I didn’t send out a Thought Shrapnel newsletter at the end of May as I’d hardly posted here during the month. There was no particular reason I could fathom for this. I guess I just got stuck in a rut of not-writing-here.

As David Cain points out in this post, ruts are often of our own creation and happen when we relate to a ‘dip’ in mood, luck, or progress. Happily,  I’m back posting here and I’m in the opposite of a rut when it comes to exercise!

Ruts can be years long – that near-decade in which you didn’t touch the piano at all — or just a few days – you ordered out Tuesday instead of cooking, did it again Wednesday, and then again Thursday. Whatever the duration, ruts are temporary dips in our apparent ability to do a thing that’s important to us.

What I’ve noticed about my ruts is that they are mostly my own creation. Something external precipitates them, and something internal sustains them. Bad luck and bad weather are unavoidable, but a long rut can begin, and persist, even when the bad weather itself only lasted a day.

My theory is that ruts are what happen when you experience a dip – in mood, in luck, in progress – and you respond to it in a certain very human way: by doing something that makes you more prone to such dips. A simple example is the common sleep-caffeine spiral. You have a bad sleep for some reason (there was a party next door, or you saw a mouse in the cellar) and the next day you feel tired, and when you feel tired you sometimes have an afternoon coffee. This makes you more prone to more bad sleeps, which makes you more prone to afternoon coffees, and so on. You responded to the dip by doing something that creates more dips. All of this feels perfectly natural as it is happening.

Source: The Rut Principle | Raptitude