5 Ways To Know You Are In The Rut.

As I said in the previous post of this series, falling into a Rut is extremely easy, but one is often well into the rut once they realize some form of change needs to occur. This list assumes that you have goals, not dreams, but goals. If you don’t have any goals then there really is no way you can be in a Rut. However, sometimes the goal is something as simple as coming up with goals or figuring out what you want to do. Everyone should have goals, be they health, spiritual, family, educational, financial, etc, everyone should have something they are working towards. No one is perfect, everyone has something they could work on, and thus everyone is susceptible to falling into the Rut. This list is definitely geared more towards people in my generation, thus I am mainly talking to 20 something professionals, however I welcome any other additions to this list to be added in the comments section, any additions, that don’t overlap will be appended to the list. Also, if you don’t want to leave a comment, additions can be emailed to M.Wanzer@IsIt5Oclock.com.

  1. You can talk more about the new season of Entourage, True Blood, ANTM, or any other great TV show of our generation, more than you can talk about progress on one of your goals. I have begun to realize more and more that television is one of the major inhibitors to success and building wealth and independence. Americans spend an average of 151 hours a month watching television, which equates to about 5 hours a day. When you consider that we spend 8 hours a day at work, maybe 2 hours commuting and at least 6 hours sleeping, that average of 5 hours that Americans spend on TV can be greatly used to achieve goals.
  2. You gradually notice that your pants are getting tighter and tighter, and you especially feel that tightness around your waist when you sit down. No, the pants aren’t shrinking; you are getting fat, no mystery or conspiracy about it. It’s not because you washed the pants the wrong way all of the sudden, or any other excuse you would love to believe. The nature of today’s modern workplace is not conducive to physical fitness at all; and physical fitness and health is a goal that EVERYONE should have, especially the way the healthcare system works in America. Not only can lacking physical health be bad for the obvious reasons, most people do not realize that health problems and the shortcomings of our health care system can often lead to financial ruin. A Harvard study found that 50% of all bankruptcy proceedings were partly the result of medical expenses. Remaining in good health is no longer just a necessity for a physically healthy life; it is also a necessity for a financially healthy life.
  3. You have noticed that you seem to know more about your friends’ trips, dates, etc through the use of twitter and Facebook, flikr and MySpace (for the online uncivilized) than you do about the steps necessary to achieve whatever goal has been burning a hole in the depths of your mind. Let’s face it, in today’s connected world it is too easy to find out about the interesting stuff going on in other peoples lives then about making our own lives more interesting and fruitful. While it is true that these social services that I mentioned above are a lot of fun, and I definitely would not advocate completely giving them up, we do tend to spend a tremendous amount of time on these services that could be used to advancing our progress on goals.
  4. You have unopened mail that is over 3 months old. You’re in The Rut, I know this sounds small but its not. This says a lot about how organized you are, a lack of organization can be a key indicator that one is in The Rut. Get off your ass, and clean that desk off. While it is possible to be productive and lack order, it is a lot easier to be productive when you are organized and on top of what needs to be done.
  5. You are always wondering where your money is going. You are in the financial facet of The Rut. This is a problem that many young professionals have. For the first time in your life you are making a steady paycheck, you may be paying rent, and other bills, going out and having fun, but you still feel like you have no money and you may be living check to check. This is the result of one of two things: One, you are living beyond your means, or Two, you are not paying attention to how you spend your money. Living beyond your means is a hard one to conquer because it is based on your circumstances and current streams of income. The only way to get over living beyond your means is to reduce your expenses or make more money; there really is no other way.
    Not paying attention to your money is something completely different than living beyond your means. Not paying attention to your money occurs usually when you are spending too much money when you go out, frequently eating out, buying one to many drinks at the bar, going on one to many shopping sprees, etc. Chances are, if you feel like you could be more productive with your money, you are probably right. This needs to be tackled early on, as I have set before continuous bad habits are hard to break, start breaking this habit before the hole you are digging for yourself is too deep.