3 Small Ways To Break Free From Your Big Rut
Is this you?
The alarm goes off. Crawl out of bed. Must have coffee. Get ready for work. Go to work. Work. Come home. Repeat.
You’re not alone. A lot of people share the same bleak story.
I did, too.
I worked in the corporate world for over 15 years. And every now and then I’d find myself in a rut.
I mean, it felt like I was doing the right thing. And it felt like I was being disciplined and consistent. But, I found I was bored, dismal and stressed.
The good news is I found a simple way to break out of my rut (and stay there).
My commute to work became fun, I learned a lot about my neighborhood, and I made new friends at work.
You can, too, and you can start right now.
Shall I show you?
Step One – Wake Up
You may not recognize you’re in a rut.
Your routine may be so deeply ingrained that you overlook it when you’re searching for the source of your stress or your vague unhappiness.
According to this informative article, author Susan Newman, Ph.D., says, “Take a look at which routines in your life may have morphed into ruts. “In a rut, your productivity declines,” says Newman. “You do everything more slowly” and tend to get less bang for your buck. When you’ve completed a healthy routine, there’s a sense of satisfaction. With ruts, you’re more likely to have a sense of helplessness or beleaguered frustration.”
Take a moment and pause. Did a routine or two come to mind?
Step Two – Make A Plan
My first thought was my route to work.
I used to drive 30 minutes from my house to the parking lot of my office. I asked myself, “What can I do to make my drive to work more interesting?”
My second thought was my lunch.
For the sake of efficiency, I made the same lunch for 7 years. Don’t judge.
It was easy to make and it met all my macro-nutrient requirements. But it got boring. I asked myself, “What can I do to make my lunches as nutritious but with more variety?”
My third thought was my office building.
I didn’t know my way around very well. I always came in through the same doors, always took the same stairs, and always went to the same cubicle. I asked myself, “What can I do to get to know my office building better?”
What are a couple of things you’d like to make better?
Step Three – Take Action
I came up with two ideas for my route to work.
One idea was to listen to audio books and the other idea was to take different routes to and from work.
This helped a lot because my trip to work became meaningful. I was utilizing my time in a productive way by staying current with my reading list.
Sometimes I’d laugh out loud while listening to a great story … something that wouldn’t have happened if I kept my old habit.
Also, I got to know some side streets and toll roads. I never traveled them before making this change in my morning ritual.
It didn’t take long until I knew which route had the best view or which route could get me home quicker.
Lunch was a super easy fix.
Sometimes I’d add hot sauce or another condiment. That’s it. Changing the flavor profile was enough to break free from the boredom.
For other things to change, consider your protein (turkey instead of bologna), your veggies (salad instead of over-cooked broccoli), or your side (corn chips instead of potato chips).
You get the idea, simple easy-to-implement changes can work wonders.
As far as the office goes, I made sure to try a new entrance every now and then.
Plus I’d take different routes, use different elevators, use different floors, and use different stairs, to navigate my way to lunch, to meetings, and back to my office.
Sometimes parking in a different area was enough to add some much-needed variety to my day.
I met new people, discovered the best copier, and never saw the office building the same way again.
Are you getting the idea?
It can be frightening to think of changing your routine.
It’s something that holds a lot of people back.
But if you want to escape the doldrums of your morning routine (or any of your routines) you’ve got an easy way to make it happen.
And you can begin today.
Pick a routine that’s gone stale.
Think of a way to make it different. Maybe taking a different way home from work. Maybe taking a different way to work. Maybe ordering something different from the menu.
Now do it.
No more, “I’ll think about it.” Take action to breathe some new life into your rituals.
You’ll be feeling invigorated before you know it.
You’ve got this!