Stephanie Shares 8 Steps to Getting Out of a Rut

Getting out of a rut means making a hard turn, whether it’s on the road, in your life, or a room in your house that’s driving you crazy. For inspiration, I’ve drawn upon the model created by Dr. John Kotter, a Harvard Professor who studied driving change in businesses, and I’m applying that to getting out of a rut in your home. The same lessons for change in any organization apply to us in our living environments. 

Step 1: Create Urgency

Nothing gets done until you make a decision. I was recently confronted by a rut in my bedroom. I realized that the anchor piece in my bedroom, a large bed with an imposing headboard was dominating my bedroom and it had to go. I called a friend and told her I was giving my bed away, and I wanted her to come and take it. At that moment, I became committed to change. 

Pro Tip: Don’t let fear stand in your way. You can’t accessorize your way out of a rut. 

Step 2: Form an Opinion

This is the time when you need to step back and take a psychological inventory. If you are in a rut, a limiting belief of some kind is keeping you there. In the case of my bedroom, I had a limiting vision of what a headboard was. I began the process of looking at inspiration rooms. I finally found my inspiration – the piece that broke me out of my rut. The inspiration room had a headboard that was built out of a room divider screen. It was twice the size vertically of any headboard I’d ever seen. It went practically from floor to ceiling and made the room feel twice as big. I knew I needed to find my version of that vision.

Pro Tip: Be imaginative. You have take risks to get out of a rut. 

Step 3: Create a Foundation for Change 

Now that I found the inspiration for my vision, it was time to build the foundation. The first thing I needed to find was my room divider screen. Then I laid eyes on it: it was an organic woven screen. It reminded me of Bali, and I knew I’d found my anchor piece. I knew the look I was after was rustic and organic with lots of texture. I loved my existing pendant lights, so I’d build around them. I found an intricately carved table in a washed wood that I converted into a vanity. Finally, I found a beautiful woven rug that brought the colors of the inspiration screen and the vanity and formed the base of my color palette and added texture against the wood floors.

Pro Tip: Find an anchoring piece within your color palette. 

Step 4: Communicate the Vision

With the basic elements of my transformational room in place, I was ready to paint the full picture of the vision. I selected bedding, throw pillows and blankets, poufs, and a couple pieces of art that would bring in the textures and colors I had envisioned.

Pro Tip: If it doesn’t speak to you, it doesn’t belong. 

Step 5: Remove Obstacles

Now that I had the elements of my masterpiece in hand, I had to clear the canvas. I emptied my room of everything. With the giant bed and everything else that held me in the rut out of the room I was free to create. I also waited for a time when I could create undisturbed. I cleared my calendar, and most importantly made sure my husband would be occupied.

Pro Tip: Give yourself permission to be creative. 

Step 6: Create Short-Term Wins

The first thing to do was to get the screen installed. Once that was on the wall, I was able to see it. The room was completely transformed. Once I laid the mattresses next to it and put my bed together, the focal point was in place. I could tell something was missing. So I went shopping in my own house. I found the perfect height and texture of a bench, but I hated the color. I went into my store of textiles and found the perfect coral throw to complete the picture. Magnificent! I was ready to move on. I laid the rug down, then went to work on the vanity area. I had to find lighting, art and the perfect accent chair. Once again, I was able to harvest several pieces from other rooms in my home. I worked one on vignette at a time until all the focal points were in place.

Pro Tip: Go shopping in your own house. 

Step 7: Build on the Change

With everything in place it was time add the final touches, the diamond earrings against the perfect black dress. With my rustic, organic theme in mind, I went in search of plants and accessories that would complete my design. I set off on my final shopping spree, carefully selecting plants, succulents, baskets, a set of vintage antlers and a handmade macrame wall hanging. It was as though I was signing my work of art. I opened the blinds, added some candles and turned on the lights. As I stood back from it, I realized I’d done it. I was out of my rut!

Pro Tip: Don’t overaccesorize. 

Step 8: Anchor the Changes with Celebration

Now that I’d fixed the rut in my bedroom, I realized that my despair in my bedroom had spread to my bathroom and my closet. These weren’t rooms that needed a full makeover, but in order to realize the full impact, I needed to clear my surroundings to experience the full joy. This wasn’t just about change, this was about lifestyle. So I took the final step by taking out the trash. Now I was fully ready to enjoy the end result. I poured myself a glass of bubbly, stood back to admire my work and toasted myself for a job well done!

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