You’re in a groove. You’re on track. You’re inspired. You’re filled with confidence. And then you’re not.
It’s over – at least for now. You’re in a rut. You’re off track. You’re discouraged. Your commitment wavers. What do you do?

It’s the norm, not the exception, to lapse into a rut. These times may come as part of a general slump in your life or as a response to a challenging situation that’s getting you down.

Whatever the cause, the solution is to view any setback as a temporary one. Nix the guilt. Guilt undermines your ability to bounce back. Nix the shame. Shame undercuts your worth as a human being. Encourage yourself with gentle words to get back to where you were. You do not need to punish yourself; you need to care for yourself. Question your premise, if you must, but don’t question your ability to emerge from the rut.

Here are some ideas to help you get back on track:

•Picture a hero of yours - Male or female, alive or dead, real or mythical. Imagine your hero cheering you on. What does he say to you? How does she motivate you? What would he do in your situation? Drink up his words. Marinate in her caring. Feel your hero by your side as you go about your day.
•Recall how you were when you were in your groove – What good ideas did you have then? What was important to you then? How did you feel about yourself then? See yourself beaming with delight. Remember what it was like when you felt inspired. Stay as long as you like in ‘groove-land’. Soon you will be taking up residence there once again.
•Know that life is a long-distance marathon, not a sprint. - You’re in it for the long haul. So, don’t let the first hint of frustration sap your energy, sabotage your goals. Even when your confidence is waning, hang in there. Give yourself a breather. Stop before you drop. Take time to rest, eat, pray, heal, love. Then when you’re ready, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on track.
•Monitor your momentum – Don’t push yourself to move faster than you can. It doesn’t matter how quickly you get back in your groove. Quantum leaps are not required. Baby steps are okay, just as long as you’re moving forward. If you find yourself falling behind, take an action. Change your scenery. Seek out a friendly face. Clean up a mess. Do something that gets your energy going.
•Think - even if you don’t feel like thinking. Working out, as you well know, is the tried and true road to a buff body. True for your mind as well. Utilize your gray matter, even when you don’t feel like it. You don’t have to focus on what’s gotten you in the rut. Focus instead on something simple but entertaining. Perhaps an easy crossword puzzle. Or a “how-to” magazine article.
When you’re finally back on track, smile. Know that you did it! Reward yourself. And be aware of what worked for you this time, for there will be a next time. Remember, it’s the norm, not the exception, to lapse into a rut.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist and success coach. She specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns. Contact her at or visit her website at

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