Ask a coach: I’m stuck in a rut – how can I get out?

What caused you to notice you’re ‘stuck in a rut’? Was it something someone said? Or an event, such as a reunion? Looking at others’ ‘wonderful’ (idealised) lives on social media? Or comparison with friends or colleagues?

Caution: beware comparing – I’m convinced it’s some kind of neuro-poison. Your situation may be absolutely fine for what’s important to you right now (and your friend’s ideal life may be a carefully posed charade).

Having said that, if you wake up one day and think that life is just passing you by, or want to change but aren’t sure why/what/how, it would be worth pausing for thought and to take stock.

That’s what these 20 questions can help you with; there are no right or wrong answers, simply note down your immediate response to each one. You don’t have to work through each question in order; it’s OK to skip one and come back. You may also find that your answers prompt other questions to spring to mind, so note your thoughts on those too.

  1. What’s good about my current situation?
  2. How do I spend most of my time at work?
  3. When do I feel fulfilled?
  4. What do I enjoy about what I’m doing right now?
  5. How do I spend most of my time outside work?
  6. What have I stopped doing recently? How’s that working for me?
  7. When am I happiest?
  8. Who am I spending most time with?
  9. What have I started to do recently? How’s that working for me?
  10. How much of my time is spent doing what I’m great at?
  11. What needs to be true for me to feel good about my current situation?
  12. What habits have I stopped?
  13. When did I last feel challenged?
  14. What new habits have I acquired?
  15. What am I gaining from how things are right now?
  16. What’s missing for me from my current situation?
  17. What could I lose if I made changes?
  18. What would I like to spend more time doing?
  19. Who do I want to spend more time with?
  20. What am I risking if things stay exactly as they are?

Hmm… you may notice that there’s a lot about your current situation that isn’t a rut at all. In fact, it’s just fine for what you need from life right now. It may be that a break from trawling social media is all you need.

But if it’s not fine, chances are you’ve got some clues from your answers and thoughts about what you want more of – and less of – in your life. So the next step is to list the things you want more of and less of in your life. Experiences are good, some ‘stuff’ is OK, but this is a wish list, not a shopping list! Brainstorm and note all the words that occur to you without self-editing or self-censoring as you go.

You can then rank them in order of importance to you and start setting goals and creating a plan of action – see my tips for setting goals.

You may also find this blog post useful: Is it really time to get another job?

Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’, available at selected bookstores and on Amazon.


Comments are closed.