Are you suddenly realizing that you are stuck in a rut? Well, I think it happens to all of us. To move on, we must understand what causes this stalemate. Maybe you think it would never happen to you, but you are wrong. Everybody ends up feeling stuck in a rut at some point or another.
The truth is, you will be moving right along, reaching goals, updating, and improving, then suddenly, you will hit a plateau. Yes, even you will come to this point if you haven’t already reached it.
‘Why Am I Feeling Stuck in a Rut?’ 6 Non-Obvious Causes
So, let’s say you’re starting to feel this sensation. You are irritable all the time and nothing seems to satisfy you. Well, you are definitely feeling stuck, and there are reasons why this happens. Sometimes, we don’t even know why.
That’s why I’m here to help out with that. Here are a few not so obvious reasons why you’re feeling stuck in a rut.
1. Obsessed with the Latest Trends
Believe it or not, the new smartphone, the new console, and even the new laptop can cause you to become stuck in life. Hold on, don’t get angry. Let me explain. See, what happens is there are just too many things to keep up with, in the material world. Electronics are extremely popular, and there are many of us who constantly covet the next new thing. After a while of chasing these never-ending purchasing goals, you will find yourself feeling stuck in a rut.
At some point during your “keeping up with the latest trend” habit, you will feel yourself getting nowhere. Instead of growing and maturing in life, you will be stuck in a pattern of constant procurement and desire. Nothing will satisfy you no matter how expensive or elaborate.
The only way to escape this pattern is to learn to be happy with what you already have, and drastically slow down your desire for new things. Unfortunately, this is not easy in the world we live in today. Sadly, our consumer society has distorted our idea of happiness and is making us chase the wrong things. This endless pursuit of better things, however, is not going to lead us to happiness. To be honest, it’s not leading us anywhere.
2. You’re Waiting for “the Right Time”
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You’re always waiting for the perfect opportunity to do something, aren’t you? Well, I sometimes do that too. But lately, I have been giving myself a hefty push off the ledge of procrastination. I find that this works wonders in my life, and it actually unsticks me from the pile of comfort that I cling to.
Look, let me be honest with you. There will never be a “right time” or a “perfect opportunity” to do something important or to do something that could potentially change your life for the better. The time is now, and the time is always now to do these things. You are feeling stuck in a rut because you choose not to move. Let that sink in a bit.
Maybe you don’t make a move to change your life for the better because you are comfortable enough. Meanwhile, you make excuses for not leaving your comfort zone such as the moment being not good enough. You say you are too young or too old, the circumstances are wrong or there is uncertainty in the world. These excuses can be endless, but deep inside, you know that the reason is simple: you just don’t want to change anything.
We often neglect our dreams and wishes for the sake of being safe and comfortable. However, when you are not living your purpose, at some point, you start to live a life that lacks fulfillment and meaning. And this will certainly lead you to feel stuck in a rut and miserable with a life that was not meant for you.
Okay, I will share something personal with you. Yes, I know, I do this quite often, but it’s only to help you understand. Listen, I can be insecure sometimes, and it causes me to miss out on things.
For the past several months, I have been looking for a home to purchase. A friend told me about a list at my local bank, but I am too afraid to ask them about the list because I am sure they wouldn’t want me to have it. I feel so insecure about asking that I just keep looking in other directions.
Now, you can see how my insecurity stops me from moving ahead. This can be applied to anything that you are afraid to tackle. Insecurity will be an excuse you use when you have to leave your comfort zone. You will tell yourself that people don’t like you or they won’t give you a fair shot, but this belief is just your fabrication.
What kind of lies do you tell yourself? Or, more precisely, what kind of lies does your inner critic tell you? Do you tell yourself that it’s too late to change your life or that you are not capable/talented/strong enough?
We often form false beliefs about ourselves and life as a result of negative experiences, disappointments, or trauma. This becomes a real challenge when these beliefs sabotage our growth. It’s ironic how our imaginary insecurities have real power over our lives, isn’t it?
So, I have made a choice to try again tomorrow, to check the housing list at my local bank. Maybe I will feel more confident and follow through. Wish me luck.
4. Unresolved Issues
Nothing keeps you feeling stuck in a rut like unresolved conflicts with friends or family. If you’ve gotten into a fight with a friend, you might avoid that friend at all costs. The reason why is because you just don’t know what to say, and you’re also afraid that your friend will still be angry with you too. I will give you another personal example.
I have a friend who was angry with his father and wouldn’t speak to him for over a year. Unfortunately, his father died before he made amends. For a long time after his father’s death, my friend was stuck in the moment of their last fight. I think this is the worst-case scenario of an unresolved issue.
Take my advice, don’t let this happen to you. There are much worse things that just feeling stuck. Don’t let resentment and dwelling on the past ruin your life.
5. No Dreams / No Goals
What have you been doing for the past two decades? If you’ve done nothing but party and hang out, then it’s time to rethink your life. It’s perfectly fine to have fun, but you must start planning for your future. No wonder you’re feeling stuck in a rut! You’ve been staying up all night and sleeping all day. So, no dreams or goals equals an empty life.
You will forever be stuck at that moment post-high school or post-college. Remember, that education was for your future career, and even if you take hold of that career, you will still need to keep moving forward. Here’s a tip, always adjust your dreams and goals so you keep moving forward no matter how settled in your ways you’ve become.
At the same time, living a life that feels empty is not only a problem for the young generation. Middle-aged and older people can often find themselves stuck in a rut. For example, you may have already accomplished certain things in your life. There comes a point when you no longer make new dreams or set new goals. As a result, your life starts to feel like an endless Groundhog Day.
6. Self-Sacrificing… Always
It’s good to do things for others. In fact, it’s honorable to put others before you. I get that. However, there is one thing I’ve learned in the past five years, and that’s to take care of yourself first. Now, before you think I’m selfish, think of it this way. How can you really help someone if you have no energy, no respect, and no rewards for anything? How will you want to keep helping others when you’ve denied yourself even the simplest of pleasures?
Sadly, the kindest and most decent people often end up becoming people-pleasers everyone takes advantage of. This is because they find it difficult to say no and put themselves first.
When you stay constantly busy satisfying others and put your needs behind, you are basically living your life for everyone else but yourself. You do what your partner, family, or boss expects you to and forget what it is that you want. In the process of making everyone else happy, you sacrifice your own happiness. And most importantly, you sacrifice yourself and your dreams.
So, the key is, to take the time to do something good for yourself. Rest, buy a treat, or even take yourself to a movie and enjoy it! Also, you can never love another correctly as long as you’re not correctly loving yourself. And guess what, you will start feeling incredibly stuck in your life too.
Make a Decision to Get Unstuck and Move Forward in Life
So what to do if you are feeling stuck in a rut? Well, shove that paddle in the mud bank and push out into the open water. It may seem hard. Yes, it might even take every bit of strength you have. One thing is for sure though: when you do, you will thank yourself later. Sometimes, it really does depend on that first attempt. After that, you will be moving through life with a new goal and a new purpose. I wish you all the best in your adventures.
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