Right now your life isn’t going quite how you’d like it to. And your big worry is that things might get worse if you don’t act now.
You want to turn your life around and put it back on a better path for the future.
After all, you might not be in the best of places both practically and mentally, and you know it’s going to take a lot of work to improve your situation and prospects.
Rather than feel overwhelmed by it all, try to take things one step at a time. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
1. Acknowledge the issues.
Before you can figure out how to turn your life around, you need to establish what exactly it is that you want to change.
So many of us say ‘I’m going to get my life together’ or ‘I need to work on myself,’ and then spend a couple of weeks on a diet, in the gym, or looking for a new job.
Then, we run out of steam because nothing has changed and we’re not really sure what our motivation is anymore.
If you want to make a sustainable change, you need to figure out what exactly you want to improve.
Make a list of things you want to work on – they might be your fitness, or your career, or even your relationships.
If you feel like your life is not on track, you need clear goals if you are going to get things sorted.
Be honest with yourself about the issues you’re having. This can be very hard and might make you feel ashamed or guilty. Remember that this process is for you, and only you need to know what’s really going on.
Maybe you need to address an addiction, or leave a relationship you know isn’t working for you. These aren’t things you need to broadcast to the world, but just acknowledging them can make a huge difference to how motivated you feel in making changes and bettering your life.
2. Focus on yourself.
To turn your life around, you have to make yourself your main priority wherever possible. By focusing on yourself, you are more likely to achieve your goals.
You might need to make some tough decisions, but those who know you and truly care about you will understand when those decisions affect them too.
Committing to yourself in this way means you might need to prioritize an early night of sleep, and therefore say no to a boys’ or girls’ night out. You might have to turn down a social event because you know that you need a break from drinking right now.
Whatever it is, putting yourself first is not selfish in this situation – it is crucial to your success, and will actually benefit those around you too.
Carving out some time to focus on yourself and your life is important even if you have others who depend on your, such as kids. Sure, their well-being also has to be a priority, but try to balance their needs and yours rather than pouring everything into them and leaving your own cup empty.
3. Take some time out.
Before we launch into some more steps you can start taking right now, it’s important to remember that rest is very important.
While it’s also great to be active and excited about your progress, you need to take some time out every so often. This will help you stay healthy and recharge during your journey, and will give you time to reflect on how things are going.
Rest doesn’t have to mean sitting around not doing anything. It can mean pursuing hobbies that help you to relax and ease your worries, even if they do involve some physical exercise.
Taking a walk in nature, tending to your garden, or playing a musical instrument are all activities that do wonders for your mental well-being.
4. Plan your days.
One of the best ways to turn your life around is by planning. Sounds boring, we know, but it will make such a difference.
If you’re planning a specific goal, like getting a new job, having a schedule to work to will really help you.
You can set out simple steps to take, such as an hour one day to work on your CV, a few hours at the weekend to apply for jobs, and you can keep track of applications dates and interview invites easily. This will make the whole process way less stressful than it could be, and you’ll have a clear, visual plan to follow and track.
Add in your social events, such as writing in your Saturday brunch with friends, or your video call on Thursday evening. Then add in any regular commitments, like a call with your family or football with the team. Then you can add in exercise and well-being activities, like a gym session or a meditation before bed two nights a week.
It might seem intense, but it works! Using a different color for each theme of activity will help you visualize your week and balance it out to ensure you’re on track to reach your goals. Use one color for social events, one for fitness, and one for mental well-being.
You’ll quickly start to see if there are loads more social events than well-being ones, which can help you work toward a more balanced lifestyle. You can then add in extra activities that are steps to achieving your goals, like personal development, interview prep, and couples therapy, for example.
Make a chart for the week and add in what meals you’re eating – this will help you stay focused on your health goals, for example, as you’ll be able to follow a plan and be less likely to order takeout! Add in quick meals for the nights you know you’ll be home late from work, and cook double portions to use for lunch the next day or freeze.
5. Assess and reward your progress.
Self-reflection is a huge part of setting and reaching your goals. Blindly doing the same thing over and over again is never going to work, because you’ll never know if it’s actually achieving anything or not!
If you really want to turn your life around, you need to take the time out every so often to track how well you’re doing – and then celebrate it!
Reached two weeks of not drinking? Well done, that’s a huge milestone and you should feel incredibly proud of yourself!
Maybe you’ve got an interview for a new job – sure, you might not have the job (yet!), but this is a huge step and should give you a big confidence boost, so embrace it and celebrate it as a step on the right path.
Reflecting on how you feel at different stages of your journey will also help you stay focused. If you regularly check-in with yourself and realize that you feel much healthier and happier, you’ll be more motivated to keep doing what you’re doing.
Keep a journal, or jot down quick notes about how you’re feeling, and re-read it when you’re having a tough day and have forgotten why you’re putting in all this effort.
6. Keep it consistent.
A lot of us feel like we need to have a huge overhaul and make big lifestyle changes, like vowing to never ever eat chocolate again, or deciding to workout every single day.
While these are admirable goals in some ways, they aren’t always the right way to succeed. Rather than making one big commitment, give yourself small things to be consistent with on a regular basis.
For example, commit to drinking 5 glasses of water a day. That isn’t a huge goal that you need to spend loads of money on – it’s something small that you can do each day on your journey to bettering yourself.
The more realistic and consistent your goals, the more likely you are to stick at them. We’d all give up at some point if we weren’t losing a stone every week, so give yourself a better shot at long-term success by being consistent with little, manageable changes.
7. Focus on imperfect action.
When we decide to turn our lives around, we often want everything to be perfect, and therefore think that we need to be doing things perfectly in order to achieve those results.
That might mean that we feel disappointed in ourselves when we don’t have time to do a full hour’s workout, for example. We are so fixated on getting an hour in and being our best selves, that we forget that even doing 20 minutes will make a difference.
Similarly, we might have a day where we eat one piece of chocolate – that doesn’t mean the day is ruined; it means that we are still doing better than we were before, when we were eating 170 pieces of chocolate, for example!
Rather than having an ‘all or nothing’ mindset, accept that some, imperfect efforts are better than none at all! This will help you stay realistic, and will also help you stick to things for longer.
8. Build a strong support system.
Turning your life around requires patience and support, so get your loved ones involved in as much as you feel comfortable with.
You might not want or need to disclose all the reasons you’re making this change, but you can definitely get them involved to some degree.
Having people around to help you does not mean you are weak! It means that you really want to achieve your goals, and you know that having your loved ones supporting you will make that easier.
It’s okay to reach out and ask for motivation or advice. You might want to ask a friend to help you with interview prep for a new job, or ask a family member to help you figure out a good budget or saving strategy.
Remember that they won’t judge you for the things you need help with; they will simply be proud of the changes you are starting to make.
9. Develop new skills.
If you’re in the mood to overhaul your life, but you’re not sure how to go about it, you might need to learn a new skill.
This might be necessary to achieve the goals you’re aiming for, such as training for a new job or working toward a physical goal.
It will also help you in terms of confidence, which will then give you an overall boost on your self-improvement journey.
A lot of us feel the need to change our lives because we’re not confident enough in the choices we’re making. We question our decisions and worry that we’re not doing the best in everything. As such, we never feel satisfied and therefore always feel that itch to ‘fix’ things.
Learning a new skill can give us a confidence boost – it shows us just how capable we are, and how multi-faceted we are.
How great does it feel when you manage to do something you didn’t think you’d manage to do? Whether that’s running further than you’ve run before, building furniture from scratch for the first time, or creating something beautiful to look at when you were convinced you didn’t have an artistic bone in your body!
Developing a new skill will help you feel better about yourself, because you’re choosing to do something for yourself. It also opens the door to opportunities that weren’t previously accessible to you.
10. Try using a mobile app.
There are so many amazing apps out there that can help you in your efforts to turn your life around.
Aim for productivity ones that you can measure your goals with, or fitness-related ones that track your progress.
A lot of them are free, or offer a free trial period, so there’s no reason to not look at what’s out there.
11. Make healthier choices.
We’ve already emphasized the importance of setting realistic goals and taking consistent steps to meet them, but that needs to be coupled with supportive background choices.
Making healthier choices isn’t just about diet! It can be making a choice that prioritizes your mental health – such as not going on a messy night out because you know you’ll feel anxious the next day, or looking for a new job because you know your current one is making you very stressed.
By putting your well-being first, you will start to notice how much easier it becomes to make choices you feel good about. After all, many of us who want to overhaul our lives are probably doing it because we know that some of our lifestyle choices don’t sit right with us.
It can be hard to put your health first, especially if you are in a cycle of negative habits, but it is crucial to success. You will quickly start to feel so much better, and you’ll then want to continue feeling that good – and thus continue to make those great decisions in order to maintain your new healthy, happy outlook on life.
12. Seek professional help.
Of course, there are some things that need a bit more outside support and expertise.
If you feel that your issues will require more than a bit of yoga and a color-coded weekly planner, you might want to consider seeking professional help.
There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to counseling or therapy or life coaching. You should be proud that you are at the stage where you’ve acknowledged that you could benefit from additional guidance.
It takes a lot for people to realize that they might need help with things like addiction and unhealthy behavioral patterns, and that is the first step.
You may not struggle with these more severe issues but could still benefit from counseling or coaching. You might find it gives your mental health a boost, which will also give you more chance of reaching your goals.
You might also enjoy having someone else to talk things through with to ensure you avoid repeating the same mistakes you’ve made in the past.
Remember that nobody’s journey will be exactly the same as your own. That means that what works for you might not work for other people, and vice versa.
Some elements of this article will work for you, and some will not – the fun (and sometimes tricky) part is finding out what is right for you and where you are right now.
As you move forwards, you might want to try multiple different approaches, or change what you’re doing depending on how close to your goals you are.
Stick at it – you are brave simply for reading this article and acknowledging that you want to make some changes. There is support if you need it, and you are stronger than you know.
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