Rut Be Gone: Getting and Staying Out of Rut

a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.
I often wonder when I feel myself going through cycles of the same thoughts or experiences, how to get off the “hamster wheel”.  I know the ideal response is to not allow yourself to get there in the first place, but okay, realistically, WHEN I’m there, how do I get out of it?
Psychology Today offers some strategies on how out of rut.
1.  Embrace Regret
2.  Understand Your Comfort Zone
3.  Set Attainable Goals
4.  Use Mental Contrasting
5.  Use Critical Thinking
While all of this seems like very sage advice, I think these suggestions leave us lacking some real direction on the next steps.  While I’m in the middle of a “wall slide of life”, the last thing I want to try and remember is to “set attainable goals” or focus on “using mental contrasting”.    (Wall slide:  what happen when bad news or situations happen and all you want do is lean against the wall and slide to floor crying and screaming)
Even with my training, this is too clinical for me.  When I’m exuding “rut- like behavior”, I bask in all of the NO-NO’s.  Here’s my twist to the above suggestions:
1.  Embrace Regret – (This step is about acknowledging where you are)
Okay, let’s say your best friend from way back in the day is no longer speaking to you.  Okay, my regret looks like this.  “After all that I’ve been through with this chick, she doesn’t want to talk to me? Okay, I see how this is going to play out.  Shoot, she should want to keep me as her friend, I know where all the ‘bodies are buried’ and I never told.”  (That’s about as much regret you will get out of me about that)
2.  Understand Your Comfort Zone  – (This step is all about understanding how you got in the rut in the first place and is this a “pattern”)
 *same scenario* “I should have quit fooling with that girl a long time ago.  I mean, she showed me who she was a long time ago and I was the bigger person and stayed her friend anyway.”
3.  Set Attainable Goals – (This step is about setting goals to slowly get yourself out of a rut)
In the above mentioned situation, these step is EASY.  “I just won’t trust people anymore, especially females.”
4.  Use Mental Contrasting – (This step is about staying motivated about your desired future, while being realistic about where you are and the work needed to prevent future ruts)
*while drinking yet another glass of wine*  Well, what “sane” thoughts come after glasses of wine?
5.  Use Critical Thinking  – (This step is about evaluating and formulating a judgment)
*same scenario*  “Something must be going on with HER.  She needs to “check herself before she wrecks herself (yep, I said it).”
While I have been very playful about this scenario, we often, when in a rut, blame the other person and not take into account our role and responsibility for how we got into this rut in the first place.  Getting out of a rut rests solely on our shoulders.  We have decide that we are tired of how things are in our lives and make a dedicated effort to make some real changes.  This may involve soliciting the help from a TRUSTED friend.  Someone that will hold the mirror up for you and hand you a tissue at the same time.  Someone that will speak the truth in love.  Someone who’s been the the “room”for the highs and stayed in the room for the lows.  Be honest with them (and yourself) about where you are and what you are really feeling.  Not being honest with yourself doesn’t allow for the space needed to move beyond where you are.  Remember God has a sense of humor and will put this lesson on repeat until we get it.
I’ll wrap up by saying that it is okay to wallow for a moment when you find yourself in a rut, but you cannot stay there.  Getting out of a rut and STAYING out of rut is an ongoing work. Staying out of rut shouldn’t be viewed as a posture of defense, but more of an active posture that we should take to life and our situations.  Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.
For more on this, feel free to contact me at  Feel free to leave a comment and I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time….

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