I recently changed my login password for my computer. The password had become compromised. I knew I could no longer keep the password.
I logged into the computer. Changed the password. Went on about my day.
I locked my computer. When I returned, I typed the old password. The computer didn’t like that. It told me I had an incorrect password.
Weeks later, I am still stuck in the rut of typing the wrong password. I’ll return to the office, sit down, and type the password. Whoops, it’s the wrong password. Or I’ll return from the vending machine and type the password. Wrong password again.
Thankfully, the longer the password has been changed, the more I’m catching it.
Break Out Of YOUR Rut
My password change alerted me to the rut I was stuck in. I had a regular routine. The routine had me doing the same thing again and again.
It made me think of the other ruts in my life. The things that I have become accustomed to but maybe shouldn’t be.
A few of my ruts are:
- Reading the same types of books
- Listening to podcasts without applying the information shared
- Writing the same type of content
- Having repeating negative thoughts
- Completing the same type of runs (though COVID has broken me out of this rut)
Ruts aren’t necessarily bad. They can help us do tasks quickly and efficiently. They can keep us on track. They can also make us unaware of the bad habits we’ve formed.
Think about your day. What ruts have you dug for yourself? You might find yourself:
- Forgetting to acknowledge your spouse when you arrive home
- Dismissing the ideas of your team members
- Sitting down and binge-watching your favorite show for the 4th time this week
- Accessing Facebook and mindlessly scrolling through your feed
Ruts happen. We are creatures of habits. We find comfort in regular actions.
But, today, we need to think about breaking out of our negative ruts. These are the ruts that are keeping you and I stuck when we should be advancing.
How do we break out of our ruts? We:
- Make a mental or physical list of the actions you’re taking today
- Review your actions at the end of the day
- Make a list of the actions you’ve taken that aren’t helping you
- Repeat the list tomorrow
- See if any of the negative actions are on the list
- If they are, note them
- Rinse and repeat until you have a list of negative actions that need to be corrected
- Begin to rise out of the rut by stopping the actions you no longer want to do
It’ll feel weird at first. You’ll want to go back to the old habits. You’ll feel a little lost.
But, the more you stop doing the old actions, the more the old habits will haunt you. You’ll find yourself creating new, positive ruts.
Don’t think you have to stay stuck in your old ways. You don’t. You can break out of your rut if you pay attention to what you do.