It’s quite common to go through periods where you’re stuck in a rut. You probably feel like you’re just jogging in place when it comes to your personal and professional life.
The stuff that used to excite you no longer does. You remain stubbornly stuck in place just spinning your wheels as your dreams stagnate. You lack the motivation needed to accomplish your goals and you’re extremely dissatisfied with the non-existent progress you’re making.
Let’s face it. Not a great feeling.
It could even cause you to consider giving up on achieving your goals altogether.
Don’t. There are a few emotional lifestyle modifications you can implement to get motivated and back on track.
1) Social isolation
It’s all fun and games until you haven’t spoken to another 3-D human in six months, people. Trust me.
Get out there and connect! Don’t put thought into the decision because you’ll talk yourself out of it. Just do it!
Call up a friend and meet up for coffee or lunch. Host a game night or movie night for your circle.
Are you far away from your friends? Find new ones by joining a local book club, or sports league, or taking a class on something you enjoy.
I know that some days the very idea sounds horrific, but putting yourself in social situations (even when you don’t want to) will elevate your mood.
If you’re an introvert don’t despair, there are steps you can take as well. Enjoy a video chat with a far-away friend or family member.
Or get to know your neighbors. Even brief encounters can help you combat boredom and brighten your day.
Here’s why all this is so important:
When you shut yourself in and avoid group activities and social gatherings, you miss out on spontaneous laughter, fascinating conversations, and the sharing of experiences.
I know that, for me, the chaos, the quips, and the shared memories of being with my people was a slice of joy in the moment they occurred.
And, the many times I’ve recalled those memories over the months, years, and decades have helped sustain me through bouts of loneliness.
Like everything else, balance is key here. While it’s essential to enjoy your own company, it’s also important to mix it up with some social interaction.
So trade that book in for a lunch date every now and again. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
2) Ditch the routine
Get out of your comfort zone! Because it’s pretty obvious that if you do the same exact thing every day you’ll inevitably get bored, right?
Even something as simple as trying a new restaurant or taking a different route to work can be enough to shake you out of your funk. It’s a good start at the very least.
Travel if you’re so inclined, even if it’s just for a quick overnight getaway. New experiences in new places awaken your senses and stimulate your creativity to boot.
Make an effort to connect with others who share your interests or hobbies. Consider joining a club or even an online community to bond with others who share your passions.
3) No more doom scrolling
I’m aware that we live in a digital age, but I still find it kind of gross how our phones are an appendage of our bodies.
I don’t think being tethered to a screen all day long is the healthiest habit to have. And I’d know, because I’m the Queen of the time-suck called scrolling social media.
You endlessly plow through Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, (or all three if you’re sad like me) and, in the process, you end up feeling bad about your life.
After watching countless hours of influencers in their beige McMansions living their all-for-the-camera cosplay, we compare our lives to theirs and always come up lacking.
You really love to live the kind of life these influencers have, wouldn’t you?
Yeah, so would they.
Never forget that what you’re watching online has all the authenticity of any sort of reality T.V. Yep. Pretty much zero.
You’re judging yourself by standards set by folks who can’t even meet them themselves.
Stop that please, it’s a recipe for misery based on a lie.
4) Don’t resist new experiences
If fear is holding you back from trying new stuff, you’ll end up missing out on some really good times because you’re psyching yourself out.
I’m not going to advise diving in headfirst because my own headfirst diving days are long over.
Even if you start small by dipping your toe in, it’s still better than hiding in the bathhouse and missing out altogether.
5) Quit fearing failure
Just the thought of making a mistake or not succeeding at something immediately used to be enough to leave me in a cold sweat. If my next task or project wasn’t a guaranteed win, I’d look for ways to weasel out of it.
If I hit an obstacle, I’d be ready to throw in the towel. For example, when I was in high school I took art classes. I was talented but unadventurous.
The problem was that I was too busy chasing the perfection dragon to let go and see what would happen if I just went with it. Sure, maybe it would suck, but maybe it would be awesome, too.
So, one day I was copying a Christmas card using India ink when I knocked the pot over and spilled a blob on my work in progress.
I was beyond heated at my mistake and ready to pitch my work in the trash. My art teacher walked over and started proposing solutions, like turning the blob into a dog, which made me mad because I wanted to be angry about my mistake, not try to correct it!
I know, I know.
The moral of the story is that I went with the dog idea, and every time I see that drawing in my family room I’m reminded of the day I learned a very important lesson.
6) Stop procrastinating
Today. Not tomorrow.
See what I did there?
Easier said than done, I know. You can start slowly by breaking all your hefty and therefore overwhelming objectives down into little bite-sized pieces that you can work with incrementally.
You’ll never get unstuck unless you take some sort of action, so do something!
7) Avoid perfectionism
Striving for perfection can cripple us emotionally and send us into a never-ending cycle of frustration.
No matter how noble your intent, this pursuit of perfection can cause you to pass up opportunities because you fear being inadequate, or even useless.
Whether it’s dominating your profession, maintaining a spotless home, or never having a hair out of place, insisting on flawlessness isn’t just exhausting, it’s also very limiting.
Because, like it or not, perfection isn’t an attainable goal. Why set yourself up to feel ‘less than’ under false pretenses?
While striving for excellence is definitely commendable, getting fixated on the “perfect,” and therefore only acceptable outcome steals the joy you could experience during life’s ‘imperfect’ moments.
Because if we’re honest, It’s usually mishaps, screw-ups, and unexpected twists and turns that provide us with the most valuable insights and memorable experiences.
So, the next time your lust for perfection leaves you paralyzed (and you know there will be a next time), step back and ask yourself this:
What’s the worst that could happen if I do my absolute best and just accept the outcome, whatever that may be? Will it even matter in five years, or next month, even?
Nope. It won’t.
Go for it!
8) Don’t fear judgment
At some point, everyone has held themselves back from doing things they want to do because they’re afraid of looking foolish and of what others might think.
And, boom! You’re paralyzed again.
Keep this in mind. Most people are too self-absorbed with their own circus and monkeys to be concerned with whatever dumb stuff you’re doing because they’re busy doing dumb stuff of their own.
And even if they do pass judgment on you, who cares? The world will keep on spinning as it always does.
There is no need to allow external prattle to drown out our dreams and desires.
Most of us hit a stage where our lives become dominated by routine. Your days and weeks hit a rhythm that provides such comfort, safety, and oh, so much skull-numbing boredom.
Don’t wait until you fall into a rut. Take measures to never fall into one in the first place.