We’ve all been there before. We have this feeling that something is just not right… A niggling in our brain that we are meant for so much more… An urging for “something”…
We know intellectually that all we have to do is take a step, and another, and then another – we just need to MOVE, but we can’t seem to make it happen.
We know all these things and yet we are paralyzed… stuck… seemingly incapable of breaking free from this prison we find ourselves in.
I get it – I really, really get it! I lost eight years of my life stuck in a rut that I couldn’t seem to climb out of.
Eight years of feeling sorry for myself and blaming others for my misery.
Eight years of getting sicker and sicker until I was carrying around a pill pack to remind me to take all the prescription medications I needed just to function – even though the side-effects were almost worse than my condition.
Eight years of life that slipped away while I was stuck in that deep, dark rut.
And then something almost miraculous happened and I was able to launch myself out of that rut in record time and create a life that seemed unimaginable back then.
So, when I say “I get it,” it’s because I’ve lived it. I know how deep the rut can be and I know what it takes to claw your way out.
And that is what today’s post is all about –
The 5 Things You Need To Break Free From A Rut
No. 1: You Need To Make A Decision. Once you recognize that you’re in a rut, you need to make the decision that you are going to get out of it! Now, that sounds really simple, and it is, but making a REAL decision is not easy! Most people are not great at making decisions that matter. Think about it, how many times have you “decided” to lose weight or “decided” to start a workout program at the gym or “decided” to start a new business or “decided” to leave the relationship/friendship/job/situation that was no longer serving you? And how many times have you actually carried through on your “decision.” A TRUE decision comes when we reach a point where the pain of staying where we are is greater than the pain of moving forward. There is a nearly audible click that occurs in our brain – this psychic “putting my foot down” moment where there is no option to stay stuck, only to move. When we make a REAL decision to break free, the escape hatches have to slam shut and we have to cut ourselves off from any other option but freedom.
No. 2: You Need A Plan. Okay, you’ve made the decision that it’s no longer acceptable to stay where you are. GREAT! Now, you need to figure out where you’re going. I called this step “You Need A Plan” because it seems like the word “goal” is so overused these days and people just kind of glaze over when they see the phrase “You Need A Goal” and say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah… goal setting… Got it…” But here’s the thing: Without a goal – something that excites, motivates, and inspires you to get out of bed in the morning – you will find yourself slipping back into your rut in record time. You need that big star to guide you and push you when the going gets tough (and I’m here to tell you that it ALWAYS gets tough somewhere along the way). Without a big star to guide you, how do you know what to do next? Think about taking a trip. If you don’t know where you’re going then how do you know which way to turn when you get to the stop sign at the end of the street? Now, you also need a PLAN, but you only need to plan as far as you can see. You don’t have to see every single step at the beginning. Go as far as you can see and then when you get there you’ll be able to see where to go next.
No. 3: You Need Accountability. There are very few people in the world who can set their mind on doing something they’ve never done before and then just march their way down the path without getting sidetracked or backtracking or flat-out quitting along the way. Accountability bridges the gap between our intentions and the results we actually achieve. It can be employed in a number of different ways – from checklists to apps that remind you to do things to friends who check in with you to hiring accountability coaches. The fact is that when accountability at some level is in the picture, we are more likely to achieve our goals. The more layers of accountability, the better the results. Check out the findings from a study out of Dominican University. So, whether you download a reminder app or share your plans with a friend, colleague, or coach, set up some accountability around the steps you are taking to get out of your rut.
No. 4: You Need A System. At the beginning of any journey (be it a journey of self-development or the 12-hour drive to Aunt Jenny’s for Thanksgiving dinner), we are excited and raring to go, but what happens when we start losing our steam. What happens at hour 5 of that 12-hour drive when we’re tired and hungry and the kids are fighting in the back seat and we have to go to the bathroom? We’d rather be just about anywhere than where we are and be doing just about anything else, right? Well, the same is true for your plan and the path to your goal. At some point, you will get tired or you will encounter an obstacle that seems impossible to overcome, and you will want to quit. Our accountability partners are critical to our success, but what about when they are not there? That’s where systems come in! Systems are like the scripts for our lives – they help us know what to do next – even if we don’t feel like doing it. Systems help us put some of the process on auto-pilot so that we can keep making forward progress. I have built an entire business around helping people discover the beauty of implementing systems in their lives and in their businesses. Systems are the magic ingredient to helping the hard tasks feel easier. Systems are very personal – what works for me may not work for you. I have a whole store full of systems that work for people like me here.
No. 5: You Need To Move. Nothing happens without action. If you want to get out of your rut, you MUST take action. If you want your life to change, then you have to change something in your life. Without action, everything else is just wishful thinking. Your accountability partner can be a great tool for helping you move your feet and keep going when everything inside you wants to quit, USE THEM and MOVE!
Look, I understand… A 5-step process to busting free from a deep, well-worn rut sounds great in theory, but I am here to tell you that it’s not just a bunch of fluffy rhetoric. IT WORKS! I am proof that it works. The thousands of people I have worked with over the years are proof that it works. But YOU have to choose to use it. It starts with that big scary decision – that click in your brain… Are you ready to leave the safety and “comfort” of your rut?