While life has plenty of positive things to look forward to, there’s no doubt that times will be difficult. When we’re going through a difficult patch, it can be appealing to get swept along for the ride and feel sorry for ourselves. And while we sometimes need to take a break, we can’t stew in our troubles forever.
Action is the solution. If you’re asking yourself, “How do I get my life together?” then you’ve come to the right place. Follow these tips to get moving in the right direction.
1. Rearrange Your Mindset
When times are rough, it’s easy to complain and never do anything. And while you shouldn’t bundle up your feelings in a tight little ball and keep them trapped away forever, you also shouldn’t spend all your time talking about everything awful without taking action.
We humans have a negativity bias, which makes us linger much longer on the bad things in our life. But just because we have a bias doesn’t mean we can’t act against it.
Make a conscious effort to think positively and express gratitude for the things in your life. Looking for the positives can help your happiness level. Just keep in mind that this process can be difficult, so keep at it!
2. Find a Starting Point – and Act on It!
When we feel like our lives are out of control, we may have hundreds of things that seem like they need our attention. And while it would be nice if we could fix all our issues in one fell swoop, that’s generally not possible (and trying to can end in failure, which only makes us feel even more overwhelmed).
Instead, figure out what needs to happen to improve your situation. Maybe your home is a mess, and you really just need to sit down and do a load of laundry. Maybe work is overwhelming, and you might need to make a more substantial change, like getting a new job.
Whatever change you want to make, determine the next step, and plan to get it done. With larger tasks, like searching for a new job, break them down into smaller tasks and start from there.
Every little thing you can do is a step forward. The key is to get one accomplishment down and build momentum.
3. Remember What You Can Control
Some issues we face are out of our hands, but there is one thing we can always control: ourselves. Even if we can’t change someone else, we can change how we respond.
Do you have a relationship with a friend, family member, or partner that adds to the chaos of your life? Remember that you can’t change them, but you can set healthy boundaries for your relationship.
By recognizing what you can control and change, it’s much easier to not blame yourself for things you have no power over.
That said, realizing that you have control over yourself means that you take responsibility for making mistakes. Rather than dwelling on your screw-ups, make a plan to change your future behavior.
4. Take Care of Yourself, Physically and Mentally
It can be all too easy to push our needs to the back burner, especially when we feel like there are more important things to take care of. However, if we don’t care for ourselves, we’ll burn out, which will make getting anything done even harder.
Take the time to sleep, eat, stay hydrated, and take time off work to relax. Of course, you don’t want to do these things in excess—regularly staying in bed and snacking on cookies as your only food may be indulgent, but it won’t help you move forward.
Have a hard time remembering to do these things? Try scheduling them as appointments on your calendar.
5. Set Goals for Your Life
When we’re asking, “How do I get my life together?” that may be a sign that we have no idea where we’re going. When that’s the case, it’s no wonder that we can feel lost and out of control!
If you haven’t determined your goals, sit down, and make a list. It’s helpful to split them into categories like short-term, mid-term, and long-term.
Once you’ve done that, pick a small number from each category (preferably one of each) and set them as your priorities. This doesn’t mean occasionally working on other things when you have the time; it means focusing on our priorities and getting them done before you start new projects. Multitasking doesn’t work, and we want to be productive and in control, not feeling overwhelmed.
While you’re at it, it can help determine why this goal is important to you: Does it need to get done? Are you passionate about it? Also, ask yourself what would happen if this goal didn’t get done. If you can’t find meaning or value in what you’re doing, it’s harder to move forward.
6. Organize Your Belongings
How often do you find yourself wasting time because you can’t find an item? Does coming home stress you out because of clutter? And how many times have you thought about donating clothes from your closet but never done it?
Organizing and cleaning clutter will give you back control of your space—which can help boost your mood and make organizing other parts of your life easier. Plus, when everything you own has a home, it’s much easier to find items when you need them and to put things away so that you don’t build another mess.
There will always be something more we feel we can be doing, some other task that will catch our attention. But if we only sit around and think about these things, we can’t move forward. By setting goals and finding ways to improve our situation, you can move in the right direction—one where you’ll be able to say, “I learned how to get my life together.”