Everybody has hit a rut from time to time. Any length of professional practice of any activity will result in hitting physical and mental walls. How do we break through those walls? How do we climb out of our ruts? As professionals, we must be capable and aware of recognizing ruts and how to respond to them.

One of the first ways of leaping across the struggles of daily performance is to mix up how you may do things. Mixing up your schedule, figuring out new ways of looking at the same issues, or even integrating new technology into the routine — these are all effective and efficient ways of getting through a tough spot.

Realize in the midst of our professional careers, we are not alone. There have been a multitude of others that have come before us who also have struggled with the same issues. Utilize their experience! Read up from experts who have suffered burnout, been stuck in ruts, and somehow figured their way out of them. Start by reaching out to friends, family, or colleagues, when comfortable, and try to see how they would approach the problem. Recognizing those who have gone before us, and those that go through it with us, is integral in breaking out of ruts.

An outline, game-plan, or goal sheet is another productive way of breaking old habits or worn patterns. It allows you to chart out big ideas and see the whole picture in a way that might have not been seen before. Try putting new ideas into your outlines and see how that changes things. You won’t be able to break out until you’re ready to break in new ideas and thoughts. Take an active effort in seeing things from a new perspective.

Recognize that life works on a spectrum. What you may consider “bad” other individuals consider “great” — it is all relative. Use that relativity as your jumping point across your rut. Start small, and do what you can do at that moment. Take small steps, and steps that you know will lead you to your end-goal, no matter how long it may take. Leaping takes a bit of faith, however, that’s exactly what getting out of a rut takes. A leap of faith.