So often we get in the proverbial “rut” and all of our bad, irritating habits seems to crash down on us like one thousand gallons of water. We become inefficient. We feel like our rear wheels are spinning. We seem to be going against the grain. Nothing is enjoyable. This circumstance is affected by many factors that may or may not include your personality, the number of bad habits you’ve developed, the accessibility of your bad habits, your environment, your schedule, or your diet.
I’ve got great news though! There are ways to break out of these ruts and get back on track. As someone who often gets in a rut, I find myself constantly doing the “ole song and dance” in order to break out of the rut. After almost twenty years of “the real world”, I’ve developed a small list of tricks that seem to always work. Below I’ve listed these tricks accompanied by a little detail for each one.
Adjust My Music
I’m more guilty than anyone about listening to the same music over and over and over. In fact, I perceive that although this helps my routine, it sometimes takes me beyond “routine” and into “rut”. The trick is to switch the music often. It doesn’t mean that I can’t listen to music from my entire collection, but that I just need to change which music I’m listening to. Trying new music that I’ve never heard helps as well. Of course, my favorite artists always find their way back into my playlist, but just being mindful about how often I listen to each artist has helped immensely.
Change My Scenery
Being in the same place every day can become quite mundane. I happen to work from home, out of my bedroom, which is small and quite dull. Luckily, there are about ten great coffee shops and a shared work space that I can use as my office on a daily basis. Generally, just getting into a different environment allows me to focus in different ways and helps keep things interesting. Previously I worked in an office and the same challenge existed there. Unfortunately, being in an office limited the places I could move to, but I still made it a point to try to move around, whether inside, outside, or just somewhere other than my desk.
Tweak My Routine
The fundamental foundation of being in a rut is the routine. Knowing that helps me understand that if I change the underlying routine, then I can climb out of the rut, so that’s what I do. I constantly change these aspects of my routine: when I start work, when I eat lunch, where I work and eat lunch, how late I work, who I talk to, the streets I drive on to get somewhere, or the means of transportation I use. I recommend changing these things up early and often in order to keep things fresh, which isn’t as easy as it sounds if you’re a creature of habit like myself. It is an effective measure though.
Change My Diet
Muffins! I love muffins. I always eat the top of the muffin first, which is very exciting, then work my way down to the less exciting part of the muffin. Anyway, eating muffins every single day is a recipe (no PUN intended) for getting into a rut. It’s great to try various breakfast items, not only to avoid the rut, but also as a way to just change your diet. Some weeks, you may need more calories if you’re very active mentally or physically. Other weeks may be a bit slower, so you can lower your caloric intake. I’m not one for counting calories, but I do try to at least keep a high level watch on what I eat. I tend to eat way too much pizza and if I am undecided on what to eat, pizza is usually the fallback, so I have to be careful that I don’t allow that push me into a rut. Change your diet and try new things. It’ll keep things exciting for you.
Adjust My People Time
I’m a very introverted person meaning I need alone time to recharge my battery after being around people. I have a short-life, slow-charge battery, so I require extra alone time in order to find the energy I need later. I think we all need human interaction though. I think it’s healthy and I believe relationships are vital to our existence and our happiness. I recommend not only being around people, but adjusting the amount of time you spend with people. For extroverts, this may mean not spending so much time around people sometimes. For introverts, this may mean spending a little extra time around people sometimes. The goal is to change it up so that you don’t get into a people rut, whether with or away from them.
We all know “the rut” and none of us like him, so I hope that when you find yourself nearing a rut that you’ll try to change various things in your life. You’ll notice that each of the items above requires a tweak, change, or adjustment. That’s the key! Just implement small changes in your life.
Be intentional about making these changes in your life and I think you’ll find that you’re a lot more productive and life is a lot more exciting!