We’ve all been there.

“Hey, so great to see you! How’s life?” someone asks cheerily.

With shoulders slumped, we respond pitifully, “Oh, great. It’s like Groundhog Day.”

As soon as we mutter the words, we go from feeling bad to worse. We have publicly acknowledged that we are swirling around in a galaxy of monotony, and it’s pretty darn sad.

Moreover, we are fully aware that the responsibility to seek out joy is ours alone. No matter what our backdrop is, it’s up to us to get out of the rut and embrace life again. Ugh.

Somewhere deep down we know we want to. We just don’t know how.

Well, here are 4 ways to get going on your mission to move past “Groundhog Day”:

1. Do something awesome for someone else. When I was a kid, my dad offered this wonderful advice to me time and again: “if you feel low, or just plain bored, the best thing you can do is to focus on someone else.” While I wouldn’t admit it as a teenager, I will tell you now that he was 100% right. No, you don’t have to purchase an extravagant gift or put your job at risk to take a road trip with a friend; you just need to do something to show that you care about someone else. It’s an instant shot of joy. One seemingly small act of kindness will fill your heart and your spirit in big ways with a sense of purpose, which will then breed the kind of productivity that can get you right out of that rut you’ve been in.

2. Start small. What is one goal you had set for yourself, or one task that has been on your to-do list for MONTHS (or, quite possibly, years) that you can achieve by EOB? Get it done. When things hang over our heads, we tend to get stuck in a space of “I never seem to move forward with anything” – a mentality that squelches our spirits and makes us feel so badly about ourselves that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yes, even the SMALL things can make us feel that way – especially when they start to accumulate. So take a look at your list (or make one if you haven’t already), and cross something off before you have dinner this evening. Even the simple act of crossing off that task will undoubtedly lift your spirit and make you want to do MORE. And productivity feels amazing.

3. Put together a vision board. Pull out some old magazines and cut out photos and words that are aligned with what you want for your future. This simple visualization exercise allows you to dream the way you did when you were a kid, and actually helps you solidify what you want out of this life journey. It’s not only inspiring, but it’s also fun! After all, how long has it been since you sat at a table with glue, scissors, and tape and just enjoyed working with your hands?

4. Visit your happy place – and reflect. Maybe it’s the riverfront. Maybe it’s a nearby summit that you can enjoy after a good hike. Maybe it’s across the table from your soulmate in your favorite restaurant. Maybe it’s on a rocking chair on the porch of your best friend’s house. Maybe it’s in your yard with your kids. Visit that place, and visit it often. Think about what makes you come to life – and what you want out of your next chapter. Write it down in a journal or verbalize it to your children, spouse, partner, or friends. Give yourself that space for reflection – but focus on the future. What do you want your legacy to be? Who are you as a human? Get inspired by exploring your own answers to these questions in a place where you feel most aligned with you you are. No doubt you will feel excited to take action once you spend time thinking about what you most want.

As far as we know, we have this one beautiful life to live. Staying in that rut is a big giant and depressing waste of time. Who needs it? Say buh-bye to “groundhog day”, and hello to life.


  • Marybeth Gallagher Cale

    Leadership + Communications Coach

    Estuary Leadership, a Division of Cale Communications

    Longtime writer, leadership/communications coach, and certified life coach Marybeth Cale loves to help people communicate and connect with confidence. Founder of Cale Communications + Estuary Leadership in Rhinebeck, New York, she uses her work as a platform to connect people to vision, ideas, causes, and ultimately, to one another. Marybeth has crafted scripts and helped produce storytelling videos, has written hundreds of op-eds, essays, and articles over the years, secured top-tier media placements for clients (who she's then prepped for interviews), and publishes a hyperlocal magazine called Living Rhinebeck. In addition, she works as a certified life coach - with clients one-on-one as they discover and clarify their personal and professional goals - as well as through group training and workshops she conducts for companies nationwide (specialty areas: self-confidence, communication, public speaking, and leadership). Marybeth lives in her hometown of Rhinebeck in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York State with husband and business partner Tom Cale and their two children. She cherishes time with family and friends, and loves listening to live music, playing tennis, watching sunsets over the Hudson River, hiking, and volunteering. She's a graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland (1996), Institute for Life Coach Training (2016), and has received the Citizen of the Year Award (2019), Top 40 Under 40 Award (2006), and Service Above Self Award (Wappingers Falls Rotary, 2003). Learn more at estuaryleadership.com or calecommunications.com.