Help, I’m Stuck in a Rut: Planning for Change

You feel stuck. Every day feels the same and you have a distinct impression that you’re not supposed to be here. You’re not quite sure how you got here and you’re worried that you’ll never break free from the dull routine that your life has become. Does this sound familiar? It’s a common sensation, one that plagues all people at some point in their lives. Do not be fooled, the constant of life is not stagnation; it’s change.

Though it may not seem so, every day you wake up a different person than the person of the day before. Change is so normal that these little daily upsets in habit go completely unnoticed. Yet they are there, proof that each day is brimming with the potential to break the routine. The trick is to actively pursue change, to harness it and make it work for you, a weapon you can use to fight against monotony. Just as in any major battle, the first thing you need is a plan.

A personal development plan is a structured way to sketch out your attack on routine. By asking the right questions and considering every aspect of your life that you want to improve, you have a template with which to start the journey to a significantly different you.

The three main questions to consider when creating a personal development plan are:

  1. What is currently making me feel stagnate?
  2. What do I want to achieve?
  3. How do I make the change?

Answering the first question may seem difficult. Perhaps you think you know what is causing your dissatisfaction – a simple problem such as “I don’t like my job” or “I feel disorganized.” That simple problem may be covering up a deeper frustration. For instance, discontentment at a job could be hiding frustration with your current career path, which means changing small things about your job will not be enough to rid you of dissatisfaction. Take the time to consider the first question thoughtfully. Be honest, even if your answers feel disruptive. Change will not happen if you do not admit what really makes you unhappy.

Next, think about what you want to achieve. List everything you can think of, even things that seem impossible. Let go of your inhibitions and revel in your desires. Just considering a different life will excite you about the changes you want to make.

Finally, look at the list. Choose three to five items from your list that will make you feel truly fulfilled. Write each item on a separate piece of paper. Consider what you must accomplish to achieve your goal. For example, if you want to “be healthier,” think of your strengths and weaknesses in the area of health and write down what you need to improve to make that reality, for instance, eating better foods, exercising regularly or taking vitamins regularly. This becomes your list of goals, individual achievements that you must complete before the dream becomes a reality.

Are you ready to start creating your plan?