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Out of the ditch: making life fun again

Author: Amie Sitter-Jones
Published: Oct 7 2012

Think back to your childhood. The world seemed big, promising, and ready to be shaped in accordance with your whims back then, right? Now fast forward to today. Your life probably seems much smaller, much more predictable, and far less exciting. If you feel like you're stuck in a rut these days, remember that it's never too late to jump-start your life. Read on for some ideas, both general and specific, to help you get your groove back.


1. Make Mistakes

Normally you wouldn't admit a mistake until you've made it and it's too late to fix, but this piece of advice is so important that it needs to come first in any self-improvement plan. Once you admit that you're likely to make some mistakes over the course of an active lifetime, you'll see them less as miniature referendums on your abilities and more as confirmations of your humanity. Failing occasionally doesn't mean that you're not capable of achieving great things.

2. Switch Gears

If you find yourself stuck in a rut caused by a grinding work or family routine, change things up a little. Oftentimes, a simple change of pace can be enough to jolt you out of your funk. Such a change can be as easy as a surprise weekend trip to the mountains or as drastic as leaving your job to go back to school and get your MBA to start the business you always dreamed of, or to make a career switch. Undertaking a significant and challenging degree program could be the kind of endeavor that will turn your attitude around. It could also be a kind of challenge that leads you into fulfilling dreams of starting your own business that you've been putting off for various reasons.

3. Set Incremental Goals

Mistakes are a great reminder that pretty much anything more complicated than tying your shoe requires a step-by-step plan. Don't expect to be able to tackle and complete complex projects in one fell swoop. You'll only get more frustrated when things don't turn out as you envisioned. Instead, draw up a multi-step task list and cross each item off once it's been completed. This advice applies to everything from putting a new roof on your house to preparing for a trip, so write it down.

4. Exercise

It seems like every month brings a new study or survey touting the mental-health benefits of regular exercise. Running even for 20 or 30 minutes three or four times per week is enough both to burn excess calories and to flood your bloodstream with oxygen, releasing mood-lifting neurochemicals and brightening your day. As you get in better shape, these effects will stay with you for longer and you may just find yourself whistling along with the birds each morning!

5. Hit the Town

You don't have to party like you're 18 again, but a little after-hours fun never hurt anyone. Buy a new outfit or dig up a stylish older one and take a few friends out for dinner and drinks. Mixing it up with different types of people can be the perfect cure solution to a boring routine.

It helps to remember that you're not the only person stuck in a rut. That may be cold comfort when you're feeling down on yourself, but following the examples set by those who came before you may be your best bet. If you take big projects one step at a time and remember to recharge your batteries before fighting the next battle, you may just be able to break that pesky funk.

Tyler Lynch is a full-time writer for higher Ed blogs and journals nationwide with a focus on online education opportunities. Several schools offer online education degrees, including Rochester Institute of Technology and Providence College.

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