5 Easy Ways to Get Out of a Rut


We "should" begin the new year with momentum and motivation to burn, but for some of us, the winter blahs drag on until the first blooms of spring. We set goals and expectations, a lot of us actually make a list of New Year's Resolutions, but the first week of the new year turns into the second, which turns into the third, and we start feeling like everything will be the same forever. This, my friends, is what is known as a "rut." It could be your job, your life, your daily routine—if you're stuck in one, we combed the internet to find a few ways to blast yourself out of it that won't involve joining a gym or pretending to be happy until you actually are.

Get back to what gets you going. Most people assume that a successful career is defined by climbing up the company hierarchy. The problem is that the higher you climb, the more likely you are to be taking on management and organizational roles that have little to do with the reasons you took on the job in the first place. You begin writing articles for magazines yet soon find yourself writing the corporate strategy or fretting over advertising revenue. So we need to remember exactly what drew us into our profession, and consider a sideways move within the organization, back into a position where our true passions and talents can flourish.

Stuck in a Job Rut? Five Ways to Make Work Matter Again

"There are times when we accidentally slip into auto-pilot and begin coasting in life. In my opinion, if you’re just riding along not putting in any extra effort for yourself or your life – that is classified as a rut. One way to snap out of it, says eCommerce Strategist Ron Rule, is to always remember what you want. Want a shiny new toy or exotic vacation? Remember that when you’re splurging on gourmet coffee every morning. Want to be in the best shape of your life for that upcoming college reunion? Remember you want that much more than you want to skip the gym tomorrow morning."

8 Ways To Dig Your Way Out Of A Rut

Talk to a friend. Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while. Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

12 Useful Ways To Get Out Of Ruts

Search for jobs you don’t know you want. "The other day I was perusing the web and came across a few job openings that looked really interesting. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I got lost reading through a slew of available jobs I didn’t even realize I wanted. I compared my skills to the job requirements and thought about how I can apply what I know to the job, or what experience I would need to gain to get it. It gave me renewed insight into the types of jobs I enjoy and the skills I need for them. So if you’re feeling a little stuck or in a rut, a job search may invigorate you with a new career direction or give you advice on the skills you need to land that great job you never thought about having."

21 Ways to Feel Better When You're Stuck in a Rut

Complete a worthwhile task – something useful that has value to you. The trick is to have a ready inventory of meaningful tasks that need doing. If you are a busy person, this won’t be a problem. The tasks you have set aside in inventory should be  relatively small in scope – you should be able to complete them in a few hours at most. It works every time. Getting out of a slump is all about forgetting the problems that are draining your energy and getting involved in good, energizing work. The secret is to climb out of the rut in stages. Otherwise, you won’t succeed.

How to Get Out of a Rut


The most important thing to remember: The rut will sooner or later pass, even if you try everything on this list and it doesn't work, if your brain knows you're stuck it will work it out for you—eventually. If you don't want to wait for "eventually," click through to any of the above curated links for longer lists of ideas. Take a class. Upgrade your home laptop. Change your evening routine from television to reading three nights a week. Go to a movie in the middle of the day by yourself. Do things you've never done before, and you'll hit upon what works for you. Know that you're not the only one who might be stuck right now (it goes by many names: Boredom. Ennui. Tedium. Fatigue.) and that energy begets energy. Hang out with the energetic people in your life for a day or two. Make lists of what used to make you feel enthusiastic. You'll be back to your motivated self in no time!


Last Updated: January 12, 2016
About the author

Kelly Love Johnson

Kelly Love Johnson is Content Strategist for Jobs2Careers. She's also a shower singer, TV watcher, pop culture junkie, and habitual smirker. She's passionate about helping people find their dream jobs and closing the wage gap. Her book, Skirt! Rules for the Workplace: An Irreverent Guide to Advancing Your Career, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008.