Breaking Out Of the Rut in 4 Steps

Some habits are more resistant to change than others and throw us back in the rut again and again despite our best intentions.  Promises of losing weight, eating healthy every day, exercising or getting more sleep are made in good faith but before long old behavior return.  Mark Twain claimed that quitting smoking wasn’t that difficult; he had quit hundreds of times. 

Why is it so difficult for us to commit to behaving in a manner which is good for us and increases our quality of life and thus contributes to our own happiness?  “Just do it” seems like a straightforward answer but we are creatures of habit and willpower alone is not always enough for breaking out of a rut.


Committing and rousing our passion to break out of the rut is the most important step and involves examining the reasons behind our commitment and how it can contribute to our overall vision and goals in life.  Taking a step back and looking honestly at our life supports us in setting the right goals.  Explore what is important to you, how you take care of yourself and how you center yourself and focus.


Document your behavior relating to the habit for a week.  Examine triggers by writing down behaviors, feelings and circumstances that led you to form the habit.  Count the amount, such as number of sweets consumed or hours of missed sleeping and carefully document, without judgment, all positive and negative consequences of the behavior. 


Now it is time to get creative.  Use your journal and plan changing your behavior and circumstances to support new positive habits instead of the old habit.  One might for example give up TV for a while and read in bed instead to avoid late night snacking.  Examine the consequences of the bad habit, both good and bad and design reinforcements of new positive habits.  That might include rewarding yourself with positive activities that support your vision and goals.


Reverting to old habits is never planned but expecting difficult times and being prepared is the final step in breaking out of the rut.  Revisit your commitment as a safety ring and design crutches that support you and be prepared for all possible circumstances.  Your first-aid kit should also be ready for use at all times and can include for example escape routes, a supportive friend, a list of positive behavior benefits and activities that distract your mind.

Break out of the rut once and for all.


About Anita Sig:

Anita is a professional coach and the author of the online Realize Success in All Areas of Life program that is a holistic approach to well-being, success, happiness and satisfaction with life.

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