Life is a journey with many twists and turns. Often, when we have goals to live a better life, build a healthier body, make more money, and be a better parent – we’re moving in the direction of our progress, and sometimes we become stuck.
Sometimes, we become stuck because something crazy happens in life: there might be a tragedy in the family or at work, and it derails everything we’ve been building.
Other times, we just find that we’re going along good and all of a sudden, those good habits start to slip back into old patterns, and we get stuck in this rut.
What is a rut, really? Well, it means when we’re trying to spin our wheels in a particular direction, we’re just digging ourselves deeper into a hole. We feel stuck, and then we feel frustrated and guilty.
This is an incredibly common scenario that we’ve seen. When we’re trying to live healthier sometimes, we do get stuck, and it’s a valuable skill to know how to get yourself unstuck.
Here is the plan that you can use to get yourself out of a rut, whether it is a health, fitness, and weight-loss rut or whether it’s a rut in any area of your life.
Right now, we want you to think of what your goal is, whether it’s weight loss, something financial, whether it’s progress being apparent or spiritual progress.
We’re often taking action in the direction of those things, but what happens when we start to slip on those actions? We miss the workout, start eating an unhealthy meal, or maybe slip back into an old habit that we didn’t like – that action ends up being negative, meaning it’s an action that’s not in the direction of what we’re seeking to go.
Then that action turns into this next part of the rut circle, which is the emotion – when we have an action that’s not aligned with where we want to go. It’s going in the opposite direction of the progress, or it’s a stagnant action, and it’s really inaction. We feel this emotion, and oftentimes the emotion is frustration or guilt.
It’s like, “Man, I missed my workout again, I know, I should have gotten that in,” or “I had a cigarette, I told myself, I wasn’t going to do that,” and that emotion of guilt comes in.
Then, that gets us into the pattern of thinking that comes up from that emotion to the next part. It typically goes something like this – “I’m a failure, I can’t believe I did this again, I can never succeed with this.”
It’s almost always “I am” or “I can’t” or “I always” type a statement – “Man, I just can’t stick with the healthy eating, I guess, I’m just the type of person that’s addicted to sugar” or “I can’t get out of this job” or “I always find that this happens to me. I’m doing good, and then it falls off track.”
This is the kind of thinking that then breeds another negative action. It breeds a lack of action or inaction that’s actually in direct contrast with the direction we want to go, which then reinforces the motion, reinforces the thinking, which reinforces the action, and then this rut digs itself deeper and deeper.
So, we take less action; we feel more guilty and more frustrated. Then our thinking gets worse, and then we take less action. This is exactly what happens in any year of our lives. Think about it for yourself, reflect for yourself, and find that this is true.
It doesn’t matter what domain of life you’re going through, whether it’s health-related or something else – this is the rut cycle. The good news is when we can identify this pattern that happens for most people unconsciously, we can learn how to break it and how to kill this momentum and start to propel it forward in the direction of the progress we want.
So the first thing we need to do is start with our thinking because, ultimately, this absolute style of thinking creates our action. Once we realize that this is what’s happening, our first step is to reconstruct our thinking to breed good thinking with the intention.
Now, this comes into understanding a little bit about the mind in general. The mind takes in the impressions of the repeated patterns that we expose it to. It’s almost like the mind is like a big slab of rock, and as water runs down particular cracks, it digs them deeper. These are our thought patterns that eventually form grooves in our mind, and we have a lot of this kind of “I am”/”I can’t” negative statements over time they dig deep crevices. So it takes some work and what we need to do is to rewrite this narrative.
If the person that’s going to succeed, what is the thinking that’s going to get you there? Maybe it’s “I’m the type of person that can climb up from adversity and always get back up. I am someone who knows where I want to go and move in the right direction. I can’t always win, but I will continue to push in the right direction”?
This kind of healthier thinking that changes that story is going to help you feel more empowered to take action. This is why they talk about the idea of affirmations writing down “I am” statements or statements that are affirming what the identity you want to create. It’s powerful! This is how the mind works.
When we feed it new stuff, it starts to change shape so we can use our conscious awareness and attention to retrain those grooves and the patterns of the mind.
Because ultimately, if you look at the people who do succeed in any area of life consistently, they have the thinking that enables them to take action on a consistent basis. So we need to reconstruct the thinking, which comes down to you doing some journaling.
What are the “I am” or the thinking statements that are limiting you right now, and how can we transform them into something healthy? Unless you get a grasp on this, your action will always be driven by unhealthy thinking. You’re going to be stuck in a rut, so we got to start, to re-pattern this thinking – that’s a daily thing.
Every morning you’re getting up, you’re reaffirming this right kind of thinking, you’re observing those negative patterns, you’re adding awareness to it.
So two things we need to do here:
We need to strengthen willpower
Willpower is one of the greatest capacities that any human has. It’s our ability to take our internal will and desire and direct it in the direction that we want to go.
We can channel this force of willpower in the direction, and it’s powerful. This comes down to also understanding why do we want to direct this willpower here and strengthening that resolve about why health is important, why finances are important, why being a good parent is important. Strengthen that will, direct it with attention.
We also have to have the environment onboard too
What is your current environment that’s keeping you stuck in a rut? If you’re trying to eat healthier, does your house have chips and ice cream? Are you ordering out or eating bad food all the time? What is the environment that’s keeping you stuck?
If you are someone who’s struggling with your finances, are you surrounded by a lot of people in your environment that are also in that same situation? That not making it easy for you to save your money and work on the business that is going to move you forward.
What is your environment? How do we improve that environment and make it easy for you to start to take action?
For example, if you want to exercise, then you need to remove all the obstacles and create an environment that’s going to make it easy – buy yourself a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells, find the space in your living room or in your garage where you’re going to do your exercise and get a routine.
This is how we start to take control of action through willpower and environmental control. Then, guess what, when we’ve cleaned up our thinking, and this is not an overnight thing, but it starts to move in the right direction. Then we get a reinforcement of positive action, and then we get a positive emotion.
So we have an emotion that propels thinking into action in the direction of progress. That is how we take control of this loop.
If your health and fitness plan does not address this stuff – it’s garbage. It’s not going to work for you long term because it’s not just about the exercise or the food – it’s about psychology. It’s about guiding our behaviors.
Ultimately, your reflection and your identification of your patterns are what’s going to empower you to move forward. This is what’s happening inside of a rut. You can break it.
Let’s work on your thinking, let’s improve your environment, let’s channel your will, and let’s get those positive emotions to reinforce this entire thing.
Write down for five minutes the disempowering limiting beliefs that you know you tell yourself often, and you catch yourself and journal those without even just. Let them spill out, and then take those and see how we can turn those into empowering beliefs. Write those down and recite those every single day.
Start to brainwash yourself in the direction of positive thinking. When you do these things, take a moment every single day to really feel the positive emotion that you’re moving in the right direction.
This is going to get you out of that rut, and a rut is just like a little Eddie. It’s a little whirlpool in the water of your life. Once that whirlpool starts to lose momentum, it can dissipate into the stillness of your being, and then you can continue to move forward and be successful.