Written by Shilo Urban
Finding your niche in life is important. Creating a comfortable place where you belong allows you to feel safe and secure, and often the niche we find ourselves in becomes a cozy groove. However – sometimes that groove starts to feel like a rut. You realize that all your days are starting to resemble one another. You work at the same job, talk with the same people, drive the same streets and eat the same food. You don’t want to sound like a whiney 5-year-old, but... you’re bored.
You aren’t unhappy with your groove; in fact, you created it – but if you aren’t careful, your groove can turn into a rut. All that sameness can be stale and uninspiring, and a rut is just one step away from a grave. Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Find ways to introduce new experiences in your life so that your groove makes you feel like singing instead of being stuck. Here’s how.
- First, accept responsibility for your rut and your life in general. You put yourself there – and therefore you also have the power to get yourself out. Blaming other people for your current situation is just a way of passing the buck. Take responsibility for your actions past, present and future.
- List ten things you are grateful for every morning. You know those minutes when you are lying in bed, about to get up, but are relishing just a few more moments of horizontal peace? Use this time to name ten things you are grateful for, from your cushy pillows to your sleeping dog, the sunny day outside to your ability to wake up and go to work. Being bored with your life is a first world problem; learn to appreciate what you have.
- Visualize a new life. What is making you feel stuck? Is it your job, your living environment, your friends or your hobbies? Take some time to thoroughly visualize the life you think you want (it may help to write down or draw what you are imagining). Is this new life everything you think you want? Try to determine if you are really unhappy with your current condition – or just unhappy with the sameness of it. It doesn’t make sense to leave one groove for another one that you will enjoy even less.
- Find a new hobby. It takes guts to admit that the pastimes you once had great passion for no longer float your boat – especially if they involve your social circle’s expectations. While you don’t want to let down your friends who are counting on you to attend the Fifteenth Annual Chili Camping Cook-Off, life is much too short to go through the motions and pretend that you still enjoy doing things that you no longer do. Find ways to try out new passions and hobbies to see if they fit. Take a Thai cooking class, sign up for a rock-climbing afternoon or join a pick-up game of dodge ball at the park.
- Plan (and carry out) adventures great and small. Trips to destinations unknown are an excellent way to knock your conscious into gear with a big dose of new sights, smells, tastes, textures and sounds. But since we can’t all jet off to France every weekend, be sure to also create small adventures for yourself. Make the effort to try out that new ethnic restaurant, visit a local park that you’ve never been to, read a book from a viewpoint you disagree with or dive into researching a subject that has always interested you. Even driving a different route to the office can infuse your day with new sights and sounds.
- Play. Act like a kid to shake off your rut. Spend a day at the amusement park, make a mud pie in your yard or take the afternoon off and go to the beach. Getting in touch with your playful side will help to clear your mind so that you can determine if your rut requires action or acceptance.
Image: Angelo Gonzalez