Sometimes we can wake up and find we are stuck in a bit of a rut. Everything is ... fine.
Just fine, but not great. Just, you know ... fine. We know it's time to shake it up a bit, but that 'ole comfort zone of "fine" is just so damn comfortable we are scared to make a move. So we can end up cruising through each day, which turns to weeks and turns to years. A bit of cruising can be good, a respite from the inevitable slings and arrows that life throws our way, but when we get stuck in a rut for an extended period of time we feel somehow less alive. And that's not good. The important thing to know is that you don't have to do something radical to start moving out of a rut, you can start making small changes that will start setting you in the direction of getting unstuck by:
1. Doing something that feels like play. What did you do as a child that brought you a rush of joy? Ride a bike? Paint pictures? Make jewellery? Ride a horse? Go do that.
2. Travelling somewhere new. Either plan a crazy adventure or a staycation, but go somewhere you have never been before, and see the world through fresh eyes.
3. Driving a new route. You know that thing when you get home and you can't actually remember driving home, stopping at the lights, leaving the motorway or anything? We can get so stuck in a routine that our brains go into autopilot and we stop noticing what's actually going on around us. Change it up. Drive a different way to work or the school run. Get your brain back in the game and challenge it to move out of its rut.
4. Turning the TV off for a week. Ohmigodawholeweekyoumustbekiddingme??! Seriously, if you are stuck in a rut the TV is one of the easiest ways to avoid noticing what you feel, and challenging yourself to do something about it. When you choose to turn it off for a week you will move through boredom into thinking of new things to do. Stuff you would like to do. Making plans with friends. Trying that yoga class or running group you have always thought about but never got round to. Taking away the default option of the TV is an instant rut killer.
5. Going through your phone and finding two old friends you haven't connected with in years and calling them. Not text, call. Say hi. We haven't spoken in a while and I wondered how you were doing. Have a new conversation.
6. Getting together with a friend without using food as entertainment. We are all increasingly lazy and guilty of using food as entertainment. Meeting for a coffee, or brunch or dinner. Ease yourself out of your rut by meeting a friend for a walk, or a run, or a cookery class, or a book club, or to try surfing for the first time. This is often quite a hard challenge and shows just how easily we fall into a rut. Clamber out of it with a good friend.
7. Putting a new playlist together. With songs you don't know. Ask a friend or your kid what their favourites are. Challenge yourself to listen to it and to see what the other person loves about it even if it wouldn't be your usual cup of tea.
Moving out of a rut and reclaiming your mojo just takes a little bit of awareness and a little bit of effort. It's worth it. Moving from the zone of "fine" to "great" makes these little steps turn into big ones.
Louise is a life coach, author and corporate escapee. Visit louisethompson.com for more.