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Bust Out of a Rut!

Three ways to mix things up and revive your enthusiasm in your daily routine

Establishing a daily routine can help you squash stress and stay on task. But even when you get your system down to a science, doing the same thing every day can put you at risk of falling into a rut. It’s time to shake things up! Use these strategies to reboot your regimen and see more success than ever before.

Escape a Fitness Funk

The fix: Find the Perfect Workout Partner

If you’ve been cranking out the same sets and reps by yourself for years, enlist a fitness buddy to unlock greater gains. When people in a recent study worked out with new partners, they exercised more—and felt better about their results—than those who chose to break a sweat by themselves. Exercising together is supporting each other in a very tangible manner, say researchers. And that emotional social support leads to more self-esteem.

Halt a Creative Crash

The fix: Seek Inspiration Elsewhere

Work any job long enough and you’re bound to get bored. The trick to not letting your performance and engagement suffer is to find new learning opportunities within your organization. Ask your boss for challenging tasks that fall outside your wheelhouse or sign up for an online course on a site like Lynda that will sharpen your skill set and boost your advancement odds.

Or take another kind of class: improv. The main principle of improvisation—saying “yes, and” to somebody else’s premise, or agreeing with their decision and expanding on it—may help you think of new ways to tackle tricky work problems that seem unsolvable. Daydreaming can work, too. Research shows that intentionally letting your mind wander for a few short minutes helps you tap into your creative thought process.

Stop a Social Slump

The fix: Do Some Good

If your social life has gotten stale, spend your weekend with new friends who need your help. Studies show that people who volunteer at least once a week are happier than those who don’t. That’s because you’ll feel more accomplished, find a sense of purpose and expand your social network. (Plus, volunteering for four hours a week can lower your risk of high blood pressure by 40 percent.)

Looking for a worthy cause? Check out global databases of volunteer opportunities like nationalservice.gov, idealist.org, volunteermatch.org and catchafire.org to find the right fit for you.

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