You know what a rut is right?
It’s like a routine but the not so good version of it. A routine can help you make things easier, because you do it automatically. A rut is a groove, a habitual, worn passage of your wheel. It tends to give you a feeling of being stuck.
The thing with ruts is that you don’t see them coming. They sneak up on you. They happen gradually.
One day you’re happy with your routine. The next you feel you can’t escape. But you need to escape to preserve your own sanity.
We all get into ruts. It’s the way human beings simplify things. The secret lies in finding a way out of the rut when it starts to strangle you. Because when you’re in a rut, the fun goes. And life without fun is just bleh.
You get out of a rut by tuning into recognizing when you’ve abandoned delight.
And the fastest way to get you back on track is to take some time to shift into enjoying something in the moment – rather than trying to push through the pain.
Here are five ways to tap into your own delight:
1 – Create a “Here’s What I Love” List
Create an on-going list in your journal or notebook. Simply write down a list of 100 things you love. If you can think of more, even better. But write at least a hundred. From the way freshly cut grass smells, to watching The Good Wife to getting a massage. Creating it will make you happy. Keep coming back to it, adding things, reading it and DOING the things on that list more often.
- Spend time with my boys – teach them, watch them, cuddle them.
- The smell of freshly cut grass
- Going for a walk in the woods
- Taking an afternoon nap
- Walk barefoot in the grass
- Watch photos/video’s of my boys when they were babies
- Bake (bread, cookies, cake…)
2 – Create a “Fun To-Do’s” List
Sometimes we forget to have fun. We get so tied up into daily life and our to do lists, that the fun simply vanishes. This list if for when you forget to have fun. No need to fill it with 100 things, but try to find at least 20. Include stuff you used to love when you were a kid – or better: invite your kids to add to the list (swinging on swings, jumping on trampolines, and throwing water balloons!) What is fun for you? What do you love DOING? Write it down. Then DO those things more often. Or add them to your day when you have been stressed lately
- Walking around in the woods
- Touching trees
- Climb a mountain
3 – Schedule in “Friends I Want to See More”
Sometimes months go by without a girls’ night out. Or without seeing or speaking to the friends and family in my life which I love the most. Make a list of people you love to be with (and why) – and schedule them into your busy schedule. Plan a girls’s night out in 6 months. Set up a monthly skype call. Organise a Polycom pyjama party.
4 – Shift things
Let’s say you’re at work and you’re sitting in a meeting. Let’s say you are usually bored out of your mind just sitting there. Now let’s try to shift it. Pretend you like being in that meeting. Look around at the people, smile at them, make a humorous comment, compliment someone, ask questions. I try to do this when the meeting really gets stale and it has really changed how I show up as an employee. This also works for presentations, speeches, networking events, family gatherings… Decide to have fun in those moments and realize that this is where you are right now – might as well enjoy it. You might even find that you can delight in things that you never even liked before!
It is important to find one joy a day. So if your day was full of bleh, pick one item off your love list, fun to do’s list or call a friend you love. That way you end the day on a joyful note.
5 – Imperfect action.
Let go of perfection. I know this is hard. But it really adds to your delight, enjoyment and fun to just do something because you want to do it – not because you have to do it or have to do it well. Just do it. Without a big FINISH sign that judges how well you did it or how fast you were. Just do it for the sake of doing it and shift your mindset to enjoying the process more than the outcome.