Posts Tagged ‘stuck in a rut’

Stuck in a Rut? Lifestyle changes #1: Where are you now?

June 11, 2014

Stuck in a Rut

I’ve been doing a lot of corporate work recently on culture change. Companies, it seems, are increasingly realising that ‘the way it is’ doesn’t have to be ‘the way it is’, and that steps can be taken, in time, to turn it into ‘the way you want it to be’…or at least, something close to that.

The whole corporate process has had me thinking about our PERSONAL environment, and the extent to which we accept our circumstances and lifestyle as just the way it is, and the extent to which we can do something about it.

Or, in short, do we recognise when we’re ‘in a rut’ and are we prepared to DO something about it and get out?

This is the first of a three part mini-series where I’ll be looking at ‘Where, Why and What?’ : ‘Where are you now?’, ‘Why are you here?’ And ‘What’s your destination?’

In this first ‘episode’, I’m going to be inviting you to consider where you are now.  And as always, I’m speaking as much to myself as to anyone else here.

 

Where are you now? Actually?

Take a look around. Where are you? I don’t necessarily mean ‘in the office’, ‘in my kitchen’ or whatever, I mean where are you REALLY, in terms of your lifestyle, and is it where you want to be?

It’s actually quite a difficult question to answer, particularly if you bear in mind that you’re not where you tell other people you are…you’re where you actually are.

What do I mean by that? Well, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing your own hype sometimes – maintaining a persona and an image that might not accurately reflect what’s going on in your life.

So…where are you?

 

The ‘boiling frog’

Most of you will have heard the urban myth about the boiling frog.

Rumour has it that if you put a frog in boiling water (don’t try this at home, folks!) it will leap out immediately, as the water’s too hot. However, apparently if you put the frog in a pan of cold water and bring it to the boil the frog will remain in the pan as the water gradually gets hotter, and will eventually boil to death (grim, eh?)

Whether or not this is true is neither here nor there. The point is that so many of us find ourselves like the frog in the gradually warming pan of water – we don’t realise what’s going on until it’s too late. The gradual evolution of a lacklustre lifestyle or poor habit has taken us unawares.

We might wake up one day and think “Hang on, how on earth did I get HERE?”

Or we might not. We might just chunter on, oblivious.

So where are you?

Which aspects of your life are you happy with….and which have you let slip, possibly without realising?

What did you used to enjoy doing, that you don’t do now?

What are you not doing that you know you really SHOULD be doing?

….What excuses are you making for not doing those things?

 

My mum’s a bit deaf…

Bizarre though it is, my mother’s unacknowledged deafness is also relevant here. She’s in her 70s, and although she really IS getting hard of hearing (answering a totally different question to the one that’s been asked, not hearing something until the 3rd or 4th repetition etc etc) she steadfastly refuses to admit that she has a problem.

Claiming that the doctor has told her that she’s fine “as long as people are looking directly at her and speaking clearly” (which I find hard to believe, quite frankly) in her mind, it’s everyone else’s problem: we ought to be speaking louder, more clearly …and my husband ought to do something about his Scottish accent.

There are two things to consider here. The thing is, if my mum had experienced this level of hearing loss overnight, she’d have been worried and addressed the issue.

The fact that it’s happened gradually over the years (not unlike the boiling frog) means that she’s barely recognised the incremental loss of hearing. It’s crept up on her.

The second thing is that according to her, if everyone else modifies their behaviour it would be fine.

Now it has to be said here that she may have a point – maybe it IS everyone else’s problem – we‘re the ones after all who get frustrated at having to repeat things and consistently talk in a voice several decibels louder than normal.

However, the fact is she IS missing out – we see her not taking part in a conversation that she would have taken an active part in in the past, not laughing along with everyone else at a joke, getting upset when her grandchildren give up trying to communicate with her because they know she won’t hear them. We see her, and we wonder WHY she won’t just go and get a hearing aid.

What are you in denial about?

And are you telling yourself that everything’s actually fine, despite evidence to the contrary?

Are you telling yourself that if everyone else would change (and they won’t, by the way), things would be just peachy?

….What factors are you writing off as other people’s fault or problem, when it’s actually YOUR responsibility to address them?

 

“I wasted the weekend”

One of the people on the village pub quiz team I’m part of is a keen hill walker. A few weeks ago he had said he was going to climb a particular mountain. When I asked the following week how his walk had been, he said that he’d not got out of bed early enough, and had ended up “wasting the weekend.”

This ‘waste’ appears to have involved doing a bit of gardening and generally pottering around.

Now, to many of us, that might have appeared a reasonably productive weekend – at least he’d managed to make some headway with the weeding.

However, it wasn’t what he’d planned to do. He was doing something…but not what he wanted.

Lifestyle is as much about what we don’t do as what we do. Wasting a weekend once in a while isn’t a life changing fiasco. But wasting EVERY weekend, and not being mindful about what you’re doing with your time IS. It’s the sort of hidden waste that can catch you unawares.

So…what are YOU wasting? Time? Money? Relationships?

What have you said you’d do that you just haven’t got round to?

Where’s your energy being spent?

…Where, on what, and on whom is it being wasted?

 

Next time we’ll have a look at WHY you’re where you are. Some of the answers might surprise you.