Taking control of our life can sometimes be very challenging to do, especially when unexpected things happen while we least expect it.
So the question is, are there any habits and principles that we can adapt to try to get our lives back on track?
Toni Johnson (“The Truth Guide”)
CEO & Founder, Wings Within, LLC
Consider the E.V.O.L.V.E. formula
Did you know according to the 2018 Gallup study, there are more than 2.5 million Americans who are unhappy due to the decline in their overall well-being. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) 2018 findings, nearly 1 in 12 U.S. adults are riddled with depression.
And according to the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) report, suicide rates in the U.S. have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999 due to relationship problems/loss, life stressors, and recent/impending crises. What is going on?
From my experience as a Professional Coach, people are living life by default – living without intent, direction, and meaning; standing on the sideline waiting for the next striking person, place, or thing to escort them into fulfillment, but to no avail.
That’s why at some point in time, we all have to evaluate our life, become conscious of whom and what is no longer serving us, and then clean house in order to improve our lives, ourselves; and dismantle stress and depression!
You can get your life together by employing the following E.V.O.L.V.E. Formula.
Execute your purpose
Having purpose can steer your life decisions, offer you a sense of direction, shape your goals, and create meaning in your life – persuading you to live a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
Visualize your goals
Include all the juicy details. This will incite motivation, action, and positive thinking; and thus, promote self-regulation and determination – forcing you to stay on track and stay focused!
Operate from your inner strength
Know that you are powerful. Know that you are enough. When you acknowledge this, no-thing and no one can hold you back – permitting you to live from a place of liberation and empowerment!
When you love yourself, you form a sense of self-worth. When you have a sense of self-worth, you build confidence. When you possess confidence, you become more optimistic – fueling happiness and activating hope.
Validate your intuition
Listen, trust, and allow your intuition to lead you to your highest good. Your intuition is all knowing. Ask for guidance. It is always available to you, ready to support you in your growth – endorsing both emotional and spiritual well-being.
Get out of your comfort zone. Do something you love to do, but are afraid to do. This will cripple fear, expand your knowledge base, spark excitement, and ignite fulfillment.
Holistic Health Coach
Utilize different strategies that might help
Getting our lives together is hard and there are things that will work for some of us that wouldn’t help in the slightest for others. I have fallen apart and built myself up plenty of times this lifetime. Each time was different and unique and each time I used different strategies.
Here I would like to give you a short list of some of my favorite ways to start getting your life together.
Find someone to talk to
Sometimes we need help sifting through our current situation. Whether it be a breakup, a job loss, a family member issue, or anything else, life can hit us hard and sometimes we just don’t know how we actually feel about it. Find someone to talk to. But whoever it is, make sure that:
- They will listen to you.
- They will not try to insert themselves into your story and highjack the situation.
- Someone who loves you (on some level) and wants to be of assistance.
Expert Advice: Find a great therapist.
Clean your house/apartment/room
Your external environment is a direct relaxation of your internal state. Clean what you can, and what I mean by this is if you are a teenager living in your family house clean the room that is yours, if you have an apartment and roommates, clean your room and the main function room that you spend most of your time in, etc. Decluttering your space can be so freeing and when you start to see it go back to being messy take a minute to go inside and think “What am I missing; am I in need of cleaning up my mind a little; is my world feeling chaotic right now?” You can essentially use your room as a barometer for your mental health.
Expert Advice: Take a day and clean everything that is yours (again, the rooms that you most inhabit). Make it meditative by listening to music or a podcast and clear everything up once a week.
Write and let the feelings flow
This is a big category and there is something that happens when you put your pen to paper and let the feelings flow. There are a few different ways that I have written over the years that have helped me “get it together”.
- Daily stream of conscious writing: Get a random notebook and write one page. Whatever you are thinking write down. Starting with the emotion you are feeling or the first thought you thought that day.
Expert Advice: This is a good thing to do at the beginning of your day as you can get a read on how exactly you are feeling.
- Letters: These can be letters to yourself, your heart, your future self, a family member, a friend, a future partner, whoever. Just write a letter to a person and tell them what you want to say. If you are writing to someone else who exists in your life now, you can either give them the letter or not. It is entirely up to you, but this process can be very freeing.
Expert Advice: If writing a letter that deals with anger or another negatively charged emotion or experience ripping it up, burning it, or burying it can be extremely helpful.
- Gratitude journaling: Every day that you gratitude journal, you find out all of the things you are actually grateful for. This can be tricky at first, but it is important to remember that you don’t always have to be grateful for massive things. Sometimes just not being late to work when you thought you were going to be is enough. This helps to put you in a great state of mind to find joy in your daily life.
Expert Advice: Do this at night, so that no matter how “bad” your day was, you end it on a high note.
Read instead of going on social media
So much of our lives are a comparison to others and the world outside of us. Remember that a) social media is all filters and look at me and b) that no one is ever that happy all the time are two of the infinite number of great reasons to stop looking at it.
But either way, we find ourselves coming back and when we are in a poor mental state the comparisons and the negative self-talk tend to be even meaner and worse. So, whenever you feel the need to get on social media to find something else to do, just read because that is what I do, but you could write, call someone you love, listen to a podcast, or anything else. It doesn’t have to be for long at all, just enough to get you past the desire and ready to do something else productive.
Expert Advice: Hide your social media apps in a folder in another folder in another folder of your phone so that you really have to work to get to it.
Founder & Owner, Premium Joy
Clear your head through regular meditation
I used to suffer from overthinking stuff since intermediate school and it was becoming worse as I moved to high school, college, then finally to work. That’s not to mention the depression which used to hit me from time to another especially after starting the daily job.
You can’t imagine how long I’ve spent seeking a solution to become free from the destructive thoughts which were disturbing my life. I can bet I’ve utilized most, if not all, self-development practices ever invented; positive affirmations, hypnosis recordings, theta healing, relaxing music, subliminal videos, you name it. But meditation was essentially the thing which has brought me from the darkness to the light.
Most personal improvement techniques can’t compare to the magic of meditation when it comes to clearing your head and becoming truly happy.
I highly suggest you take some time every day for yourself and meditate even for 10-15 minutes. There is no need to work hard or try to achieve something while meditating, the goal is to sit still and allow your thoughts to come and go as they wish without interfering with them.
Related: 17 Best Meditation Books
As you practice meditation consistently, your head will feel lighter and you will become more peaceful. Life will appear so much different (in a positive way) after meditating for a long time and becoming more in tune with yourself.
There is an immense amount of happiness stored in our bodies, but we can’t experience it simply because our minds are just too busy. Meditation is indeed the key to unlock the sheer joy of life that everyone wishes for.
Don’t take things for granted
Here are a few of the things that work for me in regards to getting my life together.
Do what you say you are going to do
We have all had those tasks or projects that we start and NEVER finish. This is the first step that I took to get my life back on track. I started following things/what I said through. Surprisingly, this made a huge difference/ I started knowing myself better and stopped wasting time on things that were irrelevant to me because I wouldn’t finish it.
Sort out your finances
This is often a troublesome area for a lot of people. Whether it is debt, living paycheck to paycheck or the inability to save – you need your finances in order to cut out some of the stress that hangs over money. 50% of your income to necessities, 20% to savings and 30% discretionary funds.
Stop being a negative Nancy and start being a positive Pete
Learn how to get rid of negative thoughts. Studies have shown that negative thoughts, actions and even complaining impacts our overall physical, mental and emotional health. When you start appreciating things in life, the bad doesn’t seem so bad after all. You can’t take things for granted, otherwise, you will never be happy or satisfied with what you have/achieve.
Chief Industry Analyst, Credit Card Insider
Be financially responsible
Contemplate your credit
If you are planning to get your life together financially, start contemplating your credit. A person’s credit can have wide-ranging effects across numerous aspects of their life. These include, but are not limited to:
- Getting approved for a mortgage or another loan
- The rates you are offered for a mortgage or other loan
- Getting approved for a credit card
- Renting an apartment
- Connecting utilities to your home
- Cell phone plans
- Getting a job
- Finding insurance coverage
Tips to build your credit
To build up your credit, focus on the fundamentals of building a solid credit history. This includes:
- Paying your bills on time and in full
- Keeping your credit utilization low
- Leaving credit accounts open for a long period of time (closing a credit account is not necessarily a good thing)
Building credit using a credit card responsibly
- Utilizing a credit card in a responsible manner is a fantastic way to build your credit.
- However, remember that credit cards are serious financial tools that need to be handled responsibly. This means paying your credit card bill in full and on time every month. Do not spend more than you can afford to pay back in full at the end of the month.
- Misuse of a credit card can lead to an expensive debt due to high-interest rates, and long-lasting damage to a person’s financial health.
- If you have bad credit or no credit and you want to change this, look into applying for a secured credit card. A secured credit card involves making a deposit to establish your credit limit. If you don’t pay your bill, the card provider will then keep your deposit. However, if you pay your bill in full and on time each month while keeping your balances low, your card provider will report this good behavior to the credit bureaus. This will bolster your credit scores over time.
HR Professional | Blogger | Cancer Survivor
Never think you’re helpless
My first tip to get your life together is never, no matter how terrible the circumstance, think you’re helpless. I grew up in a family filled with domestic violence and I carried around a sense of helplessness that really affected my outlook and wellbeing.
I then developed blood cancer twice in my early 20’s and received a bone marrow transplant in 2009 when I was 21. It was during that period of my life when I learned that helplessness was not only a major roadblock to my recovery, it was hindering my life.
Over the years I learned to overcome helplessness by being aware of negative thought patterns and actively re-framing them, focusing on things within my control, and practicing gratitude.
I now live with an irreversible lung condition called Bronchiolitis Obliterans as a result of the transplant. My lung function is only 60% of other people my age, but I don’t let it stop me from enjoying life.
Besides working full time in HR, I’ve started a blog sharing stories, ideas, and tips to help people live a happier and healthier life. I also love hiking, swimming, and I play dodgeball in a hobby league.
My lung condition hasn’t worsened in almost 3 years since the diagnosis, which is very rare. I’m not taking medication and I’m hopeful that I can self-manage this condition for a long time. I believe strongly that it’s my sense of agency that has helped me get my life back on track and remain on track despite the health challenges.
My second tip to get your life together is to apply the “marginal gains” approach. Don’t focus too much on the big goal, because when your life is chaos at the moment, the mere thought of all the things you’d have to do to get to your life back together will overwhelm you.
Instead, think about the processes that will get you there and break them down into small, manageable tasks that you can do every day. And once you can do them easily, make small improvements on them over time.
For example, I knew in order for me to get back to normal life after cancer, I had to build up physical strength. But I was so weak that even climbing a set of stairs would tire me out for the whole day. So I started out with tiny bits of exercises I could do, like a short 15-minute walk at slow speed with lots of breaks, and I did it every day.
Once I got used to the routine, I increased it to 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and so on. That’s how I eventually got strong enough to swim, hike, and even play dodgeball. Start small, be consistent, and improve a little bit at a time.
International Bestselling Author
Stop noticing the bad things and you’ll be too busy enjoying the good things
You haven’t broken any mirrors recently. And yet suddenly you find yourself under a spell of bad luck. First, you spill coffee on yourself or accidentally break something. Then you start having difficulty at work. Your health becomes worse. And it just keeps going on and on. It seems as if there’s no end in sight to all this bad luck.
After my divorce, everything in my life turned upside-down. My health suddenly got worse. I became more tired during the day and would get headaches frequently. I felt weaker and was more susceptible to colds and flu, sicknesses I had avoided for years. My job became more stressful and difficult. The workload increased and I felt like I couldn’t keep up. My boss became more unpleasant and difficult to deal with.
My relationships were also on a downward spiral. My connections with my family became weaker. I wasn’t spending as much time with friends anymore. I felt alone in the world. My creativity, which was always the one reliable bright spot in my life, stopped. Inspiration had dried out. All I could feel was an emptiness inside of me. I was surrounded by bad luck everywhere I went. Why?
There is the saying that you will have seven years of bad luck after you break a mirror. But I didn’t break any mirrors. Astrology says that things become tougher in your life when the planet Saturn visits your astrological chart. But this amount of bad luck seemed excessive. For a while, I didn’t know what to do. I was weak, tired, and lonely. There was no energy or motivation left to figure this out.
Then one day, I decided that I’d had enough of this bad luck. No more! My plan was to bring in more happiness than there was unhappiness so that all the bad stuff would get squeezed out by the good stuff. That way, there simply wouldn’t be any more space left for bad things. I figured, there was only so much time in the day. If the good things outweighed the bad things, I would be okay again.
I made a long list of all the things that made me extraordinarily happy. I put down anything and everything didn’t matter how big or small it was. I was going to create my own happiness by doing the things on this list. There were things like making one drawer of my desk organized and beautiful inside or go for a walk in the canyon among the trees. Find a beautiful rock outside in nature. Look for unusual shapes in the clouds and stare at them for several minutes. Get soaked dancing in the rain. Find a mind-blowing TV show to look forward to every week. Read and reread a book that inspires me. Things like that. They were simple things, but they brought me extraordinary happiness.
As soon as I began doing the things on my list, my bad luck started to go away. By organizing my schedule and desk at work, I became more productive and was better able to keep up with the workload. I changed my schedule so that I was working at the time when I felt most energetic, allowing me to impress my boss.
I started experimenting with new healthy recipes at home, which was not only fun but also helped me feel better physically. I stopped getting sick and my headaches became less frequent. I signed up for a new yoga class, which helped me feel stronger and more confident in myself. I started going to events where I met new friends and spending more time with the people who mattered in my life.
Soon, I was regularly going to lectures that stimulated my mind and woke up my imagination, creativity, and intellectual abilities. I went to festivals that had music, singing, dancing, art, and whole communities of interesting people, all of which stimulated my heart and made me feel good again.
My life became so full of these happy moments that I no longer felt lonely. I stopped noticing all the bad things because I was too busy enjoying the good things. The seven years of bad luck was over. I was back to living my life to the fullest and loving every second of it.
Have you had your seven years of bad luck?
Are you in the middle of a bad luck cycle right now?
What has your strategy been for dealing with it?
Have you tried filling your life with the things you love and seeing if that makes a difference?
Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes there are long stretches where everything is perfect. You spend all your time with good people doing fun things. You watch amazing movies, read inspirational books, cook delicious meals, go to concerts, and do all the things you love.
You’re happy. Life is blissful. You feel as if you are attracting good luck effortlessly, without even trying. Things are easy.. You find success around every corner with all of your endeavors. You feel like you have the power to do anything you set your mind to.
Then suddenly, you have a bad day. You might not think much of it at first, because everything else has been going great for so long. One bad day can easily be forgotten. You know that once you wake up tomorrow morning, everything will be good again. Things go wrong from time to time, it happens.
But then that bad day turns into a bad week. That frustrating day at work turns into a whole week of changes in the office that make your life harder. The one fight with your friend or spouse turns into a week of not talking or arguing. Soon that week becomes a month of bad luck. You get sick, or maybe even injured.
Pain becomes a regular thing in your life. You start burning dinner, breaking things, ruining favorite sweaters, messing up presentations, getting into accidents. Suddenly life doesn’t seem so great anymore. You become discouraged. It only gets worse once this starts to drag on for several years.
You go through a divorce, receive a diagnosis for a chronic illness, find that your money expenditures have gone through the roof because of all sorts of expenses and repairs you have to take care of. Your job is insanely hard, or even worse, you lose your job. You ask, “What have I done to deserve this?” But more importantly, how do you deal with it?
Prolonged periods of bad luck are distressing and overwhelming. They’re like a snowball that becomes an avalanche that completely buries you in negativity. But, like any terrible storm, it too shall pass. Know that this is all temporary. Even if your bad luck lasts several years, still have the utmost confidence that this is not permanent.
You are not the only person going through a prolonged difficult time. This happens to everyone at one point or another. We just hate to admit that sometimes it’s our turn to suffer through that rough patch. But the good thing is, eventually your good luck will come back. Life will eventually turn around for the better and become sweeter. You just have to wait for the storm out.
Think of it like this. When you’re stuck inside on a rainy or snowy day, what do you do? Imagine that there is a blizzard outside and you can’t go anywhere. You can’t work, you can’t go out with friends, you are just stuck inside. That storm is the bad luck that has made you feel stuck in life. But usually, when people are stuck inside because of a storm, they don’t wallow in despair and give up on life.
They do things to fill the time and make a good day out of the unforeseen problem. You might spend the day reading your favorite book, cooking with your family, or binge-watching a new TV show. You might play games with your family or use the time to clean up the house and make it more organized and beautiful.
You might even go outside and run around in the snow. Build a snowman or make snow angels. Get soaked after a snowball fight. By the end of the day, you completely forget about the frustrating blizzard that made you feel stuck inside.
Dealing with bad luck is the exact same thing. You feel stuck in an endless cycle of problems, and the way to get through the day is by doing the things you love. All the same, activities apply for getting through a spell of bad luck. Put aside some time to spend with your family or read your favorite books. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine or the wind or the refreshing rain.
Fill all your time with the things that make you happy so that by the end of the day, you completely forget about all the other bad things that are going on around you. You aren’t ignoring your problems. You’re just not letting there be any space for them in your day. That’s the best way to bring good luck back into your life.
The bad luck can’t stick around for a long time if there’s no room for it. And your smile, your laugh, your happiness, that’s the most powerful good luck charm out there for warding off negative energy and misfortune.
Learn about how to properly handle money
In 1995, at the age of 45, I realized I would never be able to retire if I continued the disastrous way I handled money. My wife and I were overworked and worse than broke. We decided to learn about money. We closed our credit card accounts, made the decision to not borrow money anymore, found some support partners, and started reading books about money.
We became good at financial record keeping, created monthly spending plans, and 7 years later we were out of debt. We became owners of multiple businesses. We wrote two books* about fiscal compulsivity for our field (Mental Health). My wife is now fully retired and I’m as retired as I want to be (and I have a new book that will be out in April.)
Life is glorious! We spend a great deal of time now helping other people learn how to handle money.
Here are 2 tips we learned that we now share with people asking for help:
- Debt isn’t necessary. If it has caused problems for you, don’t ever use it again.
- If a single tool exists that clears the way for vision and creates a foundation for having an effective relationship with money, it is thorough recordkeeping and planning.
Author | Musician
Do what scares you
I’m still getting my life together. And life has a way of unraveling you as you do it, so I’m constantly in the process. That’s the way it should be because we change and no “solution” to your life can ever be permanent.
It’s best to have principles to go by, rather than final goals. My favorite is “Do what scares you.” That is, assuming what scares you is something you can recover from!
The things that scare you are most likely the things that are standing between you and the feeling of “being together.” It’s hard to go through scary experiences, but sometimes they can be done slowly, in pieces, over years. When they can’t, as long as you know you’re going to heal on the other side, you’re good.
Creator of a Women-Centric Page
What helped me to fight against all odds and got me to end up where I am today was the dream I had when I was a kid. I am originally from a poor tiny village in Vietnam. My family was always on the verge of poverty. We were poor to even the Vietnamese standard, which was pretty low.
I lost my mum when I was 13. I grew up feeling alone in my own home because my dad was either angry or stressed. What got me through was the Dream that one day, I would travel to see the world. That dream got me through every night that I cried myself to sleep, 24 km cycling in high school to learn English or two part-time jobs in college. At the moment, I finished my MBA, I traveled the world and I am happy.
Bottom line: Everyone has a dream, you just need to remind yourself once in a while what was it that you wanted to do when you were a kid and keep going.
Nurse | Lifestyle Blogger, Crunchy Hippie Life
Control your finances and stay organized
In our first year of marriage, my husband and I earned just $16,000. On this budget, we were able to meet all of our needs and actually continue to pay down our student loans.
This was only possible because we instituted practices to help us maintain control of our finances and stay organized.
Know where you are
If you don’t know your entire money situation, get control of this immediately. Write down every single expense you have, from rent to your icloud membership fees. Before you can be the CEO of your life, you have to know your exact expense report.
Cut it down
If you are having financial problems, go through your list of monthly expenses and cut out the non-essentials. It might hurt, do it anyway.
Write down your plan
Get a visual idea of where you spend your time by writing out your schedule on a calendar. Are there too many commitments? Start paring down on those non-essentials until you find a balance that suits your needs and helps you reach your goals.
Remember, no one is in charge of your life except for you, so take that power and direct it towards what will serve you, your dreams, and your passions in your life.
Making these decisions might be difficult, and they might sting a bit, but the feeling of living a life under your control is worth it.
Writer | Blogger, NansDailyDoseofLife.com
Have a road map to follow
One thing that I have learned over the years is, in order to succeed no matter your goals; you must have a road map to follow.
Know your “why”
If you truly understand what is most important to you and that which is the driving force behind your goals, you will be much more likely to stay focused. To identify it, write it down and remind yourself of it daily.
Take five minutes each morning to “eat your frog”
Mark Twain and later author Brian Tracy coined the phrase, “Eat That Frog” to indicate we all need to prioritize the tasks we need to get done each day, then tackle the worst one or our “frog” first. This makes sure we get done the things we like least and opens the day to more productivity and less procrastination. If you’re like me, this imagery will stick with you so don’t hesitate and go ahead – eat your frog!
Make time to enjoy the journey
This one is probably the hardest for anyone who is very motivated and driven to reaching a goal. However, in order to really have your life together in a way that is meaningful and sustaining, you must allow yourself enough grace to enjoy where you are right now in your journey to achievement. The journey of our day to day activities is equally, if not more important than the destination, so we have to enjoy it!
Finally, the true secret for all of us in getting our lives together is to find a path to our own personal happiness. Once we have that, sharing our gifts with the rest of the world becomes easy.