How Do You Get Out Of A Rut

By Azzy Aslam

Power Habits, Routines, & Processes. It's all down to habits.

5 Jan, 2021

How Do You Get Out Of A Rut


It’s easily done. Getting in a rut. Because it’s the easy thing to do. We are wired to do the easy things. The brain – an organ which weighs less than 2% of our body weight – will burn up around 20% of the energy we use each day. The brain is high maintenence.

Keeping all the neurons firing, strengthening important neural pathways, feeding the conscious thinking process consumes a huge amount of energy.  So when the brain notices us doing the same thing over and over, it starts to make the action or activity a habit. Automating it so it doesn’t have to keep feeding it too much energy. Automation uses less energy and takes less effort.

Ruts develop because we repeat the same action and activity.  Mindset ruts too; when we constantly think in the same way. It’s like the path you walk (or drive) home each day from work. If it was across a field you will see the path flatten and deepen over time. You will unconsciously take the same path each day because it’s the easy thing to do.

Worryingly, a rut or a prodcutive habit look the same to the brain. It’s just a bunch of neurons firing together which then wire together creating neural pathways. The brain’s job is to keep feeding and strengthening the pathways which are regularly used. So ruts have the same life cycle as other habits, except they are not helpful and keep us stuck doing the things we know are not useful to us.


How Do You Get Unstuck?

This is were you get a magical answer on how to can make the change you want:


It’s probably not the answer you were hoping for but it’s true. And I suspect you know it too. There are no quick hacks which having done for 3 days they magically turn you into a different person.  I’m sure someone will sell you the ‘secret to getting out of a rut in 5 easy steps’, and you know in your gut it won’t last. And money wasted!

Getting out of a rut or making any change in habits, behaviours, or mindset is a process which like baking a cake takes time to ensure it comes out just as you saw in the cook book


What are the steps to start making the change

Keeping it simple, this is what I believe are the steps to making changes or getting out of a rut:

  1. Awareness. Being aware of you situation, your predicament is the first step. A bit like the AA (Alcoholics Annonymous) meetings, you have to stand up and say you are stuck and acknowledge you want to make a change. Otherwise….nothing changes.
  2. Start to define, write down, visualise what you want. More importantly, who is the person you want to be. It’s OK to have role model and say you want to be as effective, productive, successful as them. It gives you something to aim for.
  3. Be clear what it will mean to you. What are the benefits. How will it make you feel – positive, happy, powerful, strong etc. These will be your ‘motivators’ at times when you need something to keep you going.
  4. Know that it will be a tough journey. You’re about to fight the strengthened and automated neural pathways your brain has taken weeks, months, and more likely years to put in place. And the brain will fight back. You brain wants an easy life and doesn’t like change. Be prepared to fight for the change you want!
  5. Have a plan. Yep, create a plan of the actions and activities you will do each day to move you out of your rut. Some of the actions may not seem relevant, such as going for a walk or doing some physical exercise. Add them into your plan. They are useful. Exercise is a mood enhancer and will help you stay positive – even a brisk walk is good.
  6. Stick to your plan!  It’s simple, stick to the plan unless you can see something isn’t working then make small adjustments as you go along, otherwise – stick to the plan.
  7. Start small. You can start with ridiculously small actions just to get you started. Imagine you want to run the London or Boston Marathon and you have never run before. The small step may be simply to get in the habit of putting on your running shoes and going for a 5-10 minute walk each day. That’s it. Seriously, this works. What you are doing is building the habit. Connecting new neurons, building a new neural pathway, strengthening them each day. As the days and weeks go by you can start to walk briskly, jog, then run, further and further. And you will be building the new neural pathway to becoming the person you want to be.

There are no magic and easy solutions to getting yourself out of a rut. It takes effort AND time!


Need some help?

There’s a couple of things I can help you with. The first is a 30 minute call to get you started. Totally free. Click the button below and book a slot.

If you want to put together a plan of your goal, define the activities, create a 12 week action plan, learn how to track, measure and makes adjustments as you progress then we need a little longer. For this there  is cost –  £149. I will run a one-to-one workshop to help you create and build your action plan which takes about 90 minutes.

Either way I would recommend the free 30 minute call to so what’s the best option for you.

Time to step up and take action – click the button below !



Want Some Help to make it Happen?

Book a 30 minute call to see how coaching could help you.

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