The 3-Step Plan For Getting Out of a Rut and Moving Forward

I was stuck. By 22, I had hit rock bottom: so young to be so very unlucky in life. Everything in my world had turned muddy, murky, and broken. I knew my early 20s was not the time to give up and stay in the bottom of the pit, so I had to figure out a way to get back up to the land of the living. After days and days of chocolate binges and Netflix marathons, I realized that waiting around for the day my life would miraculously change was about as likely as winning the lottery.

I needed and wanted to move forward, I just didn’t know how to begin. I thought about it for weeks and then realized this simple truth: moving forward requires movement. Sitting around and waiting kept me stuck. Crossing my fingers in hopes that things would just magically get better was wasting my precious time. So I began “moving” in order to move forward. All my movement started simply and ended pretty fantastically. Here are the three changes I learned can change your life.

Step 1. Move your body

The easiest way to get out from the pit of shame, pain, loss, or even the “blahs” is to move your body. Exercise! When you go to the gym or go to a fitness class, your body naturally begins to release mood-boosting chemicals. Your body gets healthier and more fit which always improves self-confidence. As a bonus, you are around other people. Nothing feeds the difficulties of “rock bottom” more than isolation! I immediately started going to a yoga studio near my house a couple times a week. Within days, I began to feel better and started having conversations with interesting people.

Step 2. Move your brain

Anything that keeps your brain moving stops your brain from constantly sliding back down into negative thoughts. Going back to school put my mind to work and gave me new goals. New goals kept me motivated to wake up each morning and face all the hard things life throws at me. Maybe for you it is reading a book, picking up a new hobby (or maybe an old one!), taking an online class, or even watching every Oscar-winning movie from last year. Just keep your brain revved up and engaged in something besides your own problems. 

Step 3. Move (and shake up) your daily routine

I have always been a regimented and practical person, but I also have the heart of an adventurer. So I decided to let the practicality fall by the wayside for a couple months and began saying “yes” to every vacation or day trip that came my way. I road-tripped with a friend from Vegas to Oregon, I cancelled a summer class to fly to Puerto Rico for a week, I frequently visited nearby beaches and woodsy camping areas. I tried new foods, met new people, and experienced new things. School, bills, and responsibility found me once again, but I will always be appreciative that I took the time to be a wild adventurer. It reminded me that everyday doesn’t have to be the same. Through shaking up my daily routine, I not only found “me” again, I also improved myself. I became stronger, smarter, and more exciting. It is not bad to find ourselves in rock bottom; it’s part of the human experience. But let’s never stay there. Just start moving, and you will undoubtedly start moving forward!

Taylor DuVall is an English major at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a lover of stories found in a good book, song, movie, or chat over tea. She enjoys practicing yoga, strumming the guitar, reading late into the night, and consuming a sinful amount of chocolate. Follow her on Twitter @taylynneduvall.

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