4 — Celebrate the small wins

Now although deep in our hearts we know we are all capable of some pretty impressive things, especially when we aren’t in this rut like place.

But sometimes, having a focus solely on our potential and our best days can be quite detrimental to our wellbeing, when we hit that feeling of being in a funk, and find ourselves in a rut.

So how do we tackle this then?

By celebrating our small wins when we need too, which psychologists have explained is a necessary action we must implement when we need too.

Now without getting too much into the science around this we need to convince our emotional side of our brain, to get motivated and act upon something.

The Chimp Paradox

However, Dr Steven Peters explains this perfectly, in the Chimp Paradox where the chimp acts as our emotional side of our brain and actually has a naturally stronger pull on our decisions, where as the computer, acts as the more logical side.

Now for ease of explanation, we want to form some sort of negotiation amongst both these sides of the brain by showing the emotional side, i.e. the chimp that the small wins are good too, in order to promote the chimp to execute according to our goals.

Because if we are unable to convince the chimp side of our brain to move on something we need to do, its so difficult to get out of the rut.

And if our small wins are never celebrated and we only care about the larger goals, we will struggle to find any sustainable growth and progress in our life.

So celebrate those smaller wins, and get your brain to work for you!

And before I move on and leave some of you thinking, like what?

Heres 6 examples of small wins you can do:

  1. Send just 1 email
  2. Brush your teeth (yes by the end of practising these tips you will have the whitest teeth around)
  3. Tidy your desk
  4. Make your bed
  5. Read / Listen to a podcast / book for 5 minutes
  6. Drink a glass of water
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Photo by Wesley Eland on Unsplash

Step 5 — Sustainability

I mentioned at the start of the blog, an observation with myself and maybe some of you watching, which is that I am a zero to 100 kind of person.

Now of course there are great benefits with this too. The benefits are, when I am on it, I am on it. I feel invincible, strong, smart, creative and passionate about everything I do.

But when I am not on it, my god, I am everything I try to avoid being like.

But the reason for this is because I never adopted habits in my life that were sustainable, or at least I didn’t in my earlier years.

I was fixated on taking advantage of the days I felt good, I would cause myself to burn out. Following this, I would overtrain, read books, invest in property and work 18 hour days.

Id then rinse and repeat until my immune system dropped or body said no and hit a halt.

And i’d be brought back to reality, usually through illness!

1% a day

So the key here is to focus on small incremental shifts in your progress, aiming for that notion I often speak about — the 1% a day improvement.

Rather than try to do 2 extra workouts a day, try 2 extra reps on your final set instead.

Or rather than completely cut all your junk food out, and risk binge eating, later on, I have a suggestion; Try and just replace one unhealthy daily snack with a healthier alternative.

These small changes are not only small wins, but they can instantly help you get better without it being overwhelming.

And you know whats even better?

They can be applied to getting yourself out of a rut too.

Next time you are in a rut and you need to wallow, or sit there and accept your feelings. This is important for your mental wellbeing, and if it is the best thing to do right there and then, do it.

But set yourself a stop loss.


Say to yourself that you will give yourself 1 hour to dwell in the moment. This is your stop loss. But then once you do this, you will commit to adopting Step 2 and take got action.

And then the next time, give yourself 55 minutes, then 50 minutes, and then 45 minutes. The key si to bring it as close to zero as possible.

So there we have it. 5 quick steps that will help you massively in terms of getting out of a rut.

I hope you managed to stick around until the end and I sincerely hope these helped you too. Be sure to check the video out, if you prefer to see this articulated in a video, story block format.

And of course until next time thanks for reading.

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