How to Break out of a Rut

Oh hello, monday by jamelah (CC BY-NC-ND)

oh hello, monday by jamelah (CC BY-NC-ND)

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. —Unknown
The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions. ―Ellen Glasgow
Sometimes the important thing is to strike out sidewise.
―Robert Henri



Predictability can be good. In life’s swirling chaos, you want hot showers, reliable gadgets, and regular paychecks. You don’t want chocolate that tastes like pickles or stores that open whenever employees feel like showing up. Routine is the bedrock of stability, an oasis of order in an unruly world.

But let’s face it: routine quickly becomes a rut. While stability is good for the nerves, novelty is good for the soul. When your days start blurring together and you can’t remember the last time your eyes shone (with pleasure, not tears), it’s time to take action.

What have you been meaning to do but putting off? Clear your clutter, hang up pictures, start a journal, hit the gym, invite people over. Feeling ambitious? Take a class. Take a trip. Make a movie. Change jobs. Move someplace new. A change of scenery can transform your outlook.

If that sounds exhausting, start small. Brush your teeth with the other hand. Sing in the shower. Change your route to school or work. Smile at strangers. Eat lunch outside. Go for a stroll. Fresh air can do wonders for your stagnant mojo.

Climbing out of a rut is easier than you think; it just takes a little effort and determination. Most of all, it takes variety—fresh stimuli get your creative juices flowing. And little things add up. Before long, small changes can make a big difference.

So what are you waiting for? Fire up your imagination, try something new, and break out of that rut!


  1. Predictability, routine, consistency–they can all lead to stagnation, can’t they? I agree with YOU, and Emerson “…consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Time to forge ahead with something new and different in 2015. New beginnings…

  2. As the day of dreary damp air passes I see what you mean more clearly. Today holds promise of a new crisp dry invigorating tomorrow. So as a planner, I prepare for the change of a new turn of the earth.

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