One Step Forward

It’s one of those days, you tell yourself… One of those days when you lack the energy to face the day or simply feel disinterested in what you’re doing. And if you’re like most people, you get up anyway and drag yourself to work, willing yourself to keep going until the motivation comes back.

But if it’s the same the next morning, and the next, and the next—you go to work and do what you need to do, going through the motions and feeling nothing about what you’re doing—you might be in a rut. 

Some people stay in a rut for years, doing things without truly moving in place. Why? Well after a while, a rut can start to look like a comfortable and safe place, a cocoon to hide in. That is, until it starts to feel overwhelming and suffocating—and thank God for that feeling! 

Recognizing that you’re in a rut is actually a breakthrough, because then you can do something. If you’re fed up with wallowing and tired of feeling tired without knowing why, just know—you have an out. I hope this guide will be helpful to you in getting up and moving forward.

Take a hard look at it and identify the source.

When you are in a rut, it’s easy to feel that everything is not working—your job, your relationships, even your health. However, it is most likely that the rut is caused by just one thing.

Did you fail in a project at work?

Are you experiencing problems with your spouse or a loved one?

Are you waiting for something to happen at work, at home, or in some area of your life that is not yet happening?

Take some time to identify what is not working in your life right now that may be causing the rut. By doing this, you take back your power by taking control of your life. And once you have zeroed in on the cause, you can start to do something about it.

Give yourself a deadline. 

Recognize and respect the feeling. It’s valid—and normal. 

Feel the feels. 

Wallow if you need to. 

Maybe have this one last weekend to binge watch on your favorite TV shows. 

And then decide that on this one particular day, the wallowing has to stop and taking action must begin. By acknowledging your current state of being, you are able to shower yourself with what you need at the moment. And that same power that you give yourself in recognizing what you need and giving yourself just that, you harness to get up from your rut and continue.

Start with the next small action that will move you forward.

A rut can be overwhelming. The longer you’re in it, the more difficult it is to change direction. And the more overwhelmed you are, the more paralyzed you get.

In one of my communities, we’ve talked about small, incremental changes—what we call 1% improvement day by day. It’s easy to start when you’re looking at just that one small thing that you can do right away. 

What is going to be your 1% today, tomorrow, the next day, and so on? And this is easy, because 1% is achievable and manageable. By doing your small thing, you’re getting started and building momentum.

Go back to your past wins

Being in a rut can sometimes feel like watching a movie of the world passing by. Everything is moving, everything is happening, but you’re not a part of it—you’re just in the sideline watching.

However, the truth is that you are a part of it, and there were various instances in the past when you were the hero in that movie. You were winning. You were zooming past challenges and going for your goal. 

Celebrate all those moments. Be grateful for all that you have achieved. Remember all of those times when you were at your best, fully alive and loving life. And know that you are the same person, and you can go back to that state of joy and aliveness.

Is it time to change path? 

A rut can be an indication that you’re not going the path that you should be going. 

Are you stuck in a job that no longer brings you joy?

In a relationship that is not right for you?

In a lifestyle that does not allow you to live according to your values and purpose?

If you are, then this rut is an opportunity to change your course. If the path you’re taking is no longer working for you, consider all the other paths you can go. List down all your options. Consider where you want to be 5, 10, 20 years from now—and how you can get there. This rut may be the blessing you need to restart.

Life is not one straight line, and you are not growing at a steady, comfortable rate. There are moments when you get an outburst of growth and moments when you slow down. However, no matter how fast or slow the movement, remember that you are continuously becoming, continuously transformed into the person you are meant to become. The journey never stops, and where you are now is a part of that journey. You will get up and continue.