Stevie took me to out west for my birthday this year, and we went hiking in Zion National Park. It’s an amazing place. You totally should go.
We have been in the process of adopting Thomas, our little eight-year-old Tom Sawyer, and just the day-to-day of it can sometimes feel overwhelming. He’s dealing with a lot of issues and we’re trying to help him process through that, plus everything else in normal life. I felt like Stevie and I needed to get away.
I wanted to do this one certain hike. If you look up Zion National Park, you probably will see the shot of Observation Point. That was the hike I wanted to do, but in order to do that hike, you have to drive all the way through the park, exit out the other side of the park, and then enter, from the East side.
We had rented a car, and when we got out of the park, we started to notice the roads were not very good. We drove a little further and it was starting to be covered in snow. We were in a four-wheel drive, so we thought we’d be all right.
By the time we did the hike, it was amazing by the way and I highly recommend it, it had warmed up quite a bit. A lot of the snow that was on the road was now melted and muddy and slushy.
We got stuck in the worst little mud hole. It was deep, deep rut! Stevie would try to go really fast and couldn’t get out. He would try going a different route and couldn’t get out.
Of course, any of you other wives out there like to tell your husbands how they should navigate in the mountains, in the muddy snow? That’s what I was doing!
I bet we tried 20 different times to get out before were successful. You know how when you’re in a deep rut like that, your tires just keep finding the same groove? It felt like no matter what angle we took, we just found the same groove.
But I’m always looking for object lessons in my life, so I was thinking to myself, this whole trip has been kind of a way for us to get out of a rut. You know how sometimes you get in a rut in your marriage, and you say the same things to each other at the same time of day, and you’re in the same mood. You just need to get out of the confines of your normal life.
What happened to us on that trip is we just saw each other differently. I didn’t realize he was so cute! You’re in a new setting, in new surroundings, and you just start to see your whole life differently. You start to see your relationship differently. It was really amazing.
We have to take ownership for where we are.
We have to own it. It’s so easy to blame. We could say it’s because we’re adopting a child that we got disconnected and in a rut, or it’s because we have a big busy family. It’s so easy to make excuses.
The only way you can get yourself out of a rut is to take ownership for it and say, “Here’s where we are.” Not in a way where you’re beating yourself up, but just in a productive way, where you take ownership.
Once you take ownership of something, you can change it.
If you’re blaming some other person or some other circumstances for your it, you have to wait for them to change in order to get out of your rut. Taking responsibility is really important.
A rut is a well worn path. The same thing that can happen on muddy roads in the mountains, happens in our brains all the time. We form ruts in our brains and they become our default thinking.
Change your thoughts.
You have to recognize that you’re stuck. You feel stuck because you’re back to a thinking pattern that’s not great. You’re in a negative thinking pattern. Your brain has thought this way for so long that it’s really easy for your brain to just keep thinking those same thoughts.
Ruts are really ruts in your thoughts.
It’s really a rut in your brain that’s so easy for us to slip back into. I know that sounds too simple. When we feel stuck and we’re back in this familiar, annoying, negative cycle, we have to decide.
I have the choice to think this way or not.
I have this choice to think this way about my marriage.
I have a choice to think this way about my own life.
I have a choice to think this way about my job.
You get to decide, so be willing to at least entertain the idea that this is a rut of thinking. You’re in a thinking rut, and it will be a lot easier for you to change it when you acknowledge you have agency over this. This is something you can change.
For you, what is that negative pattern? I’m never going to do the thing that I said I was going to do.
I’m always going to have this self doubt.
I’m always going to be self-sufficient.
I’m always going to struggle with money.
I’m always going to struggle with my weight.
If you find yourself there right now, the amazing thing is that when you change your thoughts you change your feelings. A lot of times when we feel stuck, it’s because we are stuck in our emotions. We won’t allow ourselves to feel what we feel and let the emotions run through us, and so we feel stuck.
When we decide to think differently, we can change the way we feel. It’s within our power to change our feelings just by changing our thoughts. That to me, is magical.
Let’s say you’re in a rut of not exercising and then struggling with energy all day. Then you get into this pattern where then you don’t eat as well. Am I reading anybody’s email? You just get in this pattern. That is a pattern that’s caused by that pattern of thinking. When you change that pattern of thinking, you will have more energy because you will create it for yourself. And so I love this powerful way that we can just change our thoughts and feelings, and then all of the sudden, we’re already beginning to come out of it.
Change your actions.
As the saying goes, doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity. We do this all the time.
We do this in our relationships. We wonder why we feel stagnant or stuck in our relationships, but then we just do the same things day in and day out. We think the same things, we show up in the same way. Then we wonder why we don’t get different results.
If we want to get different results, we can change our actions. A lot of times, changing your thoughts, which will change your feelings, will often motivate better actions. I dare you to just go ahead and change your actions first. Just decide what you want to do and do it. Decide that it’s going to be different than the thing that keeps you in the rut or keeps you stuck.
Change your environment.
This is why I loved this trip so much. This trip was a different environment and a different way of seeing things. Who are we as a couple in this environment? Maybe it’s different than the roles that we often assume at home by default.
Changing your environment can really make a difference.
Maybe you go out for a date night. Maybe you make a habit of hiking together. Maybe, if it’s for your business, you change the way you’re doing it. You change the space that you work in.
Change your state.
Really decide that you don’t want to stay stuck in these patterns. Have you ever had this feeling that you’re just living the same day over and over again? You know why you do that? Because you have the same thoughts over and over and over, which create the same feelings over and over. Then we feel like, “Oh my gosh, this is terrible. I feel stuck. I feel stagnant.”
This is all within our control.
I want to challenge you in all kinds of different ways to ask yourself, how you can change this up? How can you strive for something, like some kind of new goal, or some kind of new thing that you want to try? How can I change my state?
By changing what you’re doing and by changing who you’re around, you will change your state.
Maybe you need somebody fresh in your life. Maybe you need a new friend. Maybe you need to join a program. Hire a coach.
We just closed life mentoring school, but if you’ve never had somebody that you were accountable to, somebody who was your mentor, I highly recommend it. (Click here to get on the waiting list!)
I do it all the time. I just hired somebody to help me with my webinar stuff, and I’m so excited about it! I was feeling really stuck with how I was going to do it, kind of in the same pattern of thinking, “I’ll never get this off the ground. Oh my gosh, this is taking forever. This feels so hard.” I decided to get some help with it, and now I’m really excited about it again.
How can you change the state that you’re in by changing all of these other things and deciding you don’t have to live the same day over and over and over again?
When we’re really living into our gifts, and living into the purpose for which God made us, we don’t get stuck as often. We have this goal, this thing that we’re trying to make better, this thing that we’re working on, and it keeps us from just going into that rut that it’s so easy for us to go into.
We don’t go into those ruts because we have this vision of what our life could be!