Getting Stuck in a Rut

I’ve been stuck in a rut lately. Wake, exercise, work, eat, sleep. I’ve been fairly removed from anything else. Occasionally I’ll read a chapter or so of a book that I’ve been meaning to read, and sometimes I’ll toss in a trip to the grocery store, but that’s pretty much my routine.

All work and no play...

All work and no play…

There’s nothing wrong with routines, in fact I think they have enormous potential to make us more productive and creative. Scheduling time to pursue our creative endeavors can allow us the freedom to truly express ourselves. But what happens when there’s not enough hours in a day to schedule our creative time? For me, writing this blog is something that I try to pencil in as often as I can, but other obligations override it: more work, trying to keep up with my exercise routine, playing with my rabbits, sleeping.

I’m working on getting out of this rut and getting back into a well-rounded schedule and these are the activities and exercises I’m going to try.

  • Taking ten minutes a day to truly do nothingThe idea of meditation intimidates me, but when it’s rephrased as simply “doing nothing” and observing my thoughts, I’m more inclined to try it. I haven’t yet sat down to do this, but I’m looking forward to seeing how well I handle sitting still for that long.
  • As soon as I find myself in a rut, I’ll get up and take a walk. This morning, I found myself completely unmotivated, so I put on one of my signature pump up songs and hopped on my stationary bike for five minutes. Last night, I was getting tired as I was chipping away at some work on my computer, so I dropped everything and went for a ten minute walk. My usually racing mind appreciates this time to just focus on physical activity instead of brain-draining tasks.
  • Accomplish something smaller. This morning, after attempting to motivate myself, I didn’t start right in to my to do list. I washed my dishes and then cut up a bunch of plastic bags and made them into a bouquet. I felt accomplished (and a bit ridiculous), and I was then able to make myself some coffee and jump in with this blog post. Starting off by accomplishing smaller tasks makes me feel more prepared to tackle larger ones.
  • Creating habits. This is something that I’ve been attempting to do by working out every morning. I’ve been horrible about talking myself out of this lately, so I need to get back to it. (I recently read The Power of Habit–a fascinating read if you’re interested in the science behind habits) Insert your desired habit after a certain trigger in your life–like waking, eating lunch, or after you brush your teeth at night. It doesn’t matter when you do it, but by giving your mind a trigger to complete your desired habit, you’ll be more likely to create a routine. (Hello , flossing!)
  • Create a real (or even imagine) community that depends upon your progress. My goal is to run a mini-marathon with my mother in the fall. Honestly, that might not happen, but she’s able to check in on me and encourage me to continue running. When I think about blogging, I find myself noting that I have a few followers, and that they may be looking forward to my next posts. I have friends who ask about my blog. Creating this sense of responsibility may be limiting to some, but I personally am motivated by being held accountable for things I say I’m going to do.

So what do you do when you’re stuck in a rut?

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Hang Out With People Who are Better Than You

Rustic Fall 18'' Grapevine Wreath With Vintage Fabric and Blue, Maroon, and Gold Flowers

One of Andrea’s gorgeous handmade wreaths

I have passionate, talented, intelligent and beautiful friends who I admire endlessly. And, yes, I’ll admit it: I can get jealous (can’t we all sometimes?) But I realized that rather than pine over the skills I lack, I need to revel in their talents and learn everything that I can from them.

That is why I’ve decided to approach it this way: hang out with people who are better than me at something, at anything. Learn what I can: new skills, new tips, or even just absorb as much of their passion as I can and throw it into something I know I’m good at.

If the person is smug about their talents, ditch them. Strive to only keep the ones who are willing teachers (and learners, when it’s your turn to teach). These are the talented and generous people you should surround yourself with.

For example, my dear friend Andrea. Ever since high school, we’ve enjoyed going out on photo-taking adventures. Here is how my photos usually turned out:

Let’s just say I ruled out becoming a photographer. I just didn’t have the knack for it. But  those adventures are some of my most cherished memories, and to this day if she were to ask if I wanted to go take pictures, I’d grab my camera and be there in a heartbeat. I find her passion and excitement for her talent to be incredibly inspiring. Now check out her photos:

Yellow Flowers, Bee, Insect, Resting, Summer, Dreamy, Nature, Photography, Home Decor, Outdoors

Moth, Insect, Flowers, Outdoors, Nature, Zoom, Fall, Orange, Brown, Home Decor, Photography
Water Lily, Pink, Flowers, Water Drops, Lily Pad, Nature, Macro, Home Decor, Photography, 8x10 Photograph
If you’d like to see more, wander over to her HandmadeBySweePea Etsy Shop. She makes stunning stamped cards and ultra-adorable wreaths for all seasons too.
Do you surround yourself with people you admire? What can they teach you?

Picking Your Passion

“Our cultural instinct is to wait to get picked…No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.”

Seth Godin, in his book The Icarus Deception, got it right. It seems as if I and many of my peers have been waiting for our day in the sun–to get discovered, to strike it rich, to have a profound impact on our world. However, the truth of the matter is that we’re all just young people struggling, still, to define ourselves and our passions. As I begin this blog, I want to focus on topics that are wholly interesting to me:

  • Finding your passion. This doesn’t mean to the exclusion of all of your other interests. In fact, I’m going to explore how we can merge our interests into a more singular path.
  • Personal development–so many young people are struggling to find their place in the greater world, that they forget to put themselves first. I see this every day.
  • Happiness. I feel silly typing that out, because it’s so darn cheesy. But, I’m not talking about fleeting happiness that comes with drinking a cup of coffee (which, incidentally, makes me very happy) or looking out at the sunshine, I mean deep-rooted, hard-core happiness. Fulfillment, gratitude, you get it. I’ll go there. My methods and ideas are not for the faint of heart!
  • I’ll certainly dedicate posts to my own personal development. I have so many interests, that it’s a constant struggle to manage my time and do what I want to do. I’ll identify goals for myself and help you along the way as well.
  • Books? I’ll read them. Blogs? I’ll read them. I’ll recommend good reading or viewing materials as I move forward along this path.
No really. What makes you happy? Dig deep, and be honest.

No really. What makes you happy? Dig deep, and be honest.

I’ve become so interested in the unhappiness epidemic lately (a woe-is-me attitude that runs rampant among my peers), and I hope that this blog can at least help one of you work towards a more positive future.