How to Get Out of Any Rut and Stay Inspired

Here are 10 strategies you can use to stay inspired when you feel down. Perhaps they can help you through rough times. I hope you all had a great Christmas spent with those you love :) I've been enjoying every minute of being home. As we gear up for a new year (already?!), sometimes we need a little push to get and stay inspired. Giving us some amazing advice to do so today is blogger Kayla Matthews from Productivity Theory. She's guest posted on the blog before, sharing great tips for getting in the habit of getting up earlier and making time for hobbies while working full time. Check them out!


If you’ve ever found yourself in one of life’s ruts, you know it can be somewhat difficult to bounce back to your normal, happy self. Maybe you’ve just been stressed at work or have been dealing with additional responsibilities in your personal life. Whatever it is, there’s no rut a positive attitude and bit of inspirational material can’t fix!

Here are 10 strategies you can use to stay inspired when you feel down. Perhaps they can help you through those rough times.

1. Replace Bad Thoughts With Good Ones

Every time you catch yourself thinking something negative, replace it with a positive thought. For instance, if you catch yourself ruminating on a mistake you made in the past, stop yourself and replace that thought with “I’m allowed to make mistakes. What’s done is done, and it’s time for me to move forward.”

Keep track of what negative thoughts haunt you the most and develop a list of positive affirmations to counter them. With enough practice, positive thinking will become second nature.

2. Make Positive Lists

Making lists is another great exercise in positive thinking. Once a day or whenever you need a little pick-me-up, challenge yourself to list 10 things you’re grateful for or 10 things you like about yourself.

Having a hard time getting in the habit? Ask a friend to hold you accountable. Make a pact that you’ll text each other something you’re grateful for every day.

3. Set SMART Goals

Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated. Increase your chances of success by setting SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely — goals.

Remember to set both short- and long-term goals. Long-term goals are the big things that keep you inspired, such as graduating from college or buying a house. Focusing on long-term goals alone can be overwhelming, though. Short-term goals — such as going to bed by midnight all week or passing calculus — are the stepping stones that help you achieve those long-term goals.

4. Listen to Music

Music can be a powerful motivating force! Find the music that inspires you, whether it’s hip-hop or movie soundtracks, and use it to get yourself going. Try putting together a playlist to energize yourself as you work toward your goals.

5. Do Something Creative

It’s important to set aside time for creativity. Nurture your inspiration and turn it into something tangible. Regardless of your skill level, creative self-expression is the perfect way to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and into a more shareable form.

Whether you write, draw, craft or code, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment as you look over your own creation after finishing it.

6. Learn a New Skill

Learning new skills can do wonders for your confidence. Pick something that’s fun and interesting to you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try skateboarding, or perhaps you’ve been meaning to pick up a new language or teach yourself to code. Why not start now?

7. Know When to Ask for Help

There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, knowing when and how to ask for help is a valuable skill that everyone should learn!

There’s a common misconception that asking for help takes away from your independence, but that’s just not true. Karley and her service dog, Kaiser, are a perfect example of how getting the help you need can make you more independent, not less.

8. Find a Community

Seek out people who share your struggles. If you’re raising kids alone, join a support group for single parents. If you’re struggling with a chronic disease, find solace in a Facebook group for people who share your illness. Whatever your situation, there are sure to be other people going through something similar.

Learning how your peers deal with their challenges will give you ideas and inspiration for tackling you own. Plus, you’ll have people to confide in when things go awry.

9. Take a Break

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some time to recuperate. Make the most of your lunch breaks, weekends and vacations. Instead of working through your lunch break or sleeping through the weekend, focus on taking care of yourself during your precious free time.

10. Update Your Resume

Even if you’re not planning on applying for a job anytime soon, updating your resume is a great way to remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished. Once you’re done sprucing up your resume, print it out on nice paper and keep it as a reminder of what you’re capable of.

The key to all of these strategies is to make them part of your routine. Don’t just pull them out during your darkest hour — make them into healthy habits and stay inspired for the rest of your life.

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a productivity blogger at ProductivityTheory.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to read all of her latest posts!