Personal Development

8 Ways to get out of the rut

Steven Aitchison
Written by Steven Aitchison

Last week I went to a football game with a good friend, Celtic v Hibernian. He had tickets for the executive lounge at Celtic Park and asked if I wanted to come along. I was hesitant at first, knowing that family time is at a premium as I work a lot of hours between my job and my online work. I was also hesitant as I hadn’t been out without the family for a while. It might sound crazy but I had gotten so used to going out with my family whenever I had free time that I was a bit apprehensive about going out with a friend and meeting new people. It turns out the day was fantastic and we were treated to a champagne breakfast, the game and dinner. I have followed Celtic for years, I’m not a true supporter, but my team won that day. The atmosphere was amazing at the game and the people we were sitting with were nice.

I had gotten into a rut, albeit a very nice rut, by being with my family all the time. When the chance to step out of my, now, comfort zone, came along I took it and it was a good feeling. We are not anti-social people we just want to spend most of our time together as a family as we know the boys will be grown up and will not want us hanging around them in a few years time.

A lot of us are stuck in a rut in a lot of areas of our lives, whether it be work, relationships, friendships, hobbies and our free time.

Here are 8 ways to get out of the rut.


  1. The first step is to recognise you are in a rut. You will know this instinctively but maybe not been able to put a name to it. It’s that feeling you get when you think you just can’t be bothered doing the same thing that you’ve been doing for ages like going out drinking every weekend with friends, being stuck in the house yourself every night, doing the same old thing day in day out with your job. When you recognise this feeling, you can then do something about it.
  2. Once you have recognised the feeling of being in a rut start to think about what you can do to mix things up a little. If you are used to going out drinking with friends every weekend suggest something else you can do together or go and do it yourself or with other friends. If your job is your rut , start thinking about what you want to do with your life. People are stuck in a rut as they don’t know what else to do and haven’t really thought about doing something different.
  3. When you have thought about other things you can do in your life start thinking about ways of implementing them and incorporating them into your life. It may be just a case that you are stuck in a comfort zone and it can be scary breaking out of your comfort zone.
  4. ‘Small moves Ellie, small moves’ (Contact, 1997), this is a quote from one of my favourite films and it is so true when trying to get out of a rut. Some people like to change their whole life and turn it upside down and that’s great if it works for you but the period of adjustment can be overwhelming. When you take it slowly and take ‘small moves’ to get out of a rut it is not so overwhelming and you can ease yourself gently out of your comfort zone.
  5. If your job is your rut start taking action to change it. Think about what you REALLY want to do and start taking steps to getting there. See in your minds eye the outcome and how you will feel when you reach that outcome. Your imagination and your thoughts are key to change.
  6. If your friends and your social life is your rut do something different from the norm. Sometimes we outgrow our friends and it’s okay to make new friends, give yourself permissions to do this. It might be hard for you and your old friends, but you have to recognise that you are growing both spiritually and mentally and it can be good to have new friends.
  7. Changing your routine can also be a good way to start changing your life for the better. If you are used to getting up late every morning, rolling out of bed, going to work, going back home, lying on the couch and falling asleep to TV try changing this. Get up early, yes you have to force yourself, go for a walk and then relax until it’s time to go to work. This is a small change to a routine but it can have a major impact on your life. When you are up early and possibly walking you start to think about other things you can change, when you think about this you are more likely to act on your thoughts, when you act you will change.
  8. If you are not used to being a sociable person start getting yourself out there. Even if you are quiet, you can practice the art of small talk and get out of your comfort -zone of being alone.

We have to realise that being in a rut is down to our thinking being in a rut, it’s not our lives it’s our thinking. When you recognise you are in a rut you will start to think of ways of doing something different. When you think of something different to do you will see in your imagination something new, when you can see it in your mind it is possible to do it, when it is possible to do it it’s time to get out and do it.

Some Amazing Comments


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  • There is a possbily a 9th way. Stop thinking so much. Speaking from experience many of us spend so much time in our heads thinking that we can end up staying in the mess. Its better to be a doer than a thinker and that is the key. Stop thinking and just do. Taking action is the only way out of the muddle. I was once told to stop thinking completely and everytime I had an idle thought (and lots of the time my thoughts can be really unhelpful) I would turn it into a coloured ball and bat it right into space where I saw it explode. This is good if you’re feeling rubbish – before long you’ve forgotten what you were thinking about and then you get up and do something!

  • Thanks for the Blog:) it has put everything into perspective for me. A quote that is quite fitting for this topic is;
    “Don’t confuse Comfort for Happiness.” The easy choice is to ease back and stay in our comfort zone rather than challenging ourselves and enjoying the unknown! Thanks to Peter & a JR Fan for posting their remarks.
    Maybe ruts are just there… to acknowledge, identify our errors, learn from… and buffer before the transition to a new & exciting Chapter in our lives! It’s the old part of us resisting the change… that we know deep down is inevitable and definitely worth the effort!

  • Really interesting stuff. I really appreciate the article, and wanted to share some things I’ve been reading.
    I just finished James Arthur Ray’s newest book, Harmonic Wealth, and I had to share this concept he has that I think makes so much sense: LIVING FROM THE OUTCOME (Page 322). James says that most people live toward the outcome, meaning you are living like you don’t have it yet. He says you should shift your thinking so that you are LIVING FROM THE OUTCOME and thus sending out the energy to the world that you already have it. Think, feel, and act like you’ve already made it and the universe will say “Your wish is my command.”
    For me, that meant acting like I was more valuable as an individual – acting like a $500 a day earner instead of a $150 a day earner (no more reality TV marathons!) and acting like a thin and fit woman instead of a slightly overweight and sometimes lazy woman (goodbye Ranch Doritos!). Honestly, in the two weeks since I put down the book, things have started changing. And I think it really comes down to that one concept.
    Check out the Harmonic Wealth site and link to the book:

    – a JR Fan

  • I totally agree, you make the decision to make the change and go from there. Nobody said it would be easy, and it’s not, but small steps are better than no steps at all.

    I’ve just finished reading a book on a very similar subject. It’s called Live What You Love by Bob and Mel Blanchard. They are two people who one day decided to actually see what it would take to achieve their dreams. They followed a guide that involves Deciding what you want to do, Researching your options, Evaluating your goals, Acting to make your plans a reality and finally Maintaining your dream to make it last. Yes, that all spells D.R.E.A.M which is a bit gimmicky but the book is full of sound advice and well worth a read.

  • Hi Etavitom, nice to see you here as always.

    Hi Guy, thanks for your comments, I appreciate you stopping by.

    Hi Nicholas, thanks for stopping by. You’re totally right about thoughts. without changing the way we think we are never going to change and have the life we want. Our beliefs form our life, if you change your thoughts you change your beliefs if you change your beliefs you change your life.

    Hi IWR, thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words i appreciate it. Be great to know how you get on.

    Hi Bryan, it’s not easy to put into practice but we have to start somewhere, when we start something it sets of a chain of events. When the ball gets rolling it will speed up, if only we can start and start with the end in mind.

  • I think most people at some time in life will get so used to their comfort zone that they simply won’t change. It is more about mindset.

    Agreed with your points, but, to put it into practice is not that easy.

  • Perfect post, timing-wise, for me! I have the opportunity of a life-time to stay in London with my student daughter for a week – but half of me can’t be bothered to go! (My own little rut living in rural paradise writing freelance advice for newbie internet writers is so nice!)

    Then we start putting up the hurdles, telling ourselves reasons why we shouldn’t take something on. So, there’s the terrorism threat, the unjustifiable financial cost, the time away from our blog/writing work, what if we get ill or something happens at home ….. etc etc.

    After reading your post I think we’ll just pick up our bags and go!

  • I love that you ended this article by saying “We have to realise that being in a rut is down to our thinking being in a rut, it’s not our lives it’s our thinking.”

    Indeed, thoughts are the most important device we have in order to shape our lives. First comes thoughts, then comes beliefs and it is our beliefs that determine the actions we take or do not take. In other words, what we believe affects every choice we make. The future of your life is set in motion and shaped by everything you believe. If you believe something is possible you are more willing to do whatever it takes to make it a reality. You only lack in action when you lack in belief and you only lack in belief through what you think about it.

  • […] to come along. I was hesitant at first, knowing that family time is at a premium as I work a lot o column for May 18, 2008 The AdvocatePublished: May 18, 2008 – UPDATED: 12:05 a.m. Call […]

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