A common reason people come to therapy is that they feel stuck. For some, feeling stuck is about boredom. Their daily habits have become mundane, and life seems so predictable it’s become stale.
For others, it’s a feeling of being stuck in a specific situation — like a job they hate or a relationship that leaves them unfulfilled.
When you find yourself feeling stuck, you have to take action. But in the midst of a rut, this often feels impossible.
Fortunately, the following strategies can help you get out of a rut no matter how stuck you feel.
1. Identify several escape routes
There are always many different solutions to a problem. Of course, not all of them are good solutions. But when you’re first trying to look at how to get unstuck, brainstorm as many ideas as you can — even ones you think might be bad.
Create a long list of strategies that could help you escape your current situation. Include ideas that seem awful and ones that might seem impossible (at least for now). The goal is to create a long enough list that your brain will recognize you have plenty of options.
2. Change your routine
While routines can be good for developing good habits — like going to the gym every day — having too much structure in your life could cause you to feel robotic. You need to change things up a bit to get out of the rut.
Doing things differently helps your brain look at matters from a new angle. It might spark new ideas, fuel a passion, or give you more energy.
You don’t necessarily need to make huge changes — smaller ones can be effective too. Instead of eating dinner right when you get home from work, go for a walk. Or sign up for a class that will help you learn something new.
3. Develop a challenge
Competition is a great way to add fuel to a dwindling fire. And you don’t necessarily need to compete against anyone else. Instead, you can create a challenge that’s just for you.
Your challenge could be related to a specific problem. If you’re in a financial rut, you might challenge yourself to pay down $1,000 worth of debt in a month.
Or you could just create a challenge that gives you a goal to reach every day — like running a mile to see how fast you can do it. Running each day might give you something to look forward to, it could offer a sense of accomplishment, and it may spark new interests in other areas of your life.