The Adult Man is supported by readers. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Life Sucks Man in White Shirt Holding Hands Over Face Blank Background

11 Things Every Guy Should Do When Life Sucks

Writer, runner, meditator. A long time practitioner of personal development and keen reader of anything self-help. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2024
15 min read

Let’s face it. Life sucks sometimes. 

We all go through tough times; periods of our lives where we’re unhappy, unmotivated and unsatisfied. 

Sometimes these phases can last for days. Sometimes they last for months or even years.  

I know how hard these times can be. I’ve gone through several of these periods myself where, for whatever reason, I felt like life just sucked.

For me, the most difficult thing about being stuck in a rut like this, is not knowing when it will end or how to get out of it.

I know how important it is in times like these to know that there are things you can do to get out of rut and get your life back on track. 

Below, I’ve put together 11 things that have helped me in the past. If you’re willing to taking meaningful action, I’m confident they can do the same for you. 

Take a Step Back and Reflect

One of the first things to do when you feel like your life sucks is to take a step back and ask:


Why do you think you’re having such a tough time?

We can only tackle life’s troubles when we have identified what they are. Otherwise we’re lost in a limbo state, not knowing where to go or what to do. Not knowing how to even begin to fix our lives. 

Taking a step back can come in many forms. You might take the week off work and spend some time alone or with family.

You might take a little weekend vacation or you might book a whole month away and go trekking in the mountains.

The important thing about stepping back isn’t what you do or where you go. It’s about giving yourself time to think. Giving your mind a chance to rest and unpack exactly what is going on in your life.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from actor Matthew McConaughey in his speech, The 13 Truths.

He says that he has always taken 21 day breaks where he takes a few weeks out of his busy life and heads into the wilderness alone. He does this to reflect on his life and to make sure he’s on the right path and still happy with who he is.

You might not have any urge to head out into the wild, but take some time to reflect on your life in your own way.

Get Out of Your Head

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Morgan Bogad, MA, LMFT (@holistic_psychotherapy)

You may think this sounds counterintuitive to my first tip, but getting out of your head will help your self-reflection. 

Often your most insightful thoughts will come when your mind is clear. There’s definitely value to logically assessing your life but I’ve found this only takes me so far when I’m trying to sort myself out.

Logical thinking is good for the details. The small things that are important but won’t make enormous changes in your life.

Big picture thinking comes from a deeper and more intuitive resource we all hold. A resource we can tap into with a clear mind and enough time.

That’s why if I need a little break, I go for a walk. When I’m outside among nature with my boots in the dirt, I’m more naturally present and spend less time in my head.

I ground myself into the world around me, which clears cluttered thoughts out of my head. This way I’m able to hear those intuitive, big picture thoughts more clearly.

So get out of your head, even if it’s just for a few hours.

Here’s two things that help me while I’m walking:

  • Look Up. For so much of my life I’d walk with my head down, looking at the ground. Looking up felt so unnatural to me that it immediately made me pay attention. It also allows me to stay present and take in my surroundings. 
  • Feel Your Footsteps. By paying attention to your feet when you walk, you can ground yourself into the present. Just notice how each step feels. 

Accept it and be OK With It

Being in a tough spot, feeling like life sucks, or being stuck in a rut is normal. It happens to all of us, likely many times throughout our lives.

Think about how many people are stuck in a rut right now. Think about how many of those people probably have it worse than you. It happens and it’s OK.

I’ve always been someone who holds myself to a high standard. I’ve also been someone that has been lazy and unmotivated for large parts of my life.

Naturally, these two things have clashed in the past, and when that happened I’d always beat myself up over it. If I was in a rut, feeling like life sucked, then that meant I wasn’t doing any work on myself or anything productive in the world.

My high standard of myself would mentally punish me for this and I’d give myself a tough time. Thing is, that just made me feel worse. It went no way in helping me out of my rough patch.

The real progress and change came when I accepted my situation. I acknowledged the truth of it to myself and others. Before I did this it was like the door to change was locked. I had to acknowledge and accept before I could move forward.

Until this happened it was as if I was blind to all the solutions in front of me. 

So accept your situation. Acknowledge everything you feel is important before trying to move forward. 

Lose the Victim Attitude & Stop Living in the Past

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Serendipity Ranch (@serendipity_ranch)

This alternative to my last tip applies to a different kind of situation but is still good life advice for anyone.

You see, there are two ways in which your life can suck:

  1. Your life actually does suck and you have real reasons to be in a rut.
  2. Your life is actually pretty good, you just think it sucks.

Most of the ruts I’ve found myself in have been courtesy of number 2. For whatever reason I’ve managed to convince myself that I don’t have anything good in my life.

This often happened to me when I was too wrapped up in thought to see the good in my own life. I developed a victim attitude where I thought that everything in my life sucked. Worst of all, I blamed everything else but myself for it. 

I whined and moaned to myself about how crappy life was, about how unhappy I was and unlucky I’d been.

I would often find myself wallowing in some pit of despair thinking why had life been so unkind to me. The harsh reality was that it hadn’t and that I was, frankly, being a bit pathetic. There’s those high standards again.

You see, you might read that and assume I had a tough childhood. Far from it. I had a great childhood. My teens were unhappy but I brought that on myself. I had a good life with many privileges that others didn’t. I just failed to see that.

I lost my victim attitude through a sort of epiphany. I had hit a low point and was having a breakdown. Crying on the street over a girl I barely even knew and a life I thought was so awful.

I was being so ridiculous that I got caught in some kind of reality check and thrown into self-awareness.

I actually began to laugh at myself. It was as if I’d pushed this victim mindset further than part of me would allow. I realized that I was creating my own problems with this victim mentality.

From that day I began to see my life more clearly and was able to practice my next tip.

To help you get fired up to beat the victim mentality, check out this video by Absolute Motivation:

Take Stock

We all have something to be grateful for. No matter how big or small, there are things in our lives we can appreciate.

You might think your life sucks so much right now that there’s nothing that deserves your gratitude. I guarantee you there is. 

We can often lose perspective when we’re in a rut. We may even develop a victim mindset. So many things seem to be going wrong around us that it’s hard to stay positive. And I wouldn’t ask you to.

I’d recommend, however, taking stock of the good in your life. 

Maybe your job sucks at the moment but at least you have a loving family. Perhaps your partner broke up with you but at least you have a great group of friends. Maybe all you have is the shirt on your back but at least you have that shirt.

There’s always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just that you’re living.

Identifying and appreciating these things is a great way to change your perspective on your own life. It’s also a great way to boost your mood and attract more goodness into your life. 

View this post on Instagram

Give Yourself Some Credit

Much like you might look around your life for things to be grateful for, it’s useful to take a moment to give yourself credit for your progress.

You may be stuck in a rut right now but there are likely to be a ton of good achievements in your life that you’re forgetting. 

So often we forget how far we’ve come. To this day I’m still a big culprit of this.

Some days I’ll feel like I’m not making any real progress or achieving anything in my life. It usually takes someone to remind me that, actually, I’ve achieved more than I give myself credit for and I’ve worked hard doing it. 

Realizing this is incredibly motivating. You no longer feel like you’re doing something for nothing because you can look back on your results. On real tangible progress. There’s nothing more motivating than knowing your hard work paid off.

Give yourself the credit you deserve for the work you’ve put in and the progress you’ve made in life.

Learn Your Lessons & Don’t Repeat Your Mistakes

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Vitality Counseling (@vitalitycounselingrgv)

There’s nothing wrong with feeling like life sucks, nor with being in a rut. The problems come when you stay there for too long or keep falling back into the same trap.

You’re in that rut for a reason. Unless you’ve suffered in a serious way—like losing a loved one for example—then somewhere along the line you’ve slipped up. You’ve made a mistake or failed to grow and evolve.

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human and the only way we learn.

It seems to me that most of my ruts have come when I stagnate. I miss the lesson the world is trying to teach me and I keep tripping over the same obstacle. I stop growing and seem to get stuck.

Though when I come out the other end of a time like this, it’s always because I’ve learned something about life or about myself.

Make mistakes and learn life’s lessons. You’ll keep moving forward as long as you do so. Just try not to make the same mistake twice. 

Realize That Rock Bottom is a Blessing in Disguise

There’s only one way to go from rock bottom. Up.

Rock bottom may be one of the toughest places you’ll visit in life but it still has its upsides.

First of all, you’ve stopped falling. Things can’t get any worse because you’re at rock bottom. This realization brings a certain sense of relief. At least that part of your journey is over.

With nowhere else to go, the odds are suddenly stacked in your favor. Nothing stays the same forever. Impermanence is the only permanent thing in life. So with things bound to change, your life is about to get better. It can’t get any worse.

The other upside of being at rock bottom is that it can be seriously motivating. You might not feel much motivation to change your life after one bad day. Though, after one bad year you’re likely to have more desire for change.

Sometimes rock bottom is the only way we will listen to the world as it tries to tell us something isn’t right. That we need a change in lives and in ourselves. 

If that change goes on to bring you greater joy, love, happiness and success, isn’t rock bottom one of the biggest blessings of your life?

Make a Plan, Take Things Day by Day, & Set Small Goals

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Crown Jonathan Victor (@crown_jonathan)

So, you’ve taken a break, done some reflecting on what went wrong and taken stock of the good in your life. Now you need a plan.

There comes a point in every rut where you’re ready to get out of it. You’re ready to move on and move forward.

This is often a time full of energy, inspiration, motivation and desire. Things are feeling good and you’re eager to get things going again. This positivity can be powerful but without a plan in place this newfound drive and desire is often left a little loose.

When I came out of one of my more recent ruts a few years ago, I had all the good feelings and all of the excitement but no plan. I had vague ideas of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be but no plan to really reign those ideas into reality.

I just had one big end goal in my mind. 

Don’t get me wrong, you need that one big goal. But because that’s all I had, I could see no way of achieving it. 

At first, sheer belief powered me on. But without smaller steps to take towards my dreams, it quickly felt like I was making no progress. Once again I had no real direction and I lost my motivation.

Though, when I started making long term plans that were broken down into smaller, more achievable goals, I actually started to get somewhere.

I find that plans/goals like this work well in three ways:

  1. They focus your mind and give you clear direction. This way all that positive power you feel at the end of rut will pull together in the same direction.
  2. They focus your mind and give you clear direction. This way all that positive power you feel at the end of rut will pull together in the same direction.
  3. They focus your mind and give you clear direction. This way all that positive power you feel at the end of rut will pull together in the same direction.

Ultimately, it’s each small thing achieved in a single day that will turn you into the person you want to be. You’re better off focusing on each day rather than the finish line.

Take Responsibility

Whatever stage of a rut your in, it’s important to take responsibility for it. Not for all the bad things that have happened to you but for your own happiness.

Ultimately you’re the only one responsible for that and realizing this is incredibly powerful. 

After I dumped my victim attitude I accepted responsibility for my own life. This meant a deep rooted acceptance that I was responsible for my career, love life, happiness—all of it.

You may think that sounds like a lot of pressure, but it’s actually quite freeing. As a victim I never felt in control. As someone standing up and taking responsibility, the control was with me. 

Taking responsibility for your life is about taking control of your life.

With this control you can choose your direction. Knowing that your fate is in your own hands turns out to be a great comfort. You give yourself the credit you deserve for your victories and know that you can overcome your failures if you choose to do so.

Turn the Page

When it’s all said and done, when you’re coming to the end of a chapter in your life, good or bad, turn the page. Close that chapter and start a new one.

You might find that the reason you’re trapped in a rut is that you’re still stuck in the last chapter of your life, refusing to move on. This could be out of reluctance or fear, though whatever the reason, stagnating in the same chapter will stifle you.

Starting a fresh chapter can be scary. True change often is. It can at times seem impossible or overly complicated. In reality and in hindsight, it’s quite simple. Like ripping off a band-aid. It is something that just has to be decided and done.

You need to take action to turn that page, to shake up your life and make a change. 

So no matter how much your life sucks right now, how awful this chapter has been. There’s another one on the horizon. A fresh new start waiting for you to accept it and move on.

Don’t stagnate. Turn the page, take action and keep moving.

These are the lessons I’ve learned through overcoming several ruts. I hope they’ll be of some value to you.

There’s always a way out and simply knowing that there are things you can do is empowering.

For more tips on self-improvement, check out my previous article: How to Get Your Life Together: 20 No BS Tips for Men.