Ever feel like you’re stuck in rut? Going nowhere, immobilized with indifference, apathy, laziness or the even fear of trying something new? I know I have. Most of my ruts have come on slowly over time like the long deep tracks made by the repeated passage of bikes on a trail. I think about times when I’ve been on auto-pilot, just mindlessly along for the ride of life. Usually I’m the lucky type and reasonably good things come my way without too much of an ordeal, so why rock the boat? But often I wonder what I have been missing by not putting myself out there more. Tending to a super-hectic work-family-training schedule,
I am also guilty of taking the easy way out, doing things mindlessly and over-relying on my creature comforts. For example, I run the same route in my neighborhood, sit in the same pew at church every week, order the same meal at my favorite restaurant, and haven’t changed my training plan in ages because it’s working (or, is it?). Really, these are just minor little ruts but, they do keep me from meeting new people, challenging myself and trying new things – I constantly have to tell myself to “mix it up.”
Occasionally, I feel like these little ruts are completely overshadowed by a big, gaping, capital letter RUT that literally appeared as quick and furiously as a polo horse can kick up a divot. Hello, I’ve lost a client, a friend, an important teaching moment for my child or an opportunity for personal growth that was just under my nose but I was too stupid to smell it. It feels like a crisis. It feels like my house is on fire. It feels so unfair because I have been taking the safe ride through life and not been reckless behind the wheel. Really these big ruts are just the small ruts flaring up to catch my attention. It’s best to stomp the divots down as soon as possible, minimize the chances of more tripping and falling, and keep the game moving forward!
Ways to Dig Out of a Rut:
Set and share a goal: Having a plan of action helps you lay out the steps needed to achieve a goal. Some of the most successful people in the world say luck had nothing to do with it; instead it was setting tangible goals to work toward. Don’t forget to share your goal with a friend and check in often; this will keep you accountable.
Don’t wish for it, work for it. Remember that a goal that lacks action behind it is just a dream. Sorry to say that dreams are imaginary and don’t come true, but goals can become a reality if you put in the work.
Embrace the uncomfortable. Stepping outside your comfort zone is essential for growth in all aspects of life. Being happy with the status quo prevents progress. Not wanting to go above and beyond keeps you stuck where you are. It’s so cliché, but no pain, no gain!
Make a new connection daily. You can break through a rut by making at least one new human connection a day and preferably someone who is not a carbon copy of you! Introduce yourself (finally) to a person you see every day at the coffee shop, gym or carpool line that you’ve never bothered to meet. You never know who will inspire you to make a significant life change!
Try something new daily. Break out of your humdrum habits by trying something new each day. Mix up the monotonous by trying a new fruit or vegetable (see my Star Fruit Salad recipe below) or try something a little more challenging like a new yoga pose or learning a foreign language. You’re never too old to learn a new trick!
Since, uh, I love food and getting creative in the kitchen, especially with my healthy salads, I like break out of my eating ruts by trying new ingredients. It’s also why I have a pantry full of only-used-once-or-twice spices and exotic ingredients. Because I’ve never had a starfruit before, I took my taste buds on a taste adventure and made a salad featuring this unique-looking ingredient. Officially called a “carambola,” this fruit grows on trees native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and there-about parts of the world. When you cut this guy crosswise, the slice look just like little stars which is what makes it such a fun way to jazz up a mundane salad. So, what does it taste like – it is hard to say? It was slightly sweet with hints of apple and citrus with the texture of a firm grape. By the way, loved the baby kale I used in this recipe – so tender and delicate that the massaging required for the full-grown green is not needed.
Starfruit & Orange Baby Kale Salad Recipe
- ½ large starfruit
- 2 ounces baby kale
- ½ cup orange slice segments
- 1/4 large red onion, sliced
- 1 ounce feta cheese crumbles
- ¼ cup toasted almond slivers
- ¼ cup vinaigrette of choice (I used Tangy Orange Citrus Vinaigrette)
Slice starfruit crosswise into ¼ inch slices; remove any seeds. Assemble all ingredients on platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette before serving. Serves 2.