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When it feels like your life has gone wrong in multiple different ways, it’s tempting to think that it is broken.
And your instinct is probably to want to fix it.
Bur how do you fix your life, exactly?
What does it involve?
Let’s look at some steps you can take to straighten out the things that have gone wrong.
1. Know that not all change is bad and not everything needs fixing.
First of all, it’s important to recognize that just because something has changed, doesn’t mean you have to put effort into changing it back.
Change is inevitable in life. Things change all the time and it’s up to you to decide whether that change is positive or negative.
And it’s not always such a straightforward distinction between good or bad. There are grey areas and unknowns that can confuse the situation.
Something that might seem bad to you right now might lead to something very good at a later point in time, or vice versa.
You must do your best to look at your situation from as wide an angle as possible – or better still, from multiple different angles.
Get a perspective that is beyond the immediate pain or discomfort of the present moment.
You may well feel terrible and it might seem sensible to try to turn back the clock to when you didn’t. But things must move forwards, including your life; they can’t stay the same forever.
Sit with this thought and look at your life beyond the current situation and with less of an emotional viewpoint.
Be realistic about what actually needs fixing and what you need to adapt to because there’s no going back from it.
2. Take action.
If and when you decide that something needs fixing, you must take practical steps to fix it.
You must act and be decisive in order to stand the best chance of a positive outcome.
Putting off action quite often makes it more difficult to take that action at a later date.
The saying “That ship has sailed” means that opportunities don’t hang around forever.
In the context of fixing your life, it means you have to be bold and proactive and do the things that need to be done.
If you don’t, it’s likely that decisions you might have made will be made for you either by the passing of time or by external influences.
And missed opportunities are a source of regret for many people because they represent something which cannot be undone. You just have to live with the consequences of your inaction.
So to avoid those regrets, you must act.
That doesn’t mean acting without careful thought. It means doing the thinking and then following through on it.
Whilst risk is not something you can totally avoid, you can still make sensible, rational decisions based on evidence, what feels most in line with your values, and the potential rewards of those actions.
3. Prioritize your problems.
Some problems are more urgent than others and it is sensible to tackle these first and then address other things later on.
But this is not always the way people go about their life. Sometimes they put off the most important actions or decisions in favor of less meaningful things, simply because those things are easier.
To help prevent you from doing this, it might help to visualize your problems as fires that need putting out.
Deciding the order in which to tackle the fires comes down to three things: how big is the fire now, how much potential fuel does it have, and how well connected is it to other areas of your life.
Take a mental health concern, for example. It might not impact your life in a major way right now, but the circumstances you find yourself in could provide the fuel for it to quickly deteriorate. And your mental health is linked to every aspect of your life, so its effects can quickly spread.
It’s certainly not a fire you will want to leave unattended for long. It would probably be a good idea to tackle it as a reasonably high priority.
A problem you could leave a little longer might be a job or career path you hate. Whilst it might irritate you to have to keep working such a job, it might not be a massive fire just yet, and certainly not something that has to burn out of control at any point.
You could keep working this job for some time without having to act. Eventually, yes, you’ll want to address the issue, but it can wait until other, more critical fires have been extinguished or brought under control.
4. Take some time off if possible.
The fact that you have found this article means you are probably quite concerned about the state of your life.
If many things need ‘fixing,’ that means lots of your time and energy will be required.
It is going to be more difficult to dedicate that time and energy when you are working a full time job.
So where it is possible and necessary, you might want to consider speaking to your boss about taking some leave.
It might have to be unpaid leave, or you might be lucky enough to have an employer who takes the welfare of its staff seriously and who is willing to give you time off with pay.
Or you might have to use up all of your vacation time in one go so that you can tackle as many of the major issue as you can.
Either way, you’ll be better able to get a hold of your life and move it back toward a place you want it to be if you can dedicate yourself to this effort.
Of course, taking time off work won’t be feasible for many, and it’s not that you can’t fix things in your spare time. You can. You might just have to push yourself a little harder in terms of doing the work when you’d rather be relaxing and recuperating.
5. Set goals.
Taking any sort of action is going to be a lot easier and far more effective if you have specific goals to aim for.
Just going about trying to address the problems in your life without a clear idea of where you want to get to is not an efficient way of working.
When you have a goal in mind, it will influence what decisions you make, and those decisions will impact the outcome.
A popular framework for goal-setting is that of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-specific.
In the context of fixing your life, this means…
Specific – how exactly do you need to fix your life? What problems need to be addressed? What are the desired outcomes you’d like to see?
Measurable – how will you know that the goal has been achieved? Can you put a number on something? How about receiving a particular qualification or grade?
Achievable – are these things realistic given you current position, abilities, and amount of time available? If not, how can you adapt the goals so that you have a good shot at achieving them?
Relevant – is the goal something that will actually help fix your life? Does it address the issues you’re facing, or does it merely try to gloss over them?
Time-specific – by what point do you need these things to be done? This ties back into the prioritization discussed above.
6. Be productive with your time.
There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive.
It’s easy to be busy. There are more than enough things to fill your time with. You can quickly spend what free time you do have on activities that don’t make much difference to your life.
And that’s a problem when you want to address the issues that are causing you stress or pain.
You will struggle to make the changes that need to be made if you use up your time on busywork and chores that could wait.
You need to remain focused on the job at hand. Try not to get sidetracked by other things – this is a form of procrastination that will hold you back from fixing your life.
Don’t overanalyze the problem either. Whilst it is wise to come up with a plan of action, you don’t have to have all the pieces in place before taking that action.
There will always be some unknowns and there will always be things you think you know but don’t.
You will have to think on your feet sometimes. You will need to adapt to how a situation unfolds after taking a particular action.
Keep asking yourself whether the thing you are doing at a particular moment in time is moving you closer to your goals. If it isn’t, and it’s something that can wait, stop doing it and return to the main task at hand.
7. Get organized.
If you want to achieve your goals and be productive with your time, it pays to keep yourself organized.
Knowing what you need to do and when you need to do it is essential for taking effective action and seeing results.
When you’re not organized, you will waste lots of timing simply thinking about your next move, rather than knowing precisely what your next job is.
Being organized allows you to minimize the time spent on menial but essential tasks, giving you more time to tackle the bigger challenges in your life.
Organization might take the form of to-do lists. Being able to see what needs to be done and ticking things off as you go is an effective way to keep track of your progress.
An electronic list on your phone or via the use of apps can be great as you tend to always have your phone on you. Or you might prefer the trusty pen and paper approach.
A routine can also be a part of your efforts to stay organized. When you know you do certain things at certain times or on certain days, you don’t have to think about it. You can just get on and do it.
Routines will also mean you know precisely when you can work on fixing your life and when you’ll be occupied with the duties that keep your day-to-day life running smoothly.
8. Develop positive habits and break bad ones.
Habits are similar to routines in the sense that you tend to do things based upon a trigger.
In a routine, that trigger is a particular time or an action you’ve taken that leads directly onto another.
But a habit not only has a trigger, it has a reward too.
So making your bed would generally be considered part of a routine unless you genuinely feel good about seeing a nice, tidy bedroom in the morning.
Having a mid-afternoon bar of chocolate is a habit. Sure, it might happen at a particular time, potentially after finishing a particular task, but it’s a habit because it’s got that reward of being something tasty and the feel-good chemicals released in your brain.
In terms of helping you fix your life, you should try to form habits that help you to achieve the goals you have set yourself.
And where your current habits hold you back from those goals, you should aim to break them.
9. Purge your life of things that are detrimental to you.
Some things in your life are generally good for you. Other things are actively bad for you. And then there are those things that sit in a gray area in between good and bad.
If you want to tackle the issues in your life, it’s a good idea to identify those things that are harmful to you and then get rid of them.
What might those things be?
Well, the people you spend time with is a good place to start. If you hang around people who are overly negative or who put you down or who encourage self-destructive behavior, they will stand in the way of you changing your life for the better.
The downsides to keeping them in your life far outweigh the difficulty and discomfort that might be involved in cutting them out.
Physical clutter is another area you might want to address. Being surrounded by stuff that you don’t use or need can be a weight on your mind. By clearing out your living space, your mind will feel a little lighter too.
Sometimes even things we think are good for us can cause us problems of another kind. Hobbies are example of this.
If you have a hobby that eats up a lot of your time or requires a big financial commitment, it can be detrimental to your overall well-being even if it’s something you really enjoy.
Perhaps you work two jobs so that you can afford to go on a couple of expensive scuba diving vacations a year. You enjoy those vacations a lot, but the remainder of your year is filled with the additional stress you put yourself under to fund those trips.
You might find that your life is better balanced if you give up those vacations and the second job that pays for them.
10. Be more positive about yourself.
A life that is full of difficulties can affect the way you think about yourself as a person.
If you are forever facing stressful situations, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are the cause of that stress. That you are somehow a loser, or stupid, or a bad person.
This mindset tends to keep you stuck amongst your troubles because you feel incapable of getting out of them.
If you want to fix the things in your life that are broken, you have to truly believe that you can do it.
This begins with how you talk to yourself. Not necessarily out loud (although you might do that) but the thoughts you direct at yourself in your mind.
The trick is to identify moments where you have been unkind to yourself and reverse those words right then and there.
Instead of, “What’s the point in trying? You’ll never be able to do it.” tell yourself, “If you try hard and stick at it, you can get this done.”
Instead of, “Nobody likes you.” tell yourself, “You have friends and family who care deeply about you.”
Instead of, “You did this. You are an idiot.” tell yourself, “This happened for many reasons and you are capable of resolving it.”
You can also change the way you picture your future. You can imagine a future that is better than you present rather than one that is the same or worse.
You don’t have to be unrealistic in that vision. You can see future happiness and goals that you have achieved and this will help you believe in your abilities to turn that dream into reality.
11. Rewrite your story.
Everyone has a story. It’s what you tell yourself and others about the life you have led and how you came to be the person you are today.
Problem is, when you see your life as broken, your story becomes one of how you ended up breaking it.
Inevitably, this will involve some of the negative self-talk from the previous point.
You might say, “Well, I left school at 16 because I was no good at all that academic stuff and was always getting into trouble. I’ve had lots of jobs since then but nothing I really enjoyed. I had a family too young and wasn’t a great parent. I eventually separated from my partner. Life is tough now. I’m living paycheck to paycheck and I just can’t seem to get myself out of this hole.”
That story might well contain some facts, but you can tell it in a different way if you choose to. You can put a more positive spin on the things you have learned and the situation you are in at present.
It might go something like, “I’m more of a hands-on, practical person, so I left school at 16 to find a career that suited those talents. Whilst I’ve tried quite a few things, I still think the perfect job is out there waiting for me. I have kids who I love to bits and even though I’ve made mistakes, I do my best to set a good example for them. I have challenges in my life right now and money can be tight, but I know that if I really put my mind to it, I will get through this difficult period.”
Do you see the difference?
If you can tell your story in a more positive way whilst still being honest about the realities of it, you can change your perception of yourself and that of other people too.
This shift can be helpful in sparking your fire and motivating you to change your life.
12. Take responsibility for your past and future.
There’s great value in owning times in your past when you’ve perhaps made misguided decisions or taken actions that have hurt yourself or others.
You don’t have to beat yourself up about those things, but you should recognize the role you have played in them.
What’s even more important is that you take ownership of your future rather than just accepting that things happen to you.
You wield great influence over what your future looks like. You can sit and allow things to happen to you, or you can go out and make things happen.
The choice is very much yours to make.
If you can recognize the influence you have, you can use it to energize yourself, to empower yourself, to take a grip of your life and do something with it.
If you want to fix your life, you have to believe that what you do makes a difference in the way things turn out. Because it really, truly does.
13. Recognize and celebrate progress.
Whilst no change happens overnight, you will be able to see when and where you are moving in the right direction.
Identify that progress, see it as the positive it is, and celebrate it.
Use each step you take as motivation to take the next one. Build up momentum by seeing the good things that happen when you take charge of your life.
And remember that change is a process, not a destination. It never really ends.
You may smash some goals, and then set about tackling something else.
With each goal you achieve or each sub-goal you meet along the way, give yourself a little treat. Make sure that treat doesn’t hinder the goal, but do something to remind yourself of the progress you are making.
14. Mentally prepare for setbacks.
Goals that are worth achieving don’t always come easily. There will be bumps in the road that slow you down or force you back.
It’s important that you accept this as the reality of pursuing change in your life.
If you can make peace with the inevitable difficulties you will face, you won’t be so disheartened by them.
You might feel a bit frustrated or upset and that’s a natural reaction to have when something derails your efforts.
But if you know they’re coming, you can prevent setbacks from becoming a permanent stopping point in your attempts to fix your life.
You won’t give up because you’ll know that you can find a way to overcome these challenges, even if it means taking a different approach to the one you’ve tried.
And that new approach might not work either. You might have to try a number of different things in order to get past whatever stands in your way.
Just keep persevering and you’ll get to where you want to go.
15. Seek help.
Some issues are better tackled with the help of someone who knows what they are doing.
This might be someone who is trained in a particular thing or someone who has experience in the thing you are doing.
By turning to them, you can cut down on the setbacks and find ways of achieving the goals you set yourself.
Sometimes you can even hand over a goal to someone else entirely. Perhaps you want to get your home into a more habitable state so that your kids can stay with you some weekends. This might involve hiring a handyman or carpenter or plumber to address the things that are broken or need attention.
You might seek therapy or counseling to help you deal with any anxieties, trauma, self-esteem issues, or mental health concerns.
Or you might hire a life coach who can help you with many of the points in this article. They can be on hand to help you set goals, organize your time, be productive, and change your mindset.
They can be there to motivate you, hold you accountable so that you actually take action, and guide you through the bumps in the road.
If you think you might be better placed to fix you life with a life coach by your side, you can click here to connect with one in your local area.
Whatever you need help with, there is bound to be someone you can turn to. And it’s often one of the smartest investments you’ll ever make.
16. Consider your direction of travel.
When your life seems broken, there’s an opportunity to reassess it entirely.
In fact, it’s only during challenging times that you’ll probably see the need to change the direction you are taking in life.
You have a choice now to fix things back to how they were before, or make changes in how you want to do things going forward.
Perhaps you can build a better future that looks quite different to your past, rather than going back to the status quo.
This can be daunting to even think about, but it is worth taking the time to at least consider alternative paths you could take.
Again, you might wish to talk to a certified life coach if you want to make radical changes to your life. They can guide you and help you figure out what your heart really wants to do.
And remember that few changes in life are irreversible. No new path is set in stone. You are always free to make more changes in the future, either back to what you had before or to some new and different option.
17. Stay in tune with your core values.
It is important for your peace of mind that the changes you make and the fixes you apply to your problems resonate with the type of person you are or wish to be.
You will feel more motivated to keep pushing forward when the goals you set align with your core values.
That’s not to say that every discomfort you feel is a sign that you aren’t being true to yourself.
Sometimes you have to push yourself and do things that aren’t easy or pleasant in the short term because they will lead to your longer-term goal.
As long as you aren’t hurting others and the vision you have for your future is one that you can see yourself happy in, you might have to experience some pain to get there.
That might mean taking risks, putting yourself out there, meeting new people, doing new things, learning new skills. These things won’t always be enjoyable, but they might be necessary to give you the kind of life you want.
You’ll know when something really feels wrong. It will provide no joy or release whatsoever (unlike the things listed above which can be emotionally rewarding).
If that happens, pause and reflect on what precisely feels wrong. Then stop doing that thing.
18. Work hard.
Facing up to an array of problems can be overwhelming. It can feel as though you’ll never be able to fix everything.
And whilst that may be true, you can undoubtedly do a lot more than you give yourself credit for.
You can work harder than you think. You can push the boundaries of what you are capable of in terms of your physical and mental capacity.
Most people live well within their limits for good reason. You can’t live life at your max for too long or you risk burning out.
But you can stay at that limit for a short period and get an awful lot done in that time.
As long as you remain aware of the physical and mental signs that tell you when you’re pushing too hard for too long, you can take your foot off the gas before you fall apart.
Then be sure to give yourself plenty of rest, live within your limits for a while, before ramping up your action once again and tackling more of your goals or problems.
19. Be patient.
Even when the correct action has been taken, results do not always show themselves right away.
You often have to wait patiently for things to happen. And you need to avoid losing motivation or momentum when things don’t improve instantly.
Keep doing the things you need to do, keep working hard, keep reminding yourself of why you are doing this.
Eventually the results you are waiting for will begin to show. Maybe just a little bit at a time in the beginning but more and more as you keep putting in the effort.
Patience and perseverance will reward you sooner or later.
20. Know when something is beyond your control.
Not every problem can be solved. Not everything that is broken can be fixed. Sometimes you can’t go back to how things were before, no matter how hard you try.
You can’t control every detail of your life. You can’t control the world around you – society, the economy, nature. And you certainly can’t control the thoughts and actions of other people.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to fix your life is to accept that you can only fix what you have the power to fix.
If something is outside your sphere of influence, you shouldn’t waste your precious time and energy trying to change it.
That doesn’t mean surrendering your life to external forces.
It means knowing when to fight and when not to.
It means adapting to the ever-changing reality of your situation in ways that you have control over.
And, sometimes, it means going with the flow even if it’s not taking you where you’d ideally like to be.
Still not sure how to address the issues in your life? Speak to a life coach today who can walk you through the process of finding solutions. Simply click here to connect with one.
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