There’s something to be said, and benefits to be listed, about having a really solid routine in life. I know I tend to function and operate at my best capacity when I have good, healthy habits in place, and my routine feels solid and fulfilling. I could write about habits, routines, and their benefits, but that’s going to be for another day. Today we’re going to talk about what happens when we get too comfortable in those habits and routines—when we fall into ruts.
Even with good intentions and healthy habits, it is natural for us to fall into a stagnant place where we feel like we aren’t growing, moving, and changing. There are two really frustrating aspects, in my opinion, about being stuck in ruts. First, when it takes me too long to realize that I’m actually in one. And second, when I don’t take the necessary actions to get out of it.
The thing about ruts is that, over time, they feel defeating, deflating, and overwhelming. And if we let them go on for too long, we start to believe that those feelings are our new reality, forever. This is when getting stuck in a rut starts to morph into serious mental health dilemmas, prompting anxiety and even depression.
While every rut I’ve ever been in has felt different and has been caused by different circumstances, there has always been an affirmation that I use to get myself out of it. As Tony Robbins says, “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.”
This phrase always, always helps me to see the light, and remember that I have the power to make new choices, try new things, and see things from a new perspective. And it always works.
Most recently, I started a running practice. I have never, ever (ever!) considered myself a runner. In fact, running has always been hard and torturous to me. Somewhere in my mind, I wrote the story that running is impossible for me. I have always believed that something like running a marathon would never be in the realm of my possibility. I believed this story, and I believed that I was incapable, even though I had never tried to run.
So a few months ago I told you all that I heard a little voice inside urging me to try running. I was in the beginning stages of a rut. I wasn’t feeling great mentally, physically, or spiritually. I got the nudge to throw on some sneakers, go outside, and run. For just 20 minutes. Without over thinking or coming up with reasons why not, I just did it. And I felt so accomplished. As well as, motivated, inspired, encouraged, and uplifted.
I decided to make running (even if it was a short amount of time, with no true goal in mind) a weekly practice. It got me out of my rut. It gave me a new physical experience in my body. It showed me new parts of my neighborhood. It connected me with other runners on the street. It was meditative. It made me present to my mind and my body, and how my body reacts to a new cardiovascular activity. It sparked creativity within me. It gave me a new sense of hope. It made me feel like new possibilities were available to me. Because if running felt impossible, and I was actually doing it, what else could I do?
Now, I’m not saying all of this to encourage you all to start running, but rather, ask yourselves, what is something you can do, that’s new, that will light you up, and break your own mold? Is there something you’ve always wanted to study? Or practice? Or experience? Is there a new route to work that you can take that’s a more scenic one? Can you check out a different coffee shop when getting your morning coffee and meet a new barista? Can you strike up a conversation with a stranger in line, rather than holding a grudge for the long wait?
What can you do to break your cycle and experience something new? What is something different that you will do, so that you can receive something exciting?
I can’t wait to hear, please let me know!