Break Free: 8 effective strategies to get out of a rut


Getting out of a rut is about stepping outside of what’s comfortable and into your ‘stretch zone’ instead, says Helen Jane Campbell. She gave us 8 steps to forge a path out of mundanity…

Feeling stuck in a rut can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience, particularly for women navigating the complexities of modern life. Whether it’s in your career, relationships, or personal growth, the sensation of being trapped and unsure of how to move forward can leave you feeling unfulfilled and restless. This stagnation can sap your energy and enthusiasm, making it difficult to see a clear path ahead. Luckily, Helen Jane Campbell has the following tips to help you break out and find freedom again.

1. Define What You’d Like to Achieve

What does getting out of a rut mean to you? Once you know what you’re aiming for, your journey has begun. Write down your goals. If you’re not sure what success looks like, think about how you feel now versus how you’d like to feel in the future.

2. Use Your Senses

Choose an uplifting track or a scent that helps you feel good. Listen to these tunes and/or smell this scent every time you work on your goal. This helps create a habit, and the association and repetition conjure up a sense of comfort and familiarity, which can be useful when you’re trying to make a change.

3. Track Your Progress

Noticing and reflecting on how far you’ve come can help with momentum, especially if you don’t put too much pressure on yourself to follow a linear journey. Note down your starting point and look at progress over the long term, accepting setbacks. Simply scoring yourself out of ten is a quick and effective daily tool.

4. Involve Others

The support of others who have your best interests at heart can be an important part of getting out of a rut. The encouragement and camaraderie can be really motivating, whether you join a writing group or simply share your journey on social media. Knowing someone is expecting something of us increases the likelihood that we’ll show up, as we don’t wish to let someone else down – and our support can help them to achieve their goals, too.

5. Carve Out Time

If you truly want to get out of a rut, give yourself some specific time in the day or week to work on it. Create a regular meeting with yourself to focus on the change you wish to make. You might have to let go of something else in order to make space for this.

6. Be Playful

If your goal is around moving your body more, this doesn’t have to involve doing things you don’t like. Exploring new and fun activities can be part of the adventure. “I recently tried trapeze lessons, orienteering, and dance in my quest to move my body more,” Campbell explains. “It felt fun and, to me, less like a chore. I kept up the dancing and enjoyed trying the other activities, too.”

7. Grant Permission

Giving ourselves permission to try new things or to stop repeating old patterns can be an important step. Consider writing yourself a permission slip, from you to you.

8. Write a Letter to Your Future Self

Thinking of your future self enjoying the results of your efforts can be a real motivator for making brave changes. “When I run retreats, I encourage my clients to write a letter to themselves, which I then post back to them at a later date. There are apps that will do this for you digitally, too,” adds Campbell.

Helen Jane Campbell is a life coach and the author of Founders, Freelancers & Rebels (Business Expert Press, £27.95). Find her at