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“The best way out is always through” – Robert Frost

It is so difficult to get yourself out of a slump you don’t want to be in, isn’t it? Whether it’s a goal you have in sight that keeps slipping, or continuous effort and changes in strategy to reach your goal that just aren’t working, being stuck is so frustrating.  You know, that feeling of being completely lost?

Well, don’t worry, today’s post is on my top tips for getting out of a rut.

Here are my thoughts:

On Getting Stuck

Sometimes, it’s so easy to look at others who seem to have it all together and think that it’s easy. Actually, just yesterday someone told me they thought I had had my life all together for years. Well, that’s definitely not true. So, when have I felt stuck?

  • While in Canada working jobs I didn’t love with a great salary, unsure how to both move to Europe and follow a career path I loved
  • After graduating with a Masters from Oxford, having a job offer and 5 years experience, and still not being able to stay in the UK
  • Upon arriving in Spain, and realizing I could barely survive on the salaries academies paid
  • Then, taking programming classes for my PhD online and in Holland, and realizing that maybe, it wasn’t for me as much as I thought
  • Next, realizing that I actually like living in Spain, despite all of the little annoyances (which you would get living anywhere, really), and shifting my focus towards staying here (but how?)
  • Every single day, with my personal training struggle. Despite being perfectly healthy, seeing multiple specialists who confirm the latter, having 3 personal trainers and following countless meal plans over the last 18 months, I cannot lose weight. I’ve perplexed many trainers, dieticians and doctors, so we’re pushing through to see what’s up.


Pushing through is so difficult, isn’t it? Well, I’ll keep you updated, loyal readers, once I find a strategy that works.  You can read more about my struggle here.


People who get out of ruts do two things very well:

How To Set Goals

First, they write down their goals. Where do you really want to be?  If someone were to ask you this:  What is important to you?, what are the first five items that come to mind?  Write them down!

Second, they know they can do it. Brainstorm all the possibilities that come to mind. Keep pushing through!

Find your “heroes”. In reality, a “hero” is anyone who has achieved what you want to, or wish you could. Then, follow their strategies. Keep going. Push on through. Change the strategy, not the goal.


But you’re probably wondering:

How can I possibly have the strength and determination to get out of the rut if I haven’t figured out what I want?

You’re right.  Well, it’s not that you can’t, but it’s a heck of a lot easier if you take a minute to define your goals.  

First, you need to define exactly what you want. Do some research, be sure your goals are realistic, and head on over in that direction with a solid plan. Then, take that plan and divide it up into a schedule.  Piece by piece, you’ll have your plan laid out.


Finding Strength & Discipline Motivational Monday - End of Your Rope

So, you may have already read my thoughts on never giving up, or hanging in there with perseverance.  Well, you may be thinking I can’t do that or  the end goal is TOO much effort.

First, you control your thoughts.  Be strong, and think that you can.

Second, if you’re thinking something is too much effort, think again whether it’s really a priority for you.

So, is it really what you want? Are you sure enough to put in the effort?



On Focus

Now, perhaps the most important part of all is focus

You want to know the best part?:

This most important part is also the easiest. Hang on a second, how can focusing be the easiest part? Well, that’s easy. If you really want to reach your goal and you prioritize it, all you need to do is think about how badly you want it.

For example:

What makes me spend hours of my week, on top of PhD work and a demanding tutoring career, on this blog? Well, I absolutely love it and want writing to become my full-time gig, soon.

Now, remember:

I didn’t say it was easy to get to your goal.  I said it was easy to focus.  Hard work and discipline are the key to reaching success, in my opinion. Once you find your focus, and are determined to work super hard for it, you’ll be surprised how quickly parts of your goal will show up.  In fact, there is only one area of my life where this hasn’t worked yet (and only in the last two years), but I am pushing through!

What are you pushing through towards? Let me know if the comments below. I love to hear from you and respond to every comment!


Have a lovely and productive Monday!




P.S.  Photo fans, the main photo in today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in a park in Montreal in the summer of 2011

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