At some point in our lives, we cannot help but feel lost and get stuck in a rut. No one wants that, right?
Worry no more. We have asked 14 experts to show us the ways and steps to get our lives together.
Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD
Writer and Speaker, Business & Branding Mentor Own Your Other
Sometimes things happen in life to throw us off track and derail our plans. We need to understand that bad things happen to everyone, and we’re not alone.
There are several steps we can take to get our life back together:
Determine what you have going for you and what areas need to be improved. Put it on paper so that you can see it in black and white. When you address the situation honestly and directly, you can find your way out.
Develop action plans to address the areas of concern. You’re in the driver’s seat and can take positive steps to turn the situation around.
Need a new job? Plot out the process you’ll take to get there.
Not happy in your relationship? What actions can you take to improve it?
Work on developing an optimistic attitude. Write in a gratitude journal every day. Try to find something good in every situation.
Slowly you’ll train your brain to focus more on the positive things that are happening (and trust me, they are taking place at the same time as the negative).
Commit to your well-being
There is nothing more important than taking care of yourself. Incorporate a fitness routine, eat healthy meals, and be sure to get enough rest every night.
Don’t neglect your spiritual, emotional, and intellectual needs, either. When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to accept all that life throws at you, both good and bad.
Go out there and get the additional help you need. Whether it’s professional counseling, a support group, a life coach, or just more assistance from friends and relatives, ask for it.
We all need help from time to time in life. It takes a village.
Stick with it
It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you’re committed. Be patient, and remember that you get out of life what you put in. You can do it. Stay focused, and positive.
Dr. Jenelle Kim
Founder and Lead Formulator, JBK Wellness Labs
Set your intention, move with the Tao, and be grateful
I believe that one of the most important skills to attain in life is to have the ability to balance situations vs. trying to force them or back away from them. Knowing when to be hard and when to be soft, because often being soft, can be equally powerful.
I believe that there are three essential things to follow to get your life together and unlock the secret to a life of success:
- Truly set your mind & set your intention for what you wish to achieve in life.
- Go with the Tao (“the universe”/“the flow”) – set your “eyes” on the goal but be flexible and move with the universe as you get there.
- Be grateful – no matter how challenging a situation; gratitude has the power to help us rise above the challenging times that we are in; it allows us the ability to gain perspective and ground ourselves so that we can see clearly and act effectively.
Balance is key
It’s vital to always seek balance in life, in every aspect – health, relationships, work. This is an active and constant process, and although challenging at times, it becomes easier as you make it part of your daily life.
This process ultimately becomes a habit, a constant, and dynamic process of balance in every situation that arises. As we actively practice this process, it becomes easier, and eventually, it becomes natural. Just like breathing.
Change is constant, so move with it
The one constant in life is change. Change happens all of the time, and often, it occurs in an instant. This can be jarring and undoubtedly stressful, so, in these moments, it is vital to “move with the Tao.”
It is so important to be fluid even in tough situations. Instead of being like a stiff board that is hard, taut, and inflexible, which makes it possible to break, be like that of bamboo – strong but flexible so as not to break.
To be successful in anything, I believe you have to move with the twists and turns of life continually. See the opportunities that are emerging from this shift and move towards them.
I have been taught by my mentors that when it comes to career and relationships, there are only so many times in life when the door of opportunity shows up. Sometimes its three times in life, and sometimes it’s only once.
So, when you know it’s there, it’s so important to seize the opportunity, to be open-minded, to look at least five steps ahead.
Work tirelessly, but be productive and have faith in the universe (regardless of what religion or belief system you follow). There is only so much in our control.
Rob Magill, MA, ICAADC, CCPG, DOT-SAP, LPCT
Founder, Magill Counseling Associates, LLC | BHI Certified Tele-behavioral Health Practitioner
Life can knock us down. Hard, sometimes. We can feel like we don’t even know which way is up. Even when we’re down, it’s possible to get organized and make massive progress!
Here is a general guide that I find helpful. For a detailed explanation, please read The 12 Week Year by Brian Morgan and Michael Lennington.
Create a vision of your future self
The first step is to create a powerful, emotional, and meaningful vision for where you want to be one to five years from now. It should seem out of reach. Don’t think about it; just do it. This will become your “why” – your motivation – for making progress.
Set concrete goals
Aim for about three months from now. This will give you enough pressure to work hard, but also some flexibility if life comes up again.
Determine what you can do daily to meet that goal
It can be specific, like exercise for 30 minutes each day. It can also be more flexible: spend 30 minutes studying for a certification.
If you’re feeling mainly stuck or overwhelmed, a mind map may help:
- Write down everything you need to do. Don’t worry about having it in any order. Just get it on paper.
Identify a handful of big themes to the list. It could be Work, House, Family, etc. Write these on a piece of paper.
- Spread them out far apart and draw a circle around each word. Now, fill in around these circles other things from your list. Draw circles around them. Connect them to the circles they connect to. Repeat this process until everything from the list is on the paper. You might find that an item connects to multiple things. Good! Put it is somewhere but draw the other connections as well.
- Look at the results. Does something have more connections than other items? That might need to get done first to have the most progress fast. If so, make that your focus. Otherwise, look at the map and see what makes the most sense to start on. Not everything will be important or time-sensitive. Those things can probably wait. Focus on the important, urgent matters that will move things forward for you.
Following these two processes will provide clarity, direction, and guidance on how to start getting your life back on track. Your vision will also provide an emotional why so you follow through when the work gets difficult. Now you have to follow your plan and start living the life you want!
Founder and President, Massimo Group, LLC
Maximize your professional and personal performance
What sets top earners and those with seemingly high levels of personal contentment apart? It’s my experience from working with thousands of independent workers that top earners achieve the professional and personal success that they do because they plan, prepare, and produce consistently every week.
They don’t just wing it. They don’t let their calendars and clients control their time. They purposely and proactively organize their week, so they can look back on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning and clearly see the progress they made.
If you want to start making the most of every day, the first step is implementing a system for maximizing your effective work hours. Time is one of the greatest assets we have. Poor performers waste it, average performers misuse it, but wealth-building, top-performing workers and stay at home parents cherish it.
For some reason, most people don’t think they have control of their time. But the truth is that you absolutely control how you use your time. It’s your most important resource and you control it.
Let me share with you a way that allows you to control the use of your time. You can serve your clients at an extraordinary level and still not be a prisoner of every distraction.
Distractions are going to be everywhere. Let’s be honest – a lot of the time, you jump off the phone at 9:20 am and go meet with the prospect, not because you sincerely think you need to do so in order to make the sale, but because you really don’t want to prospect by phone and will take any reasonable excuse to do something else.
The reality is that nobody has the ability to create more time in the day, but everyone can control how they use their time.
Here is a simple 5-step, yet high-impact approach to getting the most out of every day:
Most of us have a long list of to-dos. Maybe you keep your list in a notebook or a spreadsheet or on a stack of Post-Its. Maybe it’s on an app, or better, in a contact management system. Regardless, it is likely much too long.
Limit your list to no more than 10 items every day. Undoubtedly you are shaking your head as you read this and are thinking to yourself “I’ve got 30 things I need to do today! This will never work.”
The problem with that response is this: you aren’t going to get through 30 things today, and if by some miracle you do, you’ll accomplish it by doing half a job on most of the items on the list. And most likely, it’s the most important items that will get the shortest shift. Instead, focus on the 10 things that absolutely must get done.
If you get through them, then sure, go find some other things to do – it’s not usually hard to find more work. But know (and do) your top 10 first.
Of those 10, only three should be top priorities. One key practice, which comes from Brian Tracy in his well-known business book Eat the Frog, is to do the most important, least attractive item on your list first.
Related: Best Brian Tracy Books
Get it out of the way, get it out of your mind, rather than having it loom over you all day long while you desperately distract yourself with other, less important, jobs. Rip off the Band-Aid.
Once that’s done, tackle the other two top priorities before you do anything else, so that your first and best energy of the day goes to your three most important tasks – and those tasks always get done, every day. You don’t want those three top priorities to get pushed to the end of the day because inevitably, something is going to come up – you’re going to make something come up – and they won’t happen.
Since these 3 priorities must happen, let’s make them happen. And I promise you – the rest of your day will feel like walking on sunshine, because all the stuff you didn’t want to do is already done.
There is no more powerful way to use your time than to allocate it effectively in order to achieve your goals. The most powerful thing I’ve ever done in my business is to block out time for high-priority activities.
But to make it happen, I needed to allocate the time on my calendar, so that my team, my family and, most importantly, I myself would know not to schedule a conflict in these time slots. Besides time, you also should make sure you have the money and people you can allocate priorities to.
Executing your plan is often the hardest part. The first three steps of– identifying what’s important, prioritizing what needs to be done and when, and allocating the resources to achieve those goals, are relatively straightforward.
You can do all those things. Executing on the plan is usually where things can go south. The key here is to understand that perfection isn’t usually attainable, and that to a certain degree, “good enough” is good enough.
Maybe once in my entire career did I actually nail my weekly calendar exactly as planned. Life happens. We just “do our best and forget the rest”, as Tony Horton of P90X fame often says.
The last step is the three Ds: delegation, deletion, and deferring. You should have a “not to do” list – the list of things that aren’t your job, though they may be important. When you get the point where you are doing items that are on your “not to do” list, it’s time to start delegating, deleting or deferring.
These tasks on your “not to do” list should become the job description of somebody else. You must decide whether you are going to delegate these items to somebody else, or put them off until another time, or just forget about them entirely.
If you haven’t caught on yet, we call this the I.P.A.I.D. process. It simply means when you follow the process you will make significant progress, and ultimately get paid in money, in time and yes in personal and professional margin.
Carrie C. Mead, MS
Professional Life Coach & Usui Reiki Practitioner, Curiosity Life Coaching
When most people feel most disconnected, disorganized, confused, or stuck, it’s because they have not identified their goals. Goals may be professional, spiritual, financial, or relational, but the key is that the person does not have a sense of what they wish to achieve in a particular area of life.
Identify your goals
Initially, your goals may be broad such as “buy a house,” but then they need to be carefully refined so that you have enough clarity that you can visualize the end product. Therefore, a clearer goal would be “buy a three-bedroom home with a fenced back yard, garage and within 15 miles from work”.
As you begin house hunting, you may refine the details even further to “buy a three-bedroom brick home with a fenced yard, mature trees, garage and master bath within 13 miles from work”. All the while, visualize this goal in your mind.
Determine where you are today (Point A) and where you want to be (Point B)
Build your road map from Point A to Point B. You already identified that you need change, and now map your course. There are many routes between New York and California, but with careful planning, you could map out the quickest way or the most scenic route or one that allows you the most spontaneity.
Whichever way you choose, you still need to plan and beware of potential roadblocks and detours that can and will arise.
Consistently check-in with yourself, your goals and desires
Do you still want to go to California, or has something changed? Do you still want a 3bedroom home, or have you just found out that you are expecting twins? Consistently checking-in will help you make appropriate modifications along the way.
Enjoy the experience
Celebrate the fruits of your labor when you arrive at your destination. Too often, we forget to celebrate our accomplishments, or we dismiss them as ‘nothing much.’ You have worked to reach your goal, and you deserve to feel proud of your achievements.
Nghia Le, MSW
Life Coach, Specs Coaching
You most likely have spent the majority of your life looking for answers and solutions externally. It is time for you to look internally. Take the time to find out what is important to you with some self-questioning.
When are you happiest? When are you most productive? What are you doing now that you wish you were not doing? What are some things that are preventing your life from being together?
Something I do in my coaching is to explore these answers and testing if these feelings are a matter of perspective or a matter of reality – which leads to step 2.
This is when you answer your questions and understand your situation more. You get a better picture of what makes you perceive your life the way you do or how your life got to where it is.
Sometimes we’re living our lives out of habit and no longer intentionally. Getting to this level of understanding can help you know you vs. what you have been taught about you.
Once you develop your understanding, you have to accept what your life is at this point. Acceptance does not mean approval. You can accept it and disapprove and seek changes. But if you do not accept it, you cannot change it. This takes coaching and time as it is a skill because our mind is powerful at avoiding and denying realities.
Now, it is finally time to adjust and make changes. With your new-found understanding, you can start to develop goals truly defined for yourself. For the first 20 years of our life, our goals were all school and “get a job” related.
We finally get to create our own goals past that stage. This, too, is a skill that takes time. The final stages of my coaching involve goal setting and habit changing. Focusing on the process brings more successful and sustainable results.
In summary, the steps to getting your life together: explore yourself, discover yourself, accept yourself, and finally adapt for yourself.
Relationship and Life Coach
In speaking with my coaching clients who want to get their life together. These are often followed after a devastating event or when they are ready for a significant improvement to their life such as increased income, losing weight, or finding a romantic partner.
Here are some important steps I provide to them:
Observe yourself and what you’re doing as an expert outsider would
It’s human nature to justify and understand our own actions. We can look at the actions of another person and think, “Of course things aren’t happening for them financially” or “Of course they can’t find a date,” because we view their actions and lifestyle with a more critical eye.
That is, we don’t justify their actions. We simply notice what is happening that shouldn’t be and what should be happening instead.
I often suggest that a client find a mentor. This mentor doesn’t have to be someone that you discuss your issues, frustrations, or goals with. In fact, you don’t have to know this individual personally.
For example, it could be a well-known successful business person, an author, a fit person, or someone who has love in their life.
You’ll need to study this person to some degree. Read their book if they have one, watch them on TV, have coffee with them if possible, or observe them at work.
This process doesn’t take as long as it might seem. Most people who have done this have a good understanding of how this person operates and what they would likely do in certain situations or what questions they would ask after only a short time learning about them.
One good example of this that I’ve observed to be particularly helpful is to choose a reality show that chronicles such a person. That doesn’t mean that you choose a reality show about immature individuals unless it includes someone who is guiding them to develop as people.
A good example is the show Shark Tank. The “Sharks” do a lot of teaching about business and entrepreneurship and they all have very different personalities for you to choose from.
If you own a small-business for example, you can observe how you are running your business as though you were one of the Sharks. What would your selected Shark say about your customer service, work flow, employee selections, product quality, and business plan?
You can add different mentors as well until you have a “Board of Advisers,” in your mind that can guide you as you make decisions going forward.
Though it’s certainly important to have your own voice, the most successful people among us utilize advisers and consultants, understanding that the final decision rests with them.
In this way you can have similar counsel and learn the ability to observe yourself and your situation apart from justification, excuses, and emotion. My most successful clients become masters of this.
Dedicate yourself to being a stair stepper
There are other ways to describe this stair-stepper concept. I often refer to it as “success in the moment.”
Many people become paralyzed in terms of getting their life together as they want it. They are looking too far ahead, which often leads to anxiety and inaction.
That is why it is key to determine how you can accomplish what you want, then to determine where to start, and finally to simply make progress even if it is minor.
Routinely ask yourself, “What can I do today to move toward my goal?”
You might not lose weight right away, but if you say no to the doughnuts some well-intentioned person brought to the office, you did what you could today to move toward your long-term goal or at least to protect it.
You might not have made one million dollars today, but if you went the extra mile for a client, added content to your website, found waste in your expenses, or took action toward completing your product concept, then you moved toward your goal of making one million dollars.
It’s important to focus on the moment and being successful in the moment.
If a football team only focuses on the score, it actually doesn’t help them much at all. What they should be focused on is how to score. Or, even better yet, how to be successful in this single play.
If a player blocks the man he is supposed to, makes a tackle to prevent a big gain in yardage, or successfully runs for the first down, those are steps toward scoring a touchdown. Looking at the scoreboard essentially does nothing to help a team score.
What does help is focusing on success in the moment that will result in scoring points. Do the right things and the scoreboard will take care of itself.
Become a master of stair stepping.
Learn to make simple decisions for complicated situations
So many times in life we become mired in inactivity because we realize that situations are sometimes complex and that there’s not always a perfect answer.
Rather than let that true observation prevent you from moving forward, embrace this reality of life: Sometimes their is no perfect answer, but being decisive and then committed to the decision usually brings the best result.
An example could be with hiring an employee for a certain position. I have consulted with individuals who felt they couldn’t make a decision because several candidates seemed equally qualified and had different strengths.
Once they were able to realize that it was okay to choose someone even if it meant rejecting wonderful candidates, they were free to make a decision.
Again with a sports analogy, if a football player is unsure who he is supposed to block, he is better off choosing a defender and blocking him with all of his focus than to do nothing or do it halfheartedly because of indecision.
If you’re trying to lose weight, and you don’t know which exercise is best, you are better off to choose one and do it with all of your might than to spend days researching instead of burning some calories toward your goal.
Sometimes the choice isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t move forward in a powerful way with the choice you make.
Mental Health Consultant And Relationship Expert | Founder, Enlightened Reality
Figure out your personal issues
One of the first things to do when trying to get your life together is to figure out what issues your life is facing in the first place. Are you lacking a romantic partner, is your job not fulfilling, are you physically unhealthy, or is there something specific that you think you need to change to have your life together?
After identifying the issue, the next thing to do is get proactive and clean your room. Yes, clean your room is a step in getting your life together. How can you expect to get your entire life together if your room/direct environment isn’t even together? Make your bed, pick up your dirty clothes, sweep the floor, and dust your room.
Then continue to keep it clean. Wake up every morning and make your damn bed. Only after you’ve cleaned the space around you can you start to clean up the more abstract space of your entire life.
Complete a task everyday
Starting every day with a completed task will help you to be in the right headspace to complete more tasks throughout the day. Then since you’ve already identified what issues your life has, you’ll need to determine what steps you can take to get those issues resolved.
If that means getting out and meeting more people, fixing your CV, or going to the gym, start doing those activities. But it all starts with tidying up your room.
Licensed Medical Acupuncturist and Health Coach | Head of Practice, Acupuncture Jerusalem
Make a plan, including an organized change
In order to get your life together you can’t begin making random, disorganized or chaotic change. You need deliberate, organized change so that you can take one step at a time.
Start from the top – where do you perceive your shortcomings to be and where would you like your life to improve? Once you’ve answered those questions, you can begin to identify ways to correct the shortcomings and improve your day-to-day life.
Set achievable goals
Don’t ever bite off more than you can chew – reaching too high and failing to achieve a goal not only represents a failure, it can discourage you into giving up. Set small goals on a short-term basis and when you achieve them, it’ll serve as positive reinforcement and motivate you to continue to work towards your goals and achieving your plan.
Make sure your goals are not necessarily easy, but rather achievable. If you’re making forward progress every day, eventually you will get your life together.
Stop wasting time
Never ask a person with free time to do something for you. People with free time tend to procrastinate and waste time more than busy people do, because productivity breeds more productivity and healthy habits are more productive than unhealthy ones.
Make sure to fill your free time with productive activities and build yourself a 9-to-5 schedule that is loaded with tasks that help you work towards your long- and short-term goals.
Writer, CompareLifeInsurance.com | Licensed Professional Counselor
Have big dreams, but set realistic goals
One of the first major steps of “getting your life together” is to set goals for yourself. The goals need to be realistic. While it is great to “shoot for the stars” and have big dreams, making goals that are not attainable can derail us and put us in a rut.
Again, it’s okay to dream big, but along with those dreams set goals that can be achieved.
Plan on how to make those goals a reality
Each goal will most likely need its own plan although some may tie into one another. Much like goal setting, the plan to achieve each goal needs to be specific and measurable.
Find a mentor or a support system
They can help keep you accountable and encourage your throughout your journey. Human beings are social creatures and we do not do well in isolation. Having a support system in place will allow you to vent your frustrations, share ideas, receive advice and keep yourself on track.
Take time throughout your journey to enjoy life
Make time for friends, make time for fun. Here again it is important to surround yourself with positive influences; you do not want your social life/free time/fun to derail your goals and plans.
Throughout your journey to “get your life together” remember to love and have patience with yourself. You will make mistakes, there will be times of stress and feelings of hopelessness.
Remember that we are not perfected and refined overnight. Change takes time, but with determination, definitive and realistic goals and a solid plans, successful change is possible.
Founder, Create Capsule
After Princeton, Harvard Business School, and six years in finance, I saw myself, and many of my high-achieving peers, still feeling like we “didn’t have it together.” We were stressed and anxious, yet, we weren’t using any good strategies for change. It was blind leading the blind.
So, I left a hedge fund to enter education and create a comprehensive self-development journey, Capsule. After making the same mistakes time and again, I decided: it was time to do something about it. Nowhere in our education did someone teach us the science behind strategies for mental/emotional management, goal-setting, decision-making, relationship science, communication & conflict.
So, I hunkered down to do the research. Now, 139+ research studies comprise the Capsule curriculum — a crash course for “getting it together.”
It really is step-by-step.
- We start with mental-emotional management because you cannot manage everything else in life until you first manage your own thoughts and feelings.
- Two, self-awareness. Because you need to understand your past before you determine where you want to go next.
- Goal setting and testing – because how often do we fail to make new year resolutions?
- Values and time management, because there are scientific ways to do the right thing at the right time.
- Decision – making frameworks – so we don’t keep making the same mistakes.
- Mind-body connection.
- Attachment styles and dating, because let’s be honest, that’s half of why my life wasn’t together!
- Love and conflict resolution – why doesn’t anyone teach this until it’s too late?
- Leadership and teamwork, because we are all leaders in some way.
Founder, Sleeping Lucid
Sleep isn’t everyone’s priority, but it should be. Most people think that sleeping is merely an activity that gives your body rest, but it’s actually one of the myriad of things sleep can do.
For one, sleep keeps your emotional and mental health in check. The right amount of sleep and sleep-aiding products can help people suffering from anxiety and depression. This is because sleep products such as weighted blankets that have deep touch therapy increase a person’s serotonin aka their happiness levels.
Other helpful products are noise-canceling headphones and earmuffs which help create a quieter and more relaxed environment even to the most anxious of people.
Getting the right amount of sleep also helps in achieving a healthier body figure. This is because sleep deprivation affects your hormone levels which is troubling to women from all age groups, especially those who are pregnant and are dealing with menopause.
Keeping your emotional, mental, and physical health are big steps that help get your life together. Life isn’t easy, so you have to be prepared in any way that you can.
Creator, ModernFrugality.com | co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast
Learn what you value
We often walk through life doing things that are important to other people and spending money on things other people want. Dedicate some time to looking at your spending and your schedule and determine the expenses and activities that truly bring you joy and those that don’t.
Then create boundaries that allow you to say no to things you feel obligated to do. There will always be things we have to do that we’d rather not but the earlier you can say “no” to things you don’t like and don’t need, the more financial security and freedom you’ll have to say “yes” to the things you want.
CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Total Shape
Work equally on health, wealth and relationships
Our life is divided into three main parts; health, wealth, and relationships. When something awful happens in any of them, it affects other areas too and makes us unstable. So, the best thing you could do is keep a balance between them to get your life together. Start planning your days to get the most out of your life. Divide the day into three parts.
- Devote time for your physical and mental health by taking a nutritious diet, exercising, yoga, and meditation.
- Start spending quality time with your family and friends, and at this time, stop scrolling your newsfeed, responding to emails, or doing any professional work.
- Do the work with high spirits and keep an eye on the future.