How to Get Out of a Rut in Life

candle lights

Have you ever caught yourself sinking into a rut you didn’t want to be in?

Maybe it was a rut of not landing a new job and having a rotten attitude about it. Maybe it was a rut of becoming lazy and making bad nutritional choices. Or maybe it was even a rut of depression due to the illness of a loved one – or maybe even yourself…

No matter what it is, ruts in life suck. They zap your energy, tear you down emotionally and create mental barriers.

So how do you avoid them? Is it even possible to recognize when you’re falling into a rut? The answers to these questions are yes and YES. It is totally possible to have a deep enough understanding of yourself to know when you’re being sucked into a rut in life. In doing this, you can then recognize your weaknesses so that you can build them up.

Part of being truly aware of your strengths and weaknesses comes with age I believe. Living through certain circumstances and facing different challenges gives you the opportunity to excel in life…but also to fail. It is through these successes and failures that we’re able to grow as human beings.

Another part I believe is through determination and self-discipline. Having the dedication and work ethic to continually push through obstacles are traits that set those who succeed apart from those who fail.

So again, how do you specifically get out of a rut in life? A lot of my tips come from personal experience. Let me explain why.

How I Fell Into a Rut

soccer field

In November 2016, I was working as a referee at a college soccer tournament. It was a 4-day national tournament, with intramural teams coming in from all over the country. Oblivious to how much damage I would wreak on my knees within 3 days, I accepted a set of game assignments that far exceeded my physical abilities.

Part of this was due to the fact that I had never reffed this many games in a short amount of time (I was assigned 4-6 games a day for this tournament). The other part was due to my own stupidity in only bringing one pair of halfway worn out Nikes for the weekend (I was young and dumb, I know).

Barely into the second day of the tournament, I began to experience a sharp pain in my knees. It would hurt when I made quick cuts and sprinted across the touchline. Then, once I slowed to a walk it went away. Off and on that day it got worse. I still kept telling myself to push through the pain though. I wanted to do a good job and the only way to do that was to keep trying to ignore the pain.

That night, I could barely walk. I fought back tears as I iced and took more Tylenol. The next day the pain was still there. I had no choice but to give up two men’s matches that I had been privileged to receive. Giving those matches up was a major defeat for me. As a 21-year-old, this was an honor, however I simply could not run (let alone walk) for another 90-min match.

After that tournament, I couldn’t walk without pain for about two weeks. Thankfully, my knees eventually healed over the course of the next four months…until I decided to try refereeing again.

Unfortunately the sharp pain returned, leaving me more discouraged than before. Why had it returned after all this time? Four months seemed like more than enough time.

Fast forward one year later, and I’m still dealing with the pain. After numerous x-rays, two rounds of PT, cortisone shots, taping, bracing and finally an MRI…I found out that I had damaged the cartilage under my patellas – something that does not heal well. Period.

I found out that instead of regenerating new articular cartilage to smooth out the space between my patella and femur, my body was slowly building up scar tissue (and when I say slowly, I mean s-l-o-w-l-y). Whenever I would do something too strenuous, the joint would become inflamed, resulting in sharp pain and setting me back to square one.

So What’s the Point?

falling into a rut crutches

Me on crutches in my Christmas Jammies

You may be wondering right now what’s the point of me telling you all this? The point is that throughout this past year, finding motivation to stay positive felt almost impossible at times. Up until I injured my knee, I had no idea how much of a hindrance discouragement could play in a person’s life. Not only related to hobbies or a career, but toward all other aspects as well. I found that sinking into a rut could happen unknowingly if you weren’t prepared.

Read Finding Happiness – Unlock Your Inner Magic for advice on how to live the happiest life you can!

What You Can Do

praying hands

Whether it’s toward an injury or something else in life, have you ever caught yourself sinking into a destructive mindset? Maybe it’s a negative mindset, sense of self-pity or even just plain old laziness?

The point I’m trying to bring home is that you don’t have to stay self-confined in that rut. Whether it comes to work, family, friends, personal struggles or something different, YOU have the willpower to change your habits. For me, this meant fueling enough willpower to keep a positive mindset – even when things didn’t go according to plan.

I had to constantly remind myself to look for the positive things about my situation. Even though I couldn’t do the two things I enjoyed most (working out and refereeing), there were still numerous things I had to be thankful for. There were even new things that I discovered (and am continuing to discover) that I enjoy. Just a few are:

  • Developing a deeper faith through prayer
  • Learning calligraphy
  • Learning how to draw with pastels
  • Blogging 🙂
  • Reading more often
  • Being able to spend more time playing piano

The list actually goes on longer, but I was amazed when my husband pointed them out to me. It reminded me that, despite the pain I was in, I still had so much to be thankful for.

And the same goes for you! Whatever rut you’re in doesn’t have to rule your life. It’s all about your mindset and how you choose to handle the lemons life throws at you. I have personally met people who’ve either lived through the death of their spouse, children, parents – and even one lady living in a nursing home who had NO family left at all. And you know what? She was a HUGE inspiration to me because of her tender, caring attitude.

When You Catch Yourself Falling into a Rut

girl on beach

No matter where you are in life, know that whatever hardships you do experience are not permanent. With the right mindset and work ethic, it’s possible to not only stay out of a rut, but to thrive and grow instead.

Always feel free to reach out to me with any help, advice or prayers that you need! I’d love to help anyone and everyone live a healthier and happier life.

Email me at


Much love,

Sarah Gaddes