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How to get out of a mystery shopping rut

Many mystery shoppers may find it hard to get back into their regular routines after a relaxing summer. Whether it's reconnecting with a mystery shopping company, picking up gigs on a route home from school or finding ways to make back some of the money already spent on fall trends, getting started is typically the hardest part.

Set goals
Psychology Today recommends that those who feel stuck should simply make a list of goals. The catch is that each goal has to be within reach. Autumn is a period of transition, so don't try to tackle everything at once. A goal can be as simple as completing one shop this week or one shop next month. Just be sure to keep it realistic – it will feel less daunting. Remember to cross each item off the list once you've completed it!

Think actively
Picture your ideal situation and what is blocking your path to reach it. By visualizing what it is that you want (presumably a steady income from mystery shops) you will subtly begin motivating yourself toward it. Then, identifying obstacles leads naturally into methods of overcoming them. For example, it's easier to build a mystery shopping routine when you look at your schedule and physically pencil in time to complete shops rather than assume it's too full.

Follow intuition
Forbes recommended anyone feeling unmotivated just listen to their gut instincts. When trying to determine what sorts of shops to jump into or designing a mystery shopping plan for the future, really hear what you are saying to yourself. It might sound silly, but if you can't stop thinking about challenging yourself to try a hotel shop, go for it! You are telling yourself from the inside out that it's time to do something new.

Read your fortune
What do you see in your own future? A great way to get out of a rut is to focus on what you want to have accomplished one year from now. Write it down. Tell a friend. Then start working toward the older and wiser version of you. Take small steps, but make each one meaningful.

Take a look at the support system around you. If your family and friends are not involved in the mystery shopping community, find other people that are. Seeing their progress should inspire you to work on your own business and shop skills. Attend mystery shopper conferences or follow online forum discussions. Read a new book on the subject and write a review of it or connect with the author. Invest some time into the people involved with the mystery shopping industry. Be open to learning new tactics or tips.

Get creative
Sometimes, trying out one creative activity jumpstarts another. Taking up a new hobby will stimulate new parts of your brain and open you up to new experiences. The BBC stated that by borrowing ideas from one creative venture and applying it to another, you can increase creativity and subsequently, productivity.

Write something
To get back into the swing of composing reports and writing well, start journaling or logging thoughts you have throughout the day. The simple act of putting pen to paper or typing on the computer can help focus energy on being productive. Also, take some time to review simple grammar rules that always gave you trouble. Brushing up on these skills is important if you haven't been writing much but plan on getting in touch with your mystery shopping company again.

When in doubt, pull yourself out of a rut but just completing a shop. That first step is the hardest, but you'll be on a roll from there.