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In a Rut? Here’s How to Get Out Of It

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Ever noticed how at the beginning of a semester, you feel motivated and ready to learn new information? But as the semester goes on, you begin to get tired and feel unproductive? Do you start to grow frustrated with yourself?

Where did that vigor go? Where did that motivation go? If you can relate, it looks like you’re in a rut.

What does it mean to be in a rut? According to the dictionary, it’s a state of being “in a settled or established habit or course of action, especially a boring one […] This expression alludes to having a wheel stuck in a groove in the road.”

If you’re in a rut and desperately want to get back to smooth roads again, here are some tips and steps that you can try!


Before doing anything it’s important to acknowledge and accept what you are feeling. If you deny the situation, you’ll only end up in the rut longer.

You’re in a rut, and that’s OK! It’s important to have compassion for yourself.

Blaming yourself won’t make you feel better. Instead, focus your energy on being kind to yourself and on the goal of moving forward.

Remember, ruts don’t last forever unless you decide they to.

Look at your goals

There’s nothing wrong with having big goals for your life. It gives us a sense of purpose and motivation to keep going.

However, if you have too many unattainable goals right now, you might find yourself failing to achieve them. This may leave you feeling frustrated with yourself and more stressed out.

Try shifting your focus to your goals and find out if you can realistically achieve them. There’s nothing wrong with taking your goals down a notch, and this doesn’t mean that should give up your bigger goals either. While it always feels good to achieve something great, they take time to come to fruition.

Remember, time continues to move forward. If you work for it, no matter how small the step is, you will eventually reach the top.

be more spontaneous

At the beginning of a new semester, we get new schedules, different classes and sometimes new professors. However, as the semester goes on, it becomes routine.

While it’s comforting to be in a predictable groove, sometimes it can be one of the factors that can lead to a rut. Ever feel like every week starts to feel monotonous and dull? This feeling may make us feel tired and unmotivated to do work.

If this sounds like you, try spicing things up a bit.

Here are some spontaneous actions you can try to get you started:

  • Say “yes” to outings with friends
  • Go to that club meeting or activity you’ve been meaning to go to or join a club
  • Check out an area in your neighborhood you haven’t been to before
Let go of perfection

While it’s admirable to have a strong work ethic, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s OK to make mistakes. In fact, it’s important to make mistakes so that we can grow and improve. Sometimes having high expectations and standards for yourself can lead to self-sabotage.

If we’re too focused on perfection, it prevents us from getting things done. It only builds up feelings of anxiety and disappointment when things go wrong.

Instead, try focusing your energy on getting things done. Even if it’s not your most ideal work, it’s OK. Complete it and move on.

Practice Self-care

It’s important to remember to check-in with ourselves occasionally. Self-care is meant to help us boost our energy levels as well as refresh our body and mind. It can leave us in a better state of mind and make us feel more capable of reworking our routines in a way that will help us decrease our stress levels.

Self-care can be…

  • Mindless relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Spend time with friends or family
  • Talking with someone you trust
  • Pampering
Hello! I'm currently a senior at PSU Bellisario College of Communications as an Advertising major. I hope to use my experience and skills to help build trustworthy and mutually beneficial relationships between people while also creating a sense of community and bringing people together. Some of my hobbies include drawing, photography, listening to music, spending time with friends and reading a good book.