Why we struggle to lift ourselves out of a rut.

Jan at river - 1

Why we struggle to lift ourselves out of a rut.

We’ve all been there, right?

Life seems to be humming along so smoothly and then BAM, we get derailed…

Sometimes we see it coming, sometimes we don’t, but we know how it feels when it happens.

Suddenly our energy is drained, it gets harder to get out of bed in the morning, all we want to do is eat chips, and we can’t seem to find our way out of a paper bag.

Sound familiar???

Well, if you are human, like me, I would imagine that you just said: YES.

Well, recently, this was me.  Typically I am FULL of life and energy during the summer as it is my favorite time of year, but this year, I found myself struggling…

“What the SHREK is going on with you, Jan?” I kept asking myself.

WHY are you being such a SLUG?”


Nice way to talk to myself, huh?

(And as a coach, you know that I would NEVER tolerate one of my clients talking to themselves this way… so the “practice what you preach” blog post will be earmarked for another time, wink)

So I kept pushing through the days…

And as I tried to “get my butt in gear” I started making lists of things that I hadn’t gotten done, either in my house or with my business.

I started writing down all of these things that I thought I HAD to do (none of which I wanted to do.)

And here’s the thing…

None of them were extremely urgent, or critical, because if they were, I would have gotten them done… rather, they were things related to my business that I’m not really good at, or projects in my house that frankly, weren’t even realistically going to happen during the summer.

So what was I doing?


I was setting myself up to STAY in my rut as, day after day, I put expectations on myself to do stuff that: a) I don’t like, b) I’m not that good at, and c) may not even have been realistic.

So, what happened?

I didn’t do ANY of it.

And day after day I would feel guilty about it.

And I STAYED in my rut.

It’s a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, right?


So first I had to uncover what was really going on with me and why I was so drained during a time of year that I am normally my most lively…

[You can check out my videos about learning and healing from pain: Part One and Part Two as I uncovered what was going on with me.]

… and once I got to the root of why I was feeling so low, I had a moment of CLARITY… and it was this:

I was focusing on all the wrong things.

I was KEEPING myself in my rut.

Maybe it felt safe there… maybe it kept me from facing what was causing my pain…

Whatever the reason, I wanted OUT.

So I headed down the the river, as I always do when I need to clear my head, and I thought about this cycle of: setting myself up to do things I didn’t want to do, procrastinating and not doing them, and then feeling guilty about it.  Wake up and repeat!

Wow, how am I going to get myself out of this?

I thought about when I start working with a new client who has not exercised in a long time, or who tells me they don’t like to exercise… my first question is always: well, what form of movement do you enjoy most?

Everyone always has an answer to this, whether it be dancing or walking or hiking.  So we always start there.  We focus on what they DO enjoy to get the ball rolling.


It was time for me to start focusing my days on the stuff that I LOVE doing and the stuff that I’m REALLY good at!  (Hmmm… seems I need to jump on that “Practice what you Preach” blog)

So I did.

I scrapped my to do list with all the stuff weighing me down and keeping me in my rut and I thought about how much I love being CREATIVE and HUMOROUS and CONNECTING with people.  And I focused on THAT.

I did the things that bring me JOY.

…It’s been several weeks since this revelation, and I’m happy to report that not only do I feel that I’ve pulled myself out of my rut, but I’ve learned an incredible life lesson that I will be tucking away for future use.

When you are struggling, focus on what you are GOOD at and what you LOVE doing.

Doing this lifted my spirits, brought me back to my energy, and you know what?  Two of the things that had been DOGGING me on my to do list, are now done.  Once I was able to identify why my energy was drained, re-engage in work that motivated me, I was able to fit in those seemingly tedious things that really weren’t such a big deal in the first place.  Rather, they were a symptom of my state of mind.

So here’s the lesson for you… 

And you can apply this to any situation in your life, be it exercise, how you are eating, how you engage in your relationships, your work… you name it…

If you find yourself in a rut, ask yourself:

1. What am I focusing on RIGHT now?  Is it stuff I dread or enjoy?  Choose the JOY.

2. Have you trapped yourself in a circle of procrastination with stuff you don’t like doing?  Clear your list.  Get some good stuff on there.  Feel the WINS and move on.

3. Figure out what is draining your energy.  It might be something you don’t even realize.  Give yourself time to REFLECT so that you can see the bigger picture.  Try to “observe” yourself as if you are on the outside looking in and get out of your own head to achieve some clarity.

I hope this helps….

And if you want to check out more, here’s the video series that helped me uncover what was draining my energy:

Part One: Learning from Pain

Part Two: Learning to heal from Pain

Would love to hear from YOU!

Please share your thoughts, comments, and questions… as remember, we are all in on this together!


  1. Mom

    Yes Jan…I keep remembering, “make small changes.” It makes such a difference. Then I add some JOY into it. Makes me feel so good. 🙂

  2. Laura Imperatore

    Great post, Jan!! I really appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your experiences. It’s always reassuring to know “I’m not alone.” Glad you are feeling better!

    1. Jan Taylor

      Thank you, Laura! Honestly, in addition to sharing these stories and feeling better myself, the true joy has come through comments like yours… helping others to feel a bit of comfort and a little less alone… after all, we really are all in this together.

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