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We all get stuck in a rut now and then and have a hard time trying to get out of a rut. If negative thing after negative thing happens to us over and over, it’s easy to see how we stop looking at the positive side of things and instead focus on the bad. If you oversleep one morning and then realize you are out of milk so you can’t have your cereal for breakfast, it’s easy to start your day off looking at the negatives. Open the door to head to work and it’s raining? Of course it is…chalk it up to the continuation of the worst day ever.
Even when investing in the stock market, one can easily just look at the downsides. This is especially evident after the housing bubble burst and the stock market tanked in 2008. When we look at how bad things were and how much worse the media played out our fears, it’s understandable why so many people are scared to invest in the stock market.
How To Get Out of A Rut
#1. Realize What You Are Thinking
If you find yourself in this type of negative thinking pattern, you know you are in a rut. It doesn’t take much work to change things. You first though have to recognize you are thinking negatively. This is the first step to get out of a rut. Without recognizing this, you can’t move on to the next step.
If you are unsure whether you always think negatively, catch yourself when you think negatively. You can write it down or just make a mental note, whatever is easier for you. At the end of the day, look back at just how many times you caught yourself thinking negatively. You might surprise yourself! (And if you need help to start thinking in a more positive manner, check out my course 30 Days To Positive Thinking.)
#2. Plan To Change
Once you’ve acknowledged that you are thinking this way, your next step to get out of a rut is to realize that change is possible. No matter how bad you situation appears, know that change is possible. Your finances will improve. You will find a great relationship. Whatever you are worried about, you have accept that change is possible.
Very few things in life are permanent. You can change just about any circumstance you are in. It may not be quick or easy (and let’s face it, most things aren’t either of these), but change is possible. You just have to accept this.
#3. Get A New Perspective
From there, you need to get perspective. Do you ever notice how when things are bad, our mind races and spirals out of control? No matter how irrational our thoughts may be, we are able to find a way to make it all seem plausible. The best way to get perspective is to step back and look at things from the outside. Pretend the situation you are going through is an issue with a good friend and not yourself. How would you help out him or her? I bet the advice you give to them would be much different (and much more rational) than what you are telling yourself.
#4. Set Goals
Next, begin to think big and set goals. I’ll tell you a little secret about myself. I think big. How big you ask? I focus on having $10 million dollars. Pretty big, huh? Some reading this might scoff, thinking that there is no way I’ll get there. While those people might have very valid arguments, I don’t let it affect me. I know that I control my chances of reaching this goal. No matter what anyone says or thinks doesn’t deter me. It actually motivates me more.
Because I am thinking big, I have to have goals to get me to where I am going. I have my plans and am working on reaching them. $10 million is a lot of money. As such, I need to have many small goals in order to keep me motivated to reach it. Otherwise, I might get sidetracked when I look at my bank account on Friday and see that I am still $9,850,000 away.
That is the last key to get out of a rut: setting small, attainable goals. Notice that I didn’t say to not set goals, but to set smaller goals. I hope you can see that if my goal is to have $10 million dollars in say 10 years, I might get disappointed when I see my account balances not growing quickly. Instead, I set smaller goals that help keep me motivated along the way.
I could say that by the end of the year, I need to have $100,000 and outline how I will get there. Then, by the end of the second year, I need to have $350,000 and outline how to get there. As I reach each goal, it reinforces my motivation to attain my goal.
Now let’s say that I miss my goal for the end of year one. Is all hope lost? Of course not. Setbacks happen. They are a part of life. You just have to stay positive and keep believing. After all, not to sound arrogant, but things always work out for me in the end.
Don Dulin is the founder and main author on Unfinished Success, a personal development website whose goal is to help you be the best you. By making small changes everyday to how you live life, you can live your best life. You can learn more about him here.