Stuck in a Rut?

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. To become trapped by routine, enveloped by monotony – we start to lose our sparkle. Everyday life has a way of establishing a familiar melody, a chorus on repeat.

Don’t get me wrong, consistency is great, after all “success is found in your daily routine”. But sometimes, this cycle can end up stifling us, or keep us coasting along within the limits of our comfort zone.

Sometimes we need to shake things up – to grow, to progress – to truly live.

How do we break free?

Here are 10 quotes to help inspire a shift from stagnation to inspiration.

1. “Create a life you can’t wait to wake up to”


Just imagine for a moment – waking up tomorrow to the life of your dreams … What would you be doing? How would you feel?

Perhaps right now, particularly with COVID restrictions in place – your current life feels more restrictive or more challenging than you would like. Or perhaps the pandemic has allowed you to live a more meaningful life.

Either way, let this quote reawaken dreams or passions that may have become buried or hidden by the demands of everyday life, or the challenges and restrictions of current times. Let it reinvigorate a sense of enthusiasm for life and allow you to re-assess what is truly meaningful to you.

DELVE DEEPER: Find out more about people exploring major lifestyle changes as a result of COVID-19.

2.“Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it”

(George Bernard Shaw)

Are you making the most of each opportunity that comes your way? Are you even spotting opportunities, seeing possibilities that lie before you? Or do you remain stuck in a rut, because you are waiting for some external circumstance to change?

Yes, sometimes life calls on us to be patient.

But, if we are always waiting for the perfect moment to strike, life will pass us by. Sometimes we need to make the most of the circumstances life presents us with, in that moment. The opportunity may not be perfect – but we can use what we have as a channel to move closer to what we truly want. Sometimes it may take a little creativity, a shift in perspective or a slight pivot.

And no matter the situation, we are always given the opportunity to express what is innate to us – ourselves.

DELVE DEEPER: Read here to learn about 10 inspiring organisations that pivoted their business model as a result of Coronavirus.

3.“You often feel tired, not because you’ve done too much, but because you’ve done too little of what sparks a light in you.”

(Alexander Den Heijer)

Are you stuck in a rut because you aren’t living you? You aren’t doing you? You aren’t doing the things that enliven you, that remind you of what makes life have significance for you?

How can you get back to you, even in small ways? Is it a walk somewhere new, a chat with an old friend, doing the same task in a different way?

DELVE DEEPER: Check out some lockdown friendly ideas that may capture your interest.

4.“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”

(Thomas Edison)

Sometimes we feel stuck in a rut because we believe we have tried everything possible and find ourselves at a dead end. Sometimes this is a sign that we need to let go, but at other times we haven’t reached the end of our search. We simply need a slight tweak in direction – a pivot in our perspective – that will open up a new range of possibilities.

DELVE DEEPER: This quote is another way of saying “never give up”. If you are stuck in a rut, check out these stories of persistence to help inspire you to keep going.

5.“You can easily recognize that something is coming from Ego because when you get it, it doesn’t satisfy you.”

(Eckhart Tolle)

Are your goals ones that truly satisfy you? Are you chasing external status and rewards rather than true fulfilment? Perhaps you feel stuck in a life that looks good from the outside but feels stale internally? You have lost motivation and drive because you are pursuing goals that are not truly meaningful to you.

DELVE DEEPER: Check out the real-life stories of people who transitioned from people pleasing and externally based goals to careers and lifestyles that aligned with their true values and passions.

6. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

(Fred DeVito)

If you find yourself stuck in a rut, perhaps you’re not challenging yourself. We often run away from fear, but not feeling fear can be a sign that our goals are too small. Is there a challenge you can set to help you break free from stagnation, and reinvigorate a sense of possibility and expansion within yourself?

DELIVE DEEPER: Check out 60 ideas to challenge yourself, including some to add to your post-lockdown bucket list.

7. “Stop hanging out with people that tell you what you want to hear. Hang out with people who tell you the truth. 

(Eric Thomas)

Who in your life holds you accountable? To your standards, to your visions, to your true realisation? Who cuts through your excuses and pushes you much further than you could ever believe possible? Who challenges you to get out of your comfort zone, to stop coasting through life? Are you around people who truly want to see you grow?

DELVE DEEPER: Learn about the 7 types of people you need in your life to propel your growth.

8.“Constantly focusing on the limitations, instead of all the possibilities, is how people become stuck in their lives. It only serves to recreate the same old reality from day to day. And soon the days turn into years, and lifetimes.”

(Anthon St. Maarten)

Perhaps it’s your perspective that is getting in your own way, rather than any external circumstance. Perhaps you are stuck in a rut because of limited beliefs – because you cannot see the deep reservoir of potential that exists inside of you. Or you underestimate your ability to adopt new skills and habits required to change and succeed.

DELVE DEEPER: Read more about the benefits of adopting a growth mindset to help break out of a rut.

9.“Are you really happy or just really comfortable?”


It can be easy to convince ourselves that we are happy when in fact we are simply comfortable. Yes, it’s good to be grateful for ease and comfort. But a plant in a pot that’s too small won’t grow to its full potential. It won’t thrive.

Being comfortable can see you settling for less. Comfort can be a killer – leading to a slow cozy death of your dreams and “oomph” for life.  

Perhaps a dramatic change isn’t needed to shake things up a little. Maybe a simple effort to give up some of the comfort that is stagnating you is all that is needed to kickstart a new lease of life.

DELVE DEEPER: Read the story of “The Boiling Frog” to understand the seductive but deadly nature of comfort.

10. “If you can’t do what you long to do, go do something else. Go walk the dog, go pick up every bit of trash on the street outside your home, go walk the dog again, go bake a peach cobbler, go paint some pebbles with brightly colored nail polish and put them in a pile.

You might think it’s procrastination, but – with the right intention – it isn’t; it’s motion. And any motion whatsoever beats inertia, because inspiration will always be drawn to motion.”

(Elizabeth Gilbert)

To find your way out of stagnation, JUST GET MOVING. Find your way out iteratively, experimentally, playfully, creatively, physically. Staying still, remaining inert, looking for the complete solution before starting – keeps you firmly where you’re at – STUCK.

A small step realised is better than the grandest of plans unimplemented.

DELVE DEEPER: Read the story of Joe Simpson (Touching the Void) who just kept moving to get himself out of a really deep rut – a terrifying mountain crevasse – and survive against tremendous odds.


All it takes it one sentence. One sentence that resonates with you. One sentence to wake you up. To bring a little clarity to difficulty. One phrase to break daylight within you.

Seize that sentence. Digest it. Mull over it. Allow it to create a little space within you, like a breath of fresh air. Use it. Exploit it. Build momentum.

Then make a change – no matter how small. Allow that sentence to free you. To move you from stagnation to inspiration.

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