Ok, I was looking at a lot of the recent blog posts and realized something. It’s been pretty serious stuff. Fear, goal setting, self-care, and downright being stuck. But, it also felt a little… I’m not sure the word I want to use… maybe “heavy”. It’s all important. I totally believe that. But, the last several months of life have been pretty rough around my household. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had plenty of fun. But, there’s been a lot of sadness, frustration, anger, overwhelm, and confusion as well.
Times like that can suck the life out of you. They can let hopelessness creep in. They can derail you from your normal routine. And, if you can’t stick to your normal routine how are you supposed to feel motivated enough to really go after your dreams. Confusion, anxiety, depression, sadness, feeling “down”, it doesn’t matter what you call it, it just plain stinks.
As I thought over the last 4 months and looked over the blog I realized it was missing a little something—fun. I like having fun. I enjoy laughing. Usually, I’m that person in the movie theater (or at church) that is laughing out loud when no one else is. But, sometimes life gets heavy and I miss the fun.
How to get out of a rut in life
I’ve been stuck in a lot of ruts in life, both literally and figuratively. It’s not usually mud that gets me, when I lived in Michigan it was the snow. The road we lived on was in the country surrounded by farms and open fields. When we got snow the wind would blow and the snow would drift into the roads. Huge drifts all across the road!
One year I got stuck in the snow in the middle of the road on 3 separate occasions! And, it happened other years too. I’m not sure why I couldn’t seem to see these drifts or navigate around them or through them, but I couldn’t. Instead, I would find myself hopelessly stuck.
Through these experiences, I learned that doing the same thing repeatedly is not going to get you out of a rut. It didn’t matter how many times I tried to drive forward, I wasn’t going to get unstuck. Here are the ways that I could get unstuck:
- Using my floormats under my tires to help give me traction.
- Having someone else help push me out.
- Digging my way out (and usually using one of the other options as well).
- I know going back and forth from reverse to drive can sometimes help, but in my experience this has helped more in mud and less in the snow.
So, here’s how that applies to life
1. We need the right tools.
When I was stuck in the snow the right tools were my floor mats or a shovel. If I had a four-wheel drive that would have helped even more. In life, the right tools could be any number of things. It could be finding new resources, learning new skills, or a book that educates you on a subject.
2. We need other people.
On every occasion when I was stuck in the snow someone came along to help me. Once it was the teenage boy that was dating our neighbor’s daughter. Another time it was a tow-truck driver that just happened to be driving by (seriously he just hooked my car up and yanked me out and barely said a word to me). And, many times it was my sweet and frustrated husband. Without these people helping me I might have been there until the snow melted.
In real life, we need people that will encourage us, coach us, support us, laugh with us, and hold us accountable. We need people that have been where we have been and can guide us to where we want to be.
3. Sometimes you have to go back before you can go forward
If you’ve ever been stuck in a rut while driving you’ve probably tried the back and forth approach. You have to get the car rocking back and forth from reverse to drive and sometimes it gives you just enough momentum to make it over the hump and out of the rut. If you do this approach wrong you might bury yourself further so you have to be careful.
In life, sometimes you do need to take a step back before you can start moving forward again. But, if you dwell on the past too long, you aren’t going to move forward.
4. Doing the same thing over and over doesn’t always help
If I just kept pushing the gas repeatedly I would never have gone anywhere. When you’re stuck and trying to rock the car out you may have to try the same thing a few times, but at a certain point if it isn’t working then it’s not going to work. At that point, the situation is just getting worse.
Life is the same way. Don’t get me wrong, consistency is critical to success in life. But, there are times when we are doing the wrong things, focusing on the wrong things, or need to move on to trying new things.
Where did the fun go?
Let me be real for a minute, this post has taken on a life of its own. My initial purpose of writing this was not to talk about how to get out of a rut, but somehow it just went there. So, hopefully, one of you reading this is really getting something out of it because that’s how life tends to go. But, here was my initial point I wanted to make—we need fun in life.
I’ve been focusing pretty hard in 2018 on making progress, working towards my goals, and trying new things that I didn’t put as much emphasis on fun. It’s a tough balance. If you only focus on the fun. you are neglecting the things that you were created to do. But, if you focus so hard on your goals it can be easy to miss all the little fun moments that are taking place around you.
So, I’m going to work on shifting back to a middle ground. Plenty of goal setting, overcoming tough times, achieving goals, but with trying new things, enjoying the moment, rest, and fun.
If you want to hear a funny story check this out: One of my most embarrassing moments.