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All of us get into a rut at some point. We go over the same worries, eat the same foods, go to the same places, and repeat arguments with their loved ones. Pretty soon, we can’t see our way out of unwanted situations. Some imagine financial worries will last forever, or family dramas will never cease. We become entrenched in our habits. Despondency can be overwhelming, but there are some easy ways to pull yourself out.

A rut begins and ends in the mind

If you feel stuck and want to change, recognize the first step is to alter your belief about not being able to get out of a rut. Habitual behaviors and patterns of thought begin in the mind, and that’s where they can be stopped. There are a few things you can do to get unstuck.

Notice the present moment

Occasionally, everyone experiences the present, and in that moment, they are no longer stuck. Such circumstances are magical because they offer a fresh perspective in which anything is possible. When your consciousness is in the present, you feel energized. You are in the flow of life rather than a rut.

Begin to spot times when you are fully present. Don’t force your consciousness to wake up – just practice recognizing when you’re in the here and now. When that moment arrives, embrace it, soaking it up with your senses. Know you are experiencing freedom from being stuck. Your recognition of liberty and attention to the moment will help such occasions expand.

Pay attention to impermanence

Mental strength coach and author Cara Bradley suggests people recognize their aliveness to help them wiggle out of being stuck. She also recommends noticing the impermanence of everything, reminding people that leaves fall, the sun sets, and nothing stays the same. Your relationships, moods, and finances will change; this is how life works. Thus, whatever challenges you’re facing now will naturally alter given time, and there’s no such thing as being stuck after all.

Embrace the rut if it’s helping

Life coach and clinical psychologist Jenny Radcliffe also offers useful advice about being in a rut, stating “It provides a framework that offers confidence and security. Without a structure – some degree of rut – your life can feel chaotic and exhausting.” Indeed, being stuck isn’t tantamount to imprisonment if it helps you manage life. However, she goes on to say there are times when you need to “stretch your mind and challenge your assumptions.” If you are bored, you’ll benefit from widening your perspective and changing your habits.

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Baby steps to change

Clambering out of a stuck state is hard. The rut is your comfort zone where you feel safe. Altering your habits in small ways by taking baby steps will make the transition to freedom easier. Small modifications like having one less martini when you go out or less sugar in your coffee have the power to build. Like dominos, they will offset other healthy behaviors. They aren’t massive either, so they won’t be too tough.

Every little change pulls you farther out of your rut. Even if you just get up ten minutes earlier or walk a new route with your dog, you will become less stuck.

You may feel like life will never change for the better, but you have the power to make change happen. Recognize when you’re in the moment and the impermanence of everything. Also, embrace helpful habits, but notice when patterns of behavior hold you back. Take baby steps toward bigger changes, and you will, eventually, set yourself free. 

Nothing is permanent.