10 Ways To Break Free Of That Life Rut You’ve Fallen Into

It’s Monday morning and you’ve just hit snooze for the 10th time. The thought of walking into your mundane office makes you consider suffocating yourself with your pillow. Then you realize that hanging out with your boring S.O. in your tiny apartment might be worse. Sounds like you’re in a life rut—here’s how to get out of it.

  1. Buy a journal—then actually use it. This is the best way to get to the bottom of your rut. Get all of your thoughts on the page as soon as they leave your mind. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling—no one will see that you used “your” instead of “you’re.” Get to the bottom of what’s holding you back. Are you too comfortable with your cushy desk job in cubicle 522A? Are you afraid to break it off with your boyfriend because single life scares you? Maybe you’re looking for a career with a purpose. Whatever the barrier may turn out to be, sharpen your pencil and get writing.
  2. Talk through it. Now that you’ve gotten everything from that beautiful brain of yours into a chic journal, it’s time to discuss it with someone. You’re not necessarily looking for a solution—think of it as a brainstorming session. Don’t just go to your mom; she might be your biggest fan but shouldn’t provide the only perspective. If you’re in a career rut, find a mentor who is living out your goals. If it’s your love life that’s making you feel trapped, talk it over with your besties.
  3. Work it out—literally! Remember Elle Woods’ spot-on statement in Legally Blonde? “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” It’s not just a friendly reminder to refrain from murder. Buy an overpriced pair of leggings and a new pair of running shoes. Squeeze a few workouts in a week, preferably before starting your day. It will keep you uplifted and focused. Plus, your skinny jeans will thank you.
  4. Look for jobs you REALLY want. We tend to psych ourselves out when it comes to a job we’d love but may not feel totally qualified for. Think about where you hope to be in five years, without considering whether or not you’re qualified to get there at this very moment. List 100 things you’re grateful for and 50 more that make you happy. Dream big and don’t forget how amazing you are!
  5. Get excessive with self-motivation. You need to be your own cheerleader, so pull out your pom-poms and toothy smile. Leave post-it notes with motivational quotes on your mirror, laptop and all over your desk. Buy a goal-oriented scheduler and make a collage of people with dream careers or ideal job listings. You’ve got this.
  6. Surround yourself with positive, motivated people. It’s true that misery loves company, but that sort of pity party is nowhere near helpful. Stay in the company of energetic people who are driven to succeed. Their positivity will be more contagious than that new STD going around.
  7. Take a trip. Seriously, get out of town! The only way to assess your situation is by stepping away from it. Sometimes breaking out of your rut simply requires some fresh air. It will help you re-focus and energize. A ton of research shows that a getaway is valuable for mental health and well-being. It’s a healthy reminder that there’s life outside of your daily routine. It’s big, beautiful, and filled with white sand beaches and frozen margaritas.
  8. Rearrange your furniture and clean out your closet. Change can be very rewarding and empowering, but that doesn’t mean you have to make a drastic choice right off the bat. Before selling all of your belongings and living with monks, take a smaller step like rearranging your furniture or giving away the clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn in years.
  9. Set attainable goals. Life changes can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re comfortable (though extremely bored) with your current situation. Instead of setting a vague goal like “make more money” or large goals like “start my own business,” make them small, measurable and attainable. Be sure to set meaningful goals that will motivate you to actually pursue them.
  10. Put your fear in perspective. Change can be scary, but it can also be thrilling once you take the leap. I know that sounds like something you would see on a motivational poster over mountains and rivers, but it really is true. Go get ’em!
Caitlyn is a freelance writer living in Washington D.C.