How to get out of a rut?
Have you ever been there? In a rut?
Where your bored, lifeless, unmotivated, unhappy, irritated, would rather sleep your life away than get up and go?
For the last several months I couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. Of course with a global pandemic going on we are all feeling stressed and overwhelmed but this felt different. For a while I thought, I’m working too hard and need a break. But a break didn’t change anything. Then I thought I was lacking vitamins or vital nutrition. Maybe it’s too hot, too humid, too cold, too damp. Nope, not the case. Then my mind goes racing, and what if I have an autoimmune disorder. Common Hope, get a grip…
For months this has been going on, tired for no reason, dragging, and honestly, unmotivated. What’s up???
I’m in a RUT! Stuck on repeat, a skip in the record of life and nothing was changing.
My family rocks, I’m healthy, alive, I am moving forward towards my BIG dreams. What gives? Why am I in a rut?
What gives, is I was holding on. TIGHT. Like death grip tight. Holding on to things that don’t serve me, my mission, my soul’s purpose. I was holding on to things that were expired, like leaving old nasty food in your fridge and trying to convince yourself you’d choke that down tomorrow.
Holding on. But why? I’m in a rut.
Well funny thing, I listened to a LIVE on Facebook and it sparked in me that it’s time to hit the RESET BUTTON on my goals and targets. Time to get specific, zone in and tune in to those, and then reflect on where I was spending most of my time.
Well, NEWS FLASH, they weren’t aligned AT ALL. Well maybe like 30%, but I was living the life in my old goals and trying to move towards my current ones. And there was no LONG-TERM clarity within my vision insight. My life had “I’m in a rut” written all over it.
This depressed-like state, this exhaustion- was boredom. No fire within, no zeal, no drive to go for it, because I didn’t want “it” anymore. I wanted out of this rut. I wanted something else.
When you find yourself in a rut, one thing that is happening is you are focusing TOO much on you. Your shortcomings, your faults, where you should have done this, or that or the other thing… On how bad you feel, how bad your finances are, how everyone else is doing better than you, how your job sucks, your family sucks, blah, blah, blah.
And that was exactly what was happening to me. I was nitpicking everything I was doing, my faults, micromanaging my old goals trying to make my efforts fit with something it just wasn’t aligned with.
And for many people including myself I have spent most of my life numbing myself from all of this to not have to feel or deal with it. I used food, drugs, isolation, and a very negative self-talk to keep myself from having to feel and deal with anything.
Five Ways to Get Out of a Rut:
- Shift your focus off all that “you” stuff and shift it back to a goal, how are you going to help people and as a result help yourself?
- Ask yourself, what are your goals? Like take five minutes out of your life and ask yourself “what do I want”.
- Now, write them down. All of them. Then go back and look at them and see what of those are truly your goals.
- Reflect on how you are spending your time. It’s one thing to relax a bit, it’s another to do something or nothing because you are bored.
- You must do it. Yep, you have to just do it anyway. You will never get out of the rut if you don’t do something different. But if you don’t do the above, you’ll never know WHAT to do.
If I think too much about my “stuff” it’s like I just can’t get out of that deep dark hole to nowhere. But when you shift your focus and realize that a shift in thinking is all you need to make that change and get out of your rut. BIG things can start to happen. Like a little pep in your step and maybe even a newly discovered goal!
You got this!
And to help here is one of my favorite quick reads! Because a little extra encouragement never hurts!
4 Habits of Determined People
I am a very determined person. But there is a part of me that still holds onto this “learned behavior” of freezing when things get hard.
It’s not that I would “give up,” but rather, I would freeze.
I wouldn’t know what to do next. The fear of failure or worst making the wrong decision and others being disappointed would paralyze me. Others being “unhappy.”
Last week I was talking to my mentor and telling him about a decision I need to make. And he immediately looked at me and said:
“Hope…you are not responsible for other people’s happiness”.
No, follow up statement. No nothing. I felt the irony of that statement: when he said it, he wasn’t worried if it would make me happy or not. He said it because it was the truth.
For years I had it ? ALL WRONG. ?
I put so much of my energy into ensuring others would be happy. In return, I was killing myself, exhausting myself, to the point I was becoming bitter.
I would be temporarily happy because of my doings… But it never lasted. I would soon need another fix. I could never win.
See, I had being kind and helping others mixed up with making others happy…
I use to think that the only way to make others happy was to put them as a priority over myself. To give them everything they ask for. To self-sacrifice, put me at the bottom. Do the “poor me” dance.
This learned behavior was slowly killing me just as fast as my eating disorder was.
Over the last several years, I have been working diligently on cutting the cord of this person’s pleasing disease.
Here is what I know to be true…
❣️I believe we are all put here on this Earth for a God-given reason.
❣️We all have gifts, talents, and paths.
❣️We all are meant to shine, no one brighter than the next.
❣️But it is up to us as to how we choose to shine-dim our light or turn it up super bright.
My people-pleasing disease was strangling my natural determination superpower. I was driven, focused, and always wanting to do my best. But every time I would get the car running to accomplish BIG things, my people-pleasing disease would step in and sabotage my success. Over the years, I have learned how to effectively harness the skill sets and mindset to drive to my destination with less distraction.
Four Attributes of Determined People:
- Most successful people are great at delaying gratification. In the words of Beluga from Willy Wonka, “Daddy, please, I want it now.” And we all know what happened to Beluga. Part of my recovery was learning to sit with ill feelings and emotions. And learning they will pass. Right now, my parents are selling their house, and for my father, this is a roller coaster of emotions because when things don’t happen immediately, he just wants to make rash decisions. Dropping the price dramatically, thinks no one wants it… on and on. He just wants it over. But remember those feelings you are feeling are just feelings, and they will pass. Breathe my friends, and if you can delay that gratification for a bit longer, you may be surprised what you get in the end.
- Most successful people are great at withstanding temptation. I see this as several things. Are you trying to lose weight? That chip looks so good at 9:30 pm, doesn’t it? You have a deadline that would skyrocket your business, but you are organizing your office. You want a new job but have yet to do anything that would push you towards that goal outside of Netflix and Chill. My point is this; the temptation is just that-temptation. It’s enhancing immediate gratification for having it later. There is a form of resilience being cultivated when you say no so you can say yes then. You can do it!
- Most successful people are great at overcoming fear to do what they need to do. Most of my life, I have had a fear of rejection. Small, large, it doesn’t matter. And overcoming this has been a lot like going to the gym. If you want to develop a specific muscle or muscle group, your best work it and do things that are hard to strengthen that muscle then and, as a result, get better at them. So in my business, I have learned just to do it (thanks Nike). And if I lay out who I need to call the next day and put it in my calendar like an appointment and then just do it before I can overthink and my emotions wiggle their way in, success is within arms reach for me. The result, I’m less anxious around this and have taught myself that rejection is made up and that no’s only lead me to the yes’s waiting for me on the other side.
- Most successful people don’t set priorities; they do the things they decide are most important. What is important to you? It’s hard to figure this out without setting goals. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? When we see the destination (no matter how crazy it might sound), knowing this will help you figure out what is essential. I see these things as choices. We all can make choices. What are you choosing to do? Are those choices aligned with what you say you want?
Remember this: Do not ever feel bad for how bright your light is.
And if it makes someone else unhappy, that is for them to fix—not you. But equally as much, learn to be happy when others have a win. In the end, this simple practice will almost always return to you as a win as well. Determined is not just to reach your goal. It’s also to support others when they reach theirs.
Let me ask you this: Who do you know that is doing amazing things? Who do you do that worked hard for something and got it? Who do you know that has achieved a win, goal, or accomplishment. Now it may be something you have been working your butt off to achieve, and they got there first. Remember that you do not know their past details for detail and do not know their future. But you can choose to be a part of that win by celebrating it with them. Who knows maybe they will inspire or share what they did to get there with you simply because you supported them.
Full disclosure, I did not grow up in a home where this was a regular practice. When others achieved things around us, there were not supportive cheers; there were usually negativity and sarcasm: jealousy and an unwillingness to step up and be a part of the celebration. Now things change, I’ve changed and refuse to be a part of that type of mindset. And have also come to realize that we only know what we know, and how we behave is sometimes a protection mechanism from pain or rejection. (PS I love all my family, but this is a reality that I think we all can learn from).
It occurred to me a few years ago that when I try to “make others happy,” I am taking away from them the opportunity to cultivate the necessary skills, talents, and pathways they need to find happiness on their own and keep it.
That it is not for me to judge if they have to go through discomfort, challenge, even rejection to get there, that is their path.
?That conversation reminded me that even though I have come so far, I still have some work.
?That conversation reminded me that I could spend my time trying to make others happy or find myself and be a light showing others how to cultivate it.
?That conversation reminded me that happiness is not something you can “give” people; it is something you can lead others to find themselves.
Today I want to encourage you to take a moment and ask yourself, “what makes YOU happy”?
And before any lame excuses pop into that conversation, ask yourself, “what is the reason you aren’t doing that”?
In keeping my focus and staying determined in my life, I try to do two things daily:
1. Set goals. Long term goals and short term goals. This helps me stay on track and also evaluate time suck activities-like jealousy and envy, scrolling Facebook to no end, and “organizing.”
2. Staying Grateful. Every night before my kids go to bed, our entire family (me, my husband, and our three kids) pray together, and after we say prayers, we go around and say a prayer for someone and what we can be grateful for. Doing this as a family has brought us closer together, and being able to get a glimpse of what my kids see and then share is impressive. When you go to bed at night, what you are thinking about is what your subconscious meditates on. So if it’s hate, jealousy, lack, and frustration, then that is what you are embedding, not your brain, body, and beliefs—such a simple act with such a powerful result.
So my reminder today is simple: you are not responsible for another’s happiness.
❣️Be a mentor and show others how to cultivate happiness.
❣️Be a mentor and assist others in creating the skills to discover happiness.
❣️Be a mentor, and do the things that make you happy.
Because what good is another’s happiness if you can’t enjoy it with them???
Your happiness has nothing to do with them… and everything to do with Y.O.U…
Check out some of Hope’s other blogs that focus on goals and the art of being determined:
5 Steps to Take Ownership Back Over Your Life
Today is Summer Solstice AND National Yoga Day!
To be honest, I think it’s kind of weird that we have a “National Yoga Day”, but then again there is a day for everything now a days. So, why not yoga?
Yoga has done so much for me in the last fifteen plus years. So much that when I look back, a gazillion thoughts go racing through my head, and I find myself a little unsure where to focus and settle in.
But what can yoga truly do for you?
Where do you begin?
Where does yoga begin?
Where did yoga start?
In a gym?
On a yoga mat?
What is yoga?
To answer that I went back to the Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali (third century B.C.E) and the VERY FIRST word in the Yoga Sutra is “atha” which translates to “now”.
Right here, right now, in this moment.
Wherever you are, whomever you are, no judgement.
No yoga mat needed, just the presence of your being.
Yoga begins in the present moment…Yoga IS the present moment.
I’ve been there, on my yoga mat, trying to create something, trying to create a moment that others will say “wow” to, a moment worthy of the status of “yogi”.
But I have discovered, the second we start down that path, we lose yoga’s true essence.
I often discuss with my students, while standing at attention in Warrior II, that the back hand symbolizes keeping the past in the past, and the front hand, the future in the future. All of this while they (we) stand present in this very moment. In this moment, in all their feelings, all their sensations, in all that currently is.
And if you compare these first words in the Yoga Sutras to most practitioners’ definition of yoga (to unite) as Michel Stone puts it, “we turn yoga into something one does, a form of willful activity”.
Stone goes on to passionately point out that we have now confused YOGA with the “doing” of yoga.
Much like one says, “I’m going to yoga”, or “yoga was so hard today”, or “yoga is too easy”.
And is it that we have now confused the techniques of yoga with the “experience” of yoga.
The first time I heard this it rocked my world. I immediately stepped back and dropped my mat and sat to the ground in deep thought. Replaying the words back in my head again and again.
It was a reminder that yoga is not something we seek outside ourselves. And in a culture desperate (yes, I used the world desperate) for true meaningful connections. Sadly, we will not find them outside ourselves, we may not even find them “doing yoga”. Because for many, yoga has become more about mastering the pose, then connecting with their inner master.
Don’t Just “Do” Yoga
I say to my students’ time and time again, that it’s about taking it off the mat into your everyday life.
And my classes may not be led to the tune of modern funky music, and I may not wear the most fashionable clothes or always push in the way of a boot camp style, but the desire for my students to create a meaningful connection within is always the forerunner of my teachings.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for yoga. Not because it keeps me in shape or flexible, but because yoga, repeatedly, has asked me to step into the present moment. Offering me forgiveness to my own self as I would be guided to step out of the looming darkness of my unforgiving past and away from the anxiety of the unknown future and into the small morsel of the present moment.
And it was in that small moment that I found peace. Not because of the pose I was in, or the music played, or what other poses I had already mastered. But rather I had fully understood for a small moment in time, what it meant to be in the “now”.
It is when we fully commit to such a practice (the now not yoga) that we finally begin to understand what yoga is asking us to do.
Practice the Present Moment
And we cannot do that when everything around us is so loud to hear.
We cannot do that when our focus is on what we did or what is next.
We can only do that when we truly understand that yoga IS the present moment.
It is not a tangible practice or even an object to be seen. But rather one to be experienced only when all else is stripped away.
Today it is National Yoga Day. I want to encourage you to not just step onto your mat to strike a pose, sweat yesterday’s indulgences out, instead, truly bring “Atha yogausasanam” to life (in the present moment is the teachings of yoga).
From my heart to yours,
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Post them in the comments below.
PS Want to read more amazing teachings from the late Michael Stone. Start with this amazing book!