How to Get Out of a Rut

This one.

This one.

I’ve been in a publishing rut lately. Meaning, it’s been too long since I clicked that little blue button that says Publish.

How I got into a rut doesn’t matter today. I’ll save that for later.

It’s 5:42 right now. 5:41 was my breaking point. What’s so special about 5:41? Not a damn thing. That’s just when it happened.

I decided I was done wallowing in my own self-loathing and guilt. Done with the lie of perfectionism. Done worrying about how to justify my absence to you.

By the way, it’s nice that you’re still reading this post, because I don’t know exactly where it’s going yet.

This is a mere symbolic gesture, and I suspect that will become the punchline. I’m just fulfilling a promise I made to myself, and maybe to a friend, that I would click the blue button on something.

I’m sure you’ve been in a rut before. It sucks, right?

Maybe yours wasn’t about publishing. Maybe it was fitness or money or some other habit. Those things can sneak up on you sometimes. But at some point, you become aware of it, and one of two things will happen.

You either choose to step out of the rut, or you choose to stay in.

So, what do you choose?

Almost everything in your life is there because of your choices.

Genetics and random circumstances play a role, but you have an incredible amount of power to choose the rest. I guarantee that you don’t appreciate the amount of power you have. You can’t possibly imagine it until you start to use it. I’m in the same boat.

We all choose to live with some things that make us unhappy.

The point isn’t to feel bad about your choices, but to appreciate your power to change them.

At 5:41, I was laying on the ground, feeling unhappy about something I could easily change.

It sounds ridiculous. And it is. And that’s the point. And that’s ok. If it weren’t ridiculous, the power to choose something else wouldn’t be so obvious.

So, I’m doing that. No big deal. It’s 6:18 now.

I doubt I’m qualified, but I’m going to give you some advice about this anyway. Three things that helped me get out of this rut:

  1. Forgive yourself for where you are. (That’s the hard one for me.)
  2. Think of a small symbolic action you can take.
  3. Just do it. Immediately.

Don’t worry about making it perfect. The gesture is what matters at first.

That’s enough to get you out of your rut, but you won’t be done then. Your final destination is somewhere else. It doesn’t matter how far away it is. You took the first step. That’s the hard one.

Your next choice is the one that will define you. I hope you choose to create a habit that will make you happy.

I hope you take the second step.

View all posts in this series

Subscribe to Monthly Experiments

Challenge yourself. Try something new. Improve your lifestyle. Create better habits. One month at a time.

Get free updates and exclusive subscriber-only content.


  1. Crownie says:

    Just do it! This post really resonated with me because it confirmed some things. I like that you point out that you make a conscious choice to STAY in a rut, because most situations we get ourselves into, we can also get ourselves out of (no matter how hard it may be!). I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share. Somebody is going to be able to move on because of this post! Cheers!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Good to see you breaking out of your rut John! Funnily enough, two contradictory things help me when I’m in a rut: either fall back on happy routines to slowly get back on track, or do something new or out of the ordinary to feel inspired again.

  3. John,
    Great to see you back! I’m still watching and listening, so don’t quit saying what is uniquely yours to say.
    Thanks for hitting ‘publish’.
    Here’s to hitting it over and over again, one point, one thought at a time.

  4. Glad you’ve taken the first step. I guess we’ll notice when you decide to take the next one. 🙂

  5. Kathy Fitz says:

    Hey here,

    I can’t believe you elected to publish this post- super timely!

    Just recently, i turned my rut into a groove- by going back to one of my all time favorite activities GOLF. I had forgotten how much I love the game, being outdoors and meeting new folks. It’s like my vitality vitamin!

    Everyone should consider what their vitality vitamin is…
    Then do it with abandon and joy.

    It will wake you up and sand-off life’s occasional rough edges.

    Don’t wait. Cast your vote for keeping it fresh- do “something” you love to do, today and watch what happens.

  6. Well timed for me John :). I love Zig’s advice on this: “Don’t wait for a feeling to start taking the action. Start with the action, and the feeling will follow.”

    I don’t know how many times I’ve reminded myself of that, it still takes some serious effort to get UP and DO something. Thanks for the reminder!

Speak Your Mind