Losing complete control of your life is, unfortunately, all too easy. Lack of structure and routine is something that snowballs until it feels overwhelming or even impossible to deal with. Maybe it starts with an unpacked suitcase after a trip or a room that grew increasingly messy. Maybe you fell off the wagon with your health, are missing important deadlines, or just stopped making time for the things you once prioritized.
As for me – I dealt with a lot of changes and two apartment moves over the past few months, and it completely threw me out of the routine I had set for myself. So, recently, I decided to tackle this problem head-on and hit “reset” on my life. Don’t we all just crave a fresh start now and then?
Below, I’ve listed the five things I am currently doing to get my life back on track. Done in the following order over the course of a month, I’ve found that these tips are extremely effective and make me feel motivated to keep up the momentum once the month is over.
As counterproductive as it is, we often feel so guilty about our lack of motivation that it actually holds us back from finding new motivation moving forward.
Sitting around feeling guilty isn’t going to get you anywhere. While it’s okay to want better for yourself and to want to take responsibility for areas of your life where you haven’t given your all recently, be mindful of the fact that this cycle happens to everyone. It’s natural, and there is pride to be found in how you choose to dig out of it.
What holds so many of us back is the limiting belief that we can’t dig out of it or that getting back on track will be difficult. The way I’ve addressed this in my own life is to remember times when I have proved the opposite to myself. There have been moments in the past when I was able to get out of a funk, create something beautiful out of a difficult situation, and find happiness even when things felt hopeless. With this in mind, I tell myself what a breeze it will be to do it “just once more”.
A great practice that I recommend to anyone trying to rid themselves of guilt and limiting beliefs is to use affirmations. Write down positive statements about yourself and all that you are capable of accomplishing. Write down the things you want to achieve as if you have already achieved them. Now, revisit them in your journal or tape them to your mirror, and repeat them to yourself every day.
“You’re telling me to clean my room?”
Yes. Yes, I am.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. For me personally, and for a lot of people I’ve spoken to about this, a clear and productive mind is best achieved in a clear space. Every time I go through my room and clean it really well – reorganizing and getting rid of the things I don’t want, need, or use – my mood is instantly lifted. I feel productive, motivated, and accomplished.
There is just something about sitting in a bright, clean, and decluttered space that makes me feel at peace. It makes room in my life for me to be more creative, and it shows me how good it feels to take responsibility for myself.
I think this comes down to the idea of control. The reason we want to hit “reset” on our lives to begin with is so that we can put ourselves back in control of our own lives. Cleaning your room or your home may seem like a small step in that direction, but it sets the groundwork for you to take back control in other areas of your life, as well.
People who write down their goals and frequently revisit them are much more likely to do the work required for those goals’ achievement. Grab a journal, sit down, and write out your big goals for the future, your short-term goals, and the habits you would like to change or develop.
Revisit this list often, really focusing on the work required of you, how far you’ve come, and the way you’re going to feel when you can finally check something off of the list. Personally, I’ve been meditating on these goals daily so that I can visualize and manifest them into reality (along with all of the hard work I’m doing, obviously!).
My biggest piece of advice for achieving these goals would be this: approach them as if they are non-negotiable. The fact that you’ve written them down will help keep you stay accountable to them. Additionally, you should get excited! Visualize the version of yourself that you could be one month from now if you just put in the effort today.
Speaking of “one month from now”, I believe that a month is the perfect amount of time to feel as if you have hit reset on your life. It is a long enough period of time that you will be able to build and change habits, but it is short enough that you will be able to stay focused on your goals without feeling overwhelmed or getting carried away with ideas for the future.
Look at your list of goals and set specific deadlines for each of them. Write them in your planner and start building a timeline of “mini-goals” that are going to get you closer to achieving the bigger ones. If you want to have accomplished something by the end of the month, what moves do you need to make each week to get there?
Again, I suggest using visualization here so that you can picture and get excited for the version of you that you’ll be by the time the month is over.
I know that a lot of creative-type people shudder at the idea of routine and schedule. However, I strongly believe that falling into enjoyable and healthy routines is the best way to create long-lasting habits. It’s also a great way to feel centered and mindful throughout the course of the day!
Going back to the idea of having control over your own life, a set routine will help you take charge of your day and the tasks you both need to and want to do. Structure is a good thing, especially when you get to build that structure yourself.
These routines could be big or small, and they should serve you in a way that makes you feel productive, happy, and like the version of yourself that you actually want to be. Maybe you start your day on the right foot by having a morning routine you do consistently. Maybe you set a routine to find discipline working from home. Maybe your life is stressful and you clear your head by grabbing the dog and going for a walk after dinner each evening. Whatever it is, find a routine that you enjoy and work it into your day in a way that makes achieving your goals more manageable.