Feeling Blah? Get Out of the Rut with These Tips

Life coaches offer suggestions to stay upbeat

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


Maybe you feel like life’s not as fun as it used to be. Perhaps you dread going to work. Or your retirement hobbies bore you. If you feel stuck in a rut, here’s how to get your groove back.

“Every single one of us gets into a rut,” said Giselle Buonom, who operates a life coach business, Self Empowerment Coaching, in Rochester. “It’s important for people to realize you’re not alone when that happens. It’s life and it’s OK.”

She believes that a rut is a mindset that slopes toward the negative instead of the positive. One important step in breaking free is to “shift your focus toward more positive things,” Buonomo said. “Start that by watching motivational TV, listening to uplifting music and watching inspirational movies. Research things you like online or at the library. Start a journal and list things you’re thankful for.”

In addition to looking at the positive aspects of life, it’s also important to try something different, even if it’s minor. If changing companies isn’t possible, for instance, a different position within the company might help. Or perhaps just relishing the job duties that appeal to you could help improve your outlook. 

The same applies to a relationship. Focus on the traits you enjoy instead of fixating on what you don’t like and look for ways that you can enjoy each other together.

For some people, boredom can form their rut. 

Ginny Hronek, a certified life coach, runs Your Turn Life Coaching in Rochester. She said that volunteering can help people accomplish something positive outside of themselves. 

“Find an agency that aligns with your values,” she said. 

Starting a different hobby or group can also affect change. Hronek suggested meet-up groups, visiting a museum, reading clubs, exercising or even driving home a different route.

Many people feel stuck in a rut of unending busyness. For those, Hronek suggested learning to limit commitments. 

“Say, ‘Thank you for asking, but I’m not able to do it this time’ and don’t make an excuse for it,” she said. “Sometimes we’re in a rut because we do everything for everyone else and not enough for ourselves. You can’t fully take care of others unless you take care of yourself.”

Getting out of a rut has so many possible answers that Audrey Berger, PhD, who operates Turning Point Life Coaching in Rochester, said it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” type of problem. She advised trying to “identify what’s holding you back and why you’re feelings stuck. There are lots of reasons why and understanding that can be an important component of getting unstuck.”

Some people feel overly self critical or overwhelmed by the idea of doing something different. Others may lack the resources or ability to plan.   


“Change doesn’t happen to us; it comes from inside us,” Berger said. 

She said that looking back at previously enjoyed interests can help: the kinds of things that are easy to look forward to.

If low self confidence is the problem, it’s important to remember that it takes time to gain competency. 

“If you say, ‘I can’t,’ add ‘yet’ on the end of it,” Berger said. “Write down past successes and think about ways in which you have overcome this kind of obstacle in the past.”

Breaking down larger goals into smaller steps can also help them seem more likely to achieve. Berger also thinks that it’s vital to reward yourself once steps are completed and to enlist the help of someone who can help with accountability. 

“Keep providing yourself with doable steps, continually seeing your motivation and rewarding yourself for your accomplishments and not only what lies ahead,” Berger said.

A friend or possibly a life coach can help keep you on track.

“A neutral third party is easier because they’re not emotionally involved in it,” Berger added. “Sometimes friends and family may not be as helpful in some instances. Coaches are experienced in helping sort out these types of issues.”

Of course, some issues are bigger than feeling stuck in life. If they hearken back to deeper, life-changing issues, it may be appropriate to seek the help of a therapist.