What is a “rut”?

The dictionary defines a “rut” as “an established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull and unpromising”.

I am often a victim of ruts.

Many of us fall into ruts and stay in them for a long time. Sometimes a ruts are not problems, they may even be helpful, but when we get too comfortable in them and let them control our lives, then there is dilemma. Ruts can keep us from exploring, expanding, growing and doing new things. Ruts often distract us from opportunity.

When we fall into ruts, we follow the same patterns of behavior over and over again. For some people, it means coming home after work, eating dinner, sitting in front of the TV for a few hours, watching the same shows and going to bed. Some people may eat the same thing for breakfast everyday. I know people who go to the same restaurant, on the same day, at the same time and sit at the same table in the same seat week after week. In relationships, some people fall into the habit of doing the same things every time they get together. Ruts don’t allow for exploration, open mindedness, flexibility or surprise. By their very nature, ruts create a hostile approach to the natural flow of life.

How do we get out of ruts?

First of all, we have to recognize the rut we’re in, and then quite simply, we have to decide that we WANT to make a change. That particular decision can end up being one of the most important ones we make for ourselves because it opens a door to a new world. A decision to make change is not enough, we need to take ACTION, we need the strength and courage to walk through that door.

Before we take action, we need to be WILLING to accept being uncomfortable, but at the same time be curious about new opportunity, new perspective or a new direction. Are you strong enough to explore? Walking into a previously unopened door is a risk. There is a good chance we may be surprised and even uncomfortable. What if it doesn’t work? We know it will be different, but will be better?  Who knows?  There are no guarantees. Change is uncomfortable.

Be prepared. The temptation to fall back into the old routine will always lurk behind the unguarded moment. Be brave.

Finally word of caution:

Don’t let the anxiety about change overwhelm you. Maybe you’re not ready for change.  Maybe the rut your in is protecting you from something you are not willing to battle today. Maybe you’re just not ready. That’s ok. Just remember, there is something very exhilarating about finding new paths, new experiences and new worlds.

If you’re like me, you are probably a victim of ruts. Consider making a change. Change is simple, but not easy. Change takes practice. Practice makes progress. Progress is good.