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  • Writer's pictureNick Klingensmith

When Things Go Left, Take a Left

Getting out of a rut by getting out of self

Mornings are my time to train. As a competitive obstacle course racer and endurance athlete, training is my release. It centers me and helps me stay connected to my WHY. But not long ago, I suddenly found myself sleeping in and missing workouts.

The stressors of work and life were getting the better of me and I was emotionally and mentally exhausted. I soon became physically exhausted, falling into that old dance with the snooze button.

The wake-up time was too early. The temperature too hot, the air too thick. The miles seemed endless and the weight, insurmountable. My blood sugars were on a rollercoaster like no other. I put so much pressure on myself that everything became overwhelming. I was in a rut and needed to break it.

I needed just one area of my life to be simple. The following morning, I woke up as planned, poured some coffee into a travel mug, put on my weighted GoRuck and went out the door. I rucked 5 miles while drinking coffee and felt like I just hit reset.

The very next day, I resumed my normal training schedule.

Working your way out of a rut is just like overcoming any other obstacle. Only this time the obstacle is YOU. Mental health is a real thing and yours might need some tending to. Rather than trying to ignore it, lean into it.

Start with the little things.

Like that scene in Tin Cup where Romeo has Roy place his change in his left pocket, ties a double knot in his left shoe, turns his hat around backwards and places his tee behind his left ear.

Sometimes the change you need to make is you, even for just a moment.

The little changes add up and ultimately lend you fresh perspective. And that’s all you need to get out of a rut – a fresh perspective.

What else can you do to change your scenery?

Eat something different for breakfast.

Drink coffee with your other hand.

Take a different route to work. Listen to an audiobook or podcast while driving. And if you’re thinking too much, just jam out to some music instead.

Wake up 5 minutes earlier. Or later. Better yet, wake up at an odd time. My most effective wakeup call has been 4:07AM. Not 4:00AM. Not 4:15AM or even 4:10AM. 4:07AM.

The most powerful way to “get out of self” is to focus on helping someone else. Little acts like letting someone out into traffic to lending a helping hand to a friend in need. Just get out of your own head.

If you find yourself paralyzed trying to solve all of the world’s problems at once, try simplifying even just one thing.

If you’ve got 10 goals, prioritize the top 5.

Then identify the 3 most critical.

Then choose 1 – Just 1 – and take action.

Action creates momentum. Momentum is power.

What is just one thing you can do different today?

Who is one person you can help today?

Take a left. Take a right.

Whatever it takes to get out of your own way.

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