11 Tips To Start Getting Your Life Back On Track

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Many of us will experience situations in which we seem to hit rock bottom. We often “wake up” from a trance-like state and find ourselves surrounded by the broken remnants of our lives, wondering how we got there and how we’re going to get out.

Fortunately, if you’re reading this article and asking yourself “How do I get my life back on track?”  then you’re taking a huge step forward.

The tips listed below can help you regroup and start moving forward, regardless of how you got into this mess to begin with.

It’s time to get your life together—are you ready?

Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you get your life back on track. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.

1. Accept that change is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t last forever.

Many people find that their lives have veered off course because they’ve avoided things that made them uncomfortable.

For example, a person may stay in an unhealthy relationship that deteriorates over time because they either don’t want to disrupt the family dynamic, or are worried that they couldn’t take care of themselves on their own.

But if you want to make positive changes in your life, you need to accept that it means facing some uncomfortable, even gut-wrenching realities.

But you won’t always face these challenging moments—things will feel easier once you get your life back to where you want it to be.

Acknowledge that change is necessary and recognize that you are more than capable of taking the action required to get back on the right path.

2. Simplify things that stress you out.

One of the best things you can do is to make a list of the actions that you might take to tackle the issues you’re facing.

For example, if you’ve fallen severely behind in bill payments, determine how that happened and then change the way you’ve been handling this chore up until now.

Many people find it easier to have bill payments automatically deducted from their bank accounts on a specific day of the month. That’s one less thing they have to remember while also juggling things like childcare and work deadlines.

If there are things—big or small—that weigh on your mind or often lead to problems, find ways to simplify them.

Do whatever you can to ease the mental and emotional burden that even the most mundane parts of life can put on you.

3. Focus on what you can control.

If things have gone badly but you still want to sort them out for yourself, you might be feeling helpless and lost.

It may seem as though there are no viable options for digging yourself out of whatever darkness and despair you’re in.

But there are always options available–you just can’t see them right now because your own turmoil is obscuring your view.

In times like this, the best thing you can do is focus on the small things you can control with relative ease.

Here are a couple of things that can help you move forward toward getting your life back on track.

Take a shower or bath.

This sounds like an insignificant, commonplace thing, but it’s also a ritual of renewal. When you’re feeling lost and floundering, you can hit “reset” by getting into or underneath water and wiping the slate clean, so to speak.

Try to view it as a ritual. Choose a soap that makes you feel great and light candles if that’s something you enjoy. Put on music that soothes your soul and lay out a fresh set of clothes to change into.

Approach this as a hard reset for moving forward and you’ll notice that you actually feel different once the last suds have disappeared down the drain.

Do one productive thing.

If you’re focusing on getting your life back on track, you likely have a massive “to-do” list, either in your mind or written down somewhere. That’s great, but it can also be a hindrance.

When there are a million things you need to do to sort out your life, you may freeze up. Some people shut down in the face of such seemingly insurmountable tasks, while others procrastinate and avoid them.

Try not to think about “all the things” you need to do, and simply do ONE of them.

You may not be able to control the circumstances around all the other stuff that needs to get done, but you know what you can do?

Something. Big or small, you can take one action.

That might mean tidying up one space in your home. It might mean sending one important email. It might even mean a little personal grooming if you’ve fallen behind on that.

There are lots of simple ways to make your life better, but you can’t do them all at once. Slow and steady wins the race, so just take one step at a time.

Don’t waste energy on things you can’t control—such as the past.

Most things are beyond your control. As such, there’s no point in obsessing about them.

For instance, you may feel anger or resentment about how someone treated you a decade ago, but you can’t go back in time and change anything about that situation. Recognize that it’s time to close the book on what happened rather than bringing it back up and chewing on it to your detriment.

Learn to identify what is and is not within your sphere of control. Ask yourself, “Can I influence this situation or outcome through my actions?” If the answer is yes, then take that action. If the answer is no, then adjust your mindset to not waste time and energy fretting about it.

4. Learn from your past mistakes.

While it’s natural to want to forget about past failures, it’s important to reflect on them and use them as opportunities for growth and learning.

To begin, take some time to reflect on past mistakes and failures. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • What did I learn from this experience?

Be honest with yourself about your role in the situation and what you could have done better.

But also be kind to yourself and remember that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process.

We tend to view mistakes as failures and feel ashamed or embarrassed when we make them. It’s easy to beat yourself up over past mistakes, but this can be counterproductive.

Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, use them as opportunities to learn and grow. Don’t use past mistakes as a reason to avoid challenges—this will only keep you where you are now.

Don’t repeat the same mistakes you made before—learn from them.

5. Audit your circle.

Knowing whom you shouldn’t be spending time with is incredibly important. When you’re bouncing back from whatever hole you’ve found yourself in, be selective about the company you keep.

There are those whose hands (and words) will help pull you out of it and those that want to shove you back down again.

We often keep people in our lives longer than we should out of obligation or misplaced loyalty. But people flow in and out of our lives all the time: for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you are surrounded by the right people:

Take note of who raises you up, and who puts you down.

As you’re getting your life back on track, keep a list of all the people in your life and make notes about the ways they behave toward you.

If they’re constantly criticizing instead of encouraging you and offering to help you, then it may be time to cut them loose.

If you can’t cut ties for various reasons, then create distance. Don’t interact with them unless you absolutely have to and remain in “gray rock” mode if and when you do.

Spend time with those who teach and inspire you.

We often take on the traits, behaviors, and skills of those we spend time with.

Think about people you know who seem to have their stuff together. Spend time with them and learn from their habits so you can incorporate their practices into your own life.

6. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.

It’s likely that many of the challenges you’ve experienced up until this point have caused you distress, and even led you to where you are now.

As such, you may shy away from challenges because you assume you’ll end up getting hurt. Maybe you think that if you never try anything, you won’t risk feeling incompetent.

Instead, see these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.

Challenges force us to learn new skills or different ways of doing something, especially if the way we’ve been doing something has not been working.

Challenges forge resilience within us. We learn how to persevere and how to bounce back when things don’t go to plan.

Challenges can build our self-confidence and self-esteem as we accomplish the things we set out to do.

So embrace the challenges of life. Don’t hide from them.

7. Set realistic, achievable goals for yourself.

If you’re trying to get your life back on track, you’ll want to set some solid goals to achieve.

Aim for “SMART” goals: those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive.

This requires you to be clear about the things you want to attain, have means with which to measure your progress, and set a period of time in which to get them done.

Here are some more important parts of setting goals:

Envision where you want to be.

Consider where you want to be a year from now, and set goals that align with that vision.

Then determine a work-back schedule for the milestones you want to meet, with each step clearly laid out.

Let’s say mental health concerns have caused you to let your home fall into chaos. You can determine that a year from today, your house will be clean and repaired where it needs to be.

Now you’ll set achievable goals: let’s say every month, you’ll have completely sorted out ONE room in your home. This can then be divided into four main tasks—one to be done each week—as well as smaller goals to achieve each day.

For example:

Month One: Clean Bedroom

Week one:

  • Wash and put away any clothes lying around.
  • Discard unwanted clothes and garbage that has accumulated.

Week two:

  • Dust all surfaces.
  • Eliminate clutter by putting random things away.

Week three:

  • Vacuum the carpet or wash the floor if hardwood.

Week four:

  • Wash and change bedding (then make the bed every morning).

These are all easily managed because they encompass just one main task a week. At the end of the month, that one room will have been sorted out. After that, it’s simply a question of maintenance to keep sheets clean and clutter from accumulating.

Get organized.

Get a large wall calendar and write down your goals so that you get constant visual reminders. Then set phone or email alerts to remind you what to do, and when.

Additionally, use routines and “habit stacking” as a means of staying on track.

For example, get into the habit of washing dishes as soon as you finish a meal so they don’t pile up.

As for habit stacking, consider something you do regularly that you can “stack” onto. Do you do your weekly grocery shopping every Saturday afternoon? Then clean out your fridge every Saturday morning to discard old items and make room for the new ones.

Learn new skills where necessary.

If there is something you can’t do that would help you to achieve your goals, see if there is a way you can learn that skill.

This might mean checking out some YouTube videos, reading a book, or even taking a course at your local evening school for something more involved.

Don’t allow a skills deficit to hold you back from getting your life to a place where you would like it to be.

8. Stay the course with discipline, motivation, and patience.

Nothing worth achieving ever happened overnight. It’s going to take time to build back up from the place you’re in now, and that’s okay.

The key is to ensure that you remain diligent with your efforts rather than getting slack about them.

Having patience is not always easy because we want immediate change and improvement, especially when things are so dire now.

Keep yourself motivated with little rewards—as well as with pride in your accomplishments—and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Here are 2 more vital tips to keep you going, even when things get tough:

Course-correct as needed.

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes our plans don’t work out as we intended. When this happens, it’s important to be flexible and adapt to the new circumstances.

One way to make course-corrections is to regularly evaluate your progress toward your goals. Are you making the progress you hoped for? Are there any obstacles or setbacks that are preventing you from moving forward? If so, take some time to reassess your plan and make adjustments as needed.

Another way to make course-corrections is to seek feedback from others. Sometimes, we can be too close to our own goals to see where we might be going off track. Ask trusted friends, family members, or colleagues for their input on your progress and any areas where they think you could improve.

Finally, don’t be afraid to pivot if necessary. Sometimes, the best course-correction is to change your goals entirely. If you find that your current path is no longer fulfilling or leading you in the direction you want to go, it’s okay to make a change. Just make sure that any new goals are aligned with your values and priorities, and that you’re willing to put in the work to achieve them.

Make self-care a priority.

When we talk about “self-care,” we mean that you make it a priority to ensure that your physical, mental, and emotional needs are being met.

Many people overextend themselves when trying to get back on track and end up getting sick. It’s admirable to be dedicated to getting yourself into a better place, but not if it comes at a cost to your well-being.

Get enough sleep and take regular breaks to engage in pursuits you truly enjoy. You may want to get yourself out of difficulty as quickly as possible, but you’ll end up shooting yourself in the foot if you run yourself ragged in this pursuit.

Consider putting the following into practice:

  • Make a defined schedule and keep to it so you don’t overwork yourself.
  • Get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly.
  • Turn off devices an hour before bed and either read, journal, or meditate to wind down for sleep.
  • Choose nutrient-dense foods that nourish you rather than convenience items that will spike blood sugar levels and leave you hungry and irritable.
  • Spend time with those who bring you joy.
  • Be creative in ways that matter to you.

In addition to these day-to-day actions, check in with yourself regularly to see if you’re holding up okay or being worn too thinly.

The goal here is to get your life back on track in a new direction, not fall into the same groove you got stuck in.

9. Reflect on your goals and actions regularly to ensure you do the right things as often as possible

It’s important to reflect on the actions you’re taking to achieve your goals. Are these actions aligned with your values and priorities? Are they helping you move closer to your goals, or are they a distraction?

If you find that you’re spending a lot of time on activities that don’t feel “right” or aren’t helping you get back on track, consider cutting back or eliminating them.

Set aside time each week or month to assess your progress, identify challenges, and learn from your experiences. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and use your reflections to make a plan for the future.

By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling life.

Here are 2 more pieces of advice with regard to doing the right things as much as you can:

Have an accountability partner you can trust.

An accountability partner is someone who helps keep you motivated and on track toward your goals by providing support, encouragement, and feedback.

To find an accountability partner, look for someone who shares similar goals or values, and ideally, someone who has faced similar struggles to those you face now.

This could be a friend, family member, colleague, or even a coach or mentor. Choose someone who you trust and who will hold you accountable for your actions.

Set up regular check-ins with your accountability partner to discuss progress and challenges. Be honest, listen to feedback, and make adjustments as needed.

Your partner should be a source of motivation and positive reinforcement while keeping you focused on the actions you need to take to get your life back on track.

Find balance—don’t overstretch yourself.

No matter what you do in life, the middle road is almost always the right route to take. When a pendulum has swung too far in one direction, momentum will often cause it to swing too far in the opposite direction.

Learn to listen to yourself, read the signs your body and mind are sending you, and push only as hard as is sustainable in the long term.

If you’re working at a constant deficit in terms of what you can realistically achieve, you’ll grind yourself down and might end up right back in the pit you’re trying to escape from.

10. Celebrate and reward progress.

It’s important to keep yourself inspired as you move toward the place you want to be.

Having regular rewards can improve your morale and give you things to look forward to, which can be a great motivation when and if you feel your willpower flagging.

Here are a couple of tips to ensure that your reward system works effectively:

Have rewards that reflect your goals.

One of the best ways to keep going is to have rewards that align with the goals you’re setting for yourself.

For example, if you’ve been working towards getting yourself a new place to live and you’ve made progress on that front, you could reward yourself by buying a housewarming present that you’d like. Even if you aren’t in that new place yet, this lovely item will inspire you to keep going.

Remember, however, that the greatest reward is the accomplishment itself, not the cookie that you get for doing a good job. Hold to a more mature mindset and learn to appreciate the fruits of your labor rather than external validations.

Remember that done is better than perfect.

Don’t beat yourself up if something you do isn’t exactly right or exactly how you want it to be. Accept that most things only need to be “good enough,” not perfect.

If we’re using the clean house example we established earlier, aim for “tidy and comfortably lived in” rather than “immaculate and sterilized.”

If you can see your kitchen counters (and they’re tidy), and you have clean sheets on your bed, that’s okay. That’s good. You don’t have to be perfect—just functional.

Focus on the process—and your progress—rather than the outcome.

11. Find or build a support system.

It’s vitally important to acknowledge when you need help and to use all available resources to support you as you move forward.

You’ve reflected upon how you got into this mess and are resolved to never go down that path again. Now you’ll need to establish a support system that will prevent you from repeating past errors.

In addition to friends, family members, and accountability partners, you can see which supports are available around you. If you’re part of a faith community, there may be counselors or volunteers who can help you out, whether that’s with hands-on help or respite care for dependents so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Get professional help.

If you’re stuck on figuring out how to get your life back on track, especially if you’re coming from a place where you’ve lost everything, consider getting professional help.

No matter what circumstances you’re in, there are people who can assist you with counseling and resources so you can move forward.

If you’re in a financial hole and have no idea how to get out of it, you can speak to a financial adviser to devise a strategy that could work for you. Similarly, if you’re in a bad place because of alcohol or drug addiction, reach out to organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Additionally, a therapist can help you work through issues that contributed to your difficulties. They can also offer you support as you move forward, particularly when you feel anxious or discouraged about the road ahead.

BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

As long as you’re still drawing breath, you can get your life back on track. There are things you can do to fix your life, often with a little help and support. Take a deep breath, your journey is renewed right here, right now.

You can do this.

About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.