This is a list of 4 mistakes that you want to avoid when you’re stuck in a rut.
And in this post, I’ll give you 4 simple antidotes that have worked great to help me personally get unstuck from the rut I had been in for years and years.
Mistake #1: Asking the wrong questions
When you’re unhappy with a job or your weight or your husband, it’s normal to focus on what’s wrong.
And you tend to ask questions like this:
- Why is my boss such a jerk?
- Why doesn’t anybody listen to me?
- What’s the point of trying to lose weight if I just gain it all back, plus some?
- Why am I so stupid?
- What’s the point of trying?
Here’s the thing:
These are crappy questions. They lead to negative, unhappy answers.
Have you heard the idea that whatever you focus on expands?
This is an idea that probably first came from the Buddha in the Dvedhavitakka Sutta — “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.”
Basically, you want to get your brain working on good questions. You want to focus on what you like and what you want to attract into your life instead of what you don’t like and don’t want.
Antidote: Ask better questions
Choose good questions to ask yourself, like:
- What little thing could I do today that would make me feel good about myself?
- Why was I born so lucky?
- What skills do I have?
- What am I doing right?
- In what ways is my husband a good guy?
Mistake #2: Not investing in your mind
A lot of folks invest considerable time and effort in their physical and financial well being.
For our financial well being, we get jobs, buy 401k’s, buy homes, or start businesses.
For our physical well being, we go on diets, buy vitamins, shop organic, or join the gym.
We think nothing of brushing our teeth and taking a daily shower.
But for some reason, very few folks invest time and energy in their minds!
His Holiness the Dalai Lama often speaks for the need for “emotional hygiene.” He says:
The Dalai Lama
…one of the mind’s most marvelous qualities is that it can be transformed. I have no doubt that those who attempt to transform their minds, overcome their disturbing emotions and achieve a sense of inner peace, will, over a period of time, notice a change in their mental attitudes and responses to people and events. Their minds will become more disciplined and positive. And I am sure they will find their own sense of happiness grow as they contribute to the greater happiness of others.
And yet when you’re stuck in a rut, it feels like you don’t have time to invest in your mind.
Here’s the good news:
Even if your brain is swimming in confusion, overwhelm and fear, there are very simple baby steps you can take to begin to invest in your mind.
Antidote: Create a simple daily mindset practice
I suggest you try the Miracle Minutes practice every morning. It takes 3 minutes.
Spend one minute each…
- being grateful for one person
- blessing one person
- visualizing one outcome that you want to manifest in your life
I used these practices when I had been stuck in a rut for at least ten years. I was stressed, overworking, resentful and deeply frustrated. I thought I had zero time for anything else, but I was willing to try these practices. Paradoxically, I found that the practices began to open up space and time in my life.
If you want to learn more, sign up for my free mini-guide called “The critical first step for women to get unstuck.”
Mistake #3: Fear of failure and discomfort
Here’s a really weird thing that sooooo many women do:
When we are way down in the trenches, we’re afraid of making changes because we might fail or experience negative emotions.
Like when you’re in a terrible relationship and afraid to leave it because you might be alone and never find another one. (I’ve been there, done that.)
If you think about it even just a little, it makes absolutely no sense.
The fear is that you will be alone and feel miserable. But the fact is that right now you already feel alone and miserable.
The fear is that you will fail to find a good relationship. But in fact you are failing right now to have a good relationship.
The failure and discomfort that you fear so much is actually happening right now.
This is not an invitation to beat yourself up for being a loser right now.
I invite you to recognize that by staying stuck in a rut you’re not any safer or more comfortable than you would be if you made a change.
Antidote: Welcome the path of failure and discomfort
Here are two antidotes for the fear of failure and discomfort.
- Know that no matter what you’re not a loser. Remind yourself that you are a human being on a path to a fuller, happier life, and every day you’re learning and practicing how to do that.
- Expect that change is going to feel uncomfortable and confusing, and that you’re going to fail plenty as you take new actions and try new things. You’re not going to know what the heck you’re doing. You’re going to apply for jobs that don’t work out. You’re going to go on dates that suck. This is all totally normal and is part of the process of growing and changing into the person and the life of your dreams. Here’s a mantra to repeat to yourself: “I’m not supposed to know how to do this. Of course I don’t know. There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Here’s the bottom line:
You can choose to stay stuck in a rut, where you feel like hell, and hopeless. Or you can choose to experience discomfort and failure on a path of change and growth. The discomfort is not optional, unfortunately, but you can choose if you want to feel it while you’re stuck or while you’re making progress to your dreams.
Here’s one way to think about it, from life coach Brooke Castillo: “There’s the pain of standing still and the pain of moving forward. If there’s pain either way, wouldn’t you rather be moving forward?”
Mistake #4: Feeling selfish and guilty
As a woman, you may experience guilt and feelings of selfishness when you try to make shifts in your life.
The problem is that making personal shifts and transformations require you to turn inward for a time.
You will need to reflect on what is important to you, what you want, what has been missing in your life.
And that can feel selfish. When I started on this path, I used to wonder if I was just “navel gazing.”
A friend of mind said that she wondered “Do I deserve this?” when she was preparing to retire early.
When she thinks about retirement, she also worries about getting sucked in to her passion project and not paying attention to her husband.
Put here’s the truth…
You can’t do anyone any good if you’re pissed and resentful about not fulfilling your core needs now.
If the thoughts that are coming up while you’re in the trenches are:
- There’s nothing left.
- Does anyone value me?
- I don’t feel like I’m on my path
- Who am I?
Then it’s high time for some self care, and there’s zero selfish about that.
Antidote: Put the oxygen mask on yourself first
Know that to be of service to your family and friends and community and the world, you can’t be running on fumes.
Here are some thoughts to practice:
- I can’t help anyone else when I’m deep in the trenches.
- What if the world needs me to take some time out to work on myself so that I can be my best self and give my gifts back to the world?
If you want to learn some tools to start on that path, sign up for my free mini-guide called “The critical first step for women to get unstuck.”
Now it’s your turn
So those are my 4 mistakes to avoid when you’re stuck in a rut.
Now I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Which of the four antidotes do you plan to try first?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.