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Last Updated on March 10, 2021

How to Get Your Life Back on Track When Things Are out of Control

How to Get Your Life Back on Track When Things Are out of Control

Are you wondering how to get your life back on track? First, you need to ask yourself this question: What is control, and what does it look like to you?

Does it mean having the proper balance between your personal and professional life, or is it more about having the skill to make quick decisions? Control is defined differently by each person, and every once in a while, we let that control slip out of our hands.

Once that control slips, we have two options: to grab hold of it, or completely let go, which then results in a domino effect.

Take Tom as an example of the domino effect.

Tom has a great job and goes to the gym regularly. He eats fairly balanced meals, and although he isn’t strict on his diet, he’s consciously aware of what goes into his body. He has a loving wife at home, and also picked up photography as a hobby outside of his work because his hobby makes him happy.

Now, Tom recently got thrown a project at work, and it has been stressing him out. He’s been taking his lunches at his desk, and it’s usually whatever is on-the-go. He tuned himself out in his social circles, rescheduled his anniversary dinner with his wife, and stopped going to the gym altogether. He tells himself, “I’ll make it up when this is done,” and continues to focus solely on the project at hand.

Months later, Tom has completed his project and is given a well-deserved accolade for his hard work. Although Tom feels accomplished, he feels a disconnect. His social circles have planned a gathering without him, he’s packed on several pounds from neglecting his diet and the gym, and although he makes up the anniversary dinner with his wife, she doesn’t seem genuinely interested anymore.

The moral of this story is that things usually feel out of control when we begin to neglect or ignore the things and people who matter to us, even if it’s temporary. It’s at these times that you may start wondering how to get my life back on track. It’s also about understanding that once you let one thing slide, it’ll become easier to let other things go, which will cause you to feel off balance.

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If this happens, there are things you can do to get back on track, eliminate bad habits, and live your life.

1. Do a Life Audit

Life audits are great to help you start paying attention to different areas of your life – career, intimate relationships, family relationships, emotional well-being, health, finances, spirituality, and creativity. When it comes to getting your life back on track, it’s best to assess where you are at this present moment.

There are many versions of the life audit[1], and it’s about finding a method that works for you. While some may prefer to work on a diagram, which is similarly called the Wheel of Life[2] others would rather answer a list of questions instead. And here at Lifehack, you can take the Life Assessment for free and understand more about your life. Take the assessment now and it’ll give you more clarity across the scales.

Wheel of Life Exercise

    When things are beginning to feel out of control, it’s usually a sign from the universe that you must check-in with yourself in order to get back on track. Sometimes, when life takes over and the busyness sets in, we neglect important and vital areas that cause us to sacrifice our health and overcompensate our time and energy in relationships and things that aren’t serving us.

    The first step is to check in and see how happy you are in these major life areas if you want to learn how to get your life back on track. Successful people are those who can be honest with themselves about which areas of their life need the most work.

    2. Regain Your Confidence

    Confidence is the root to how you show up every day and into the long-term. Showing up is more than getting up and going to work; it’s about showing up with an intention for the day.

    When things are spiraling out of control, it’s because you lack physical and mental clarity. Although confidence may seem an intangible element to grasp, it’s far more within reach than you think.

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    Think about what gives you confidence, and find things that correlate to that. If it’s feeling good about your body, commit to fitness. If it’s knowledge, learn from those you admire, or reach out to a mentor you would like to work with.

    Once you have control over how you show up everyday, you will feel more control in the other areas of your life.

    3. Carry out a Brain Dump

    On average, we have 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day.[3] Although it’s impossible to keep track of every single thought that crosses our mind, there is still an uncontrollable list that flows into our consciousness, which can get in the way when you want to know how to get back on track.

    Some of these thoughts spark inspiration or excitement, while others may trigger stress or feelings of being overwhelmed, which can get in the way of getting your life back on track. Eventually, a long list begins to appear, including things to do, daily chores, errands, people to see, project ideas, etc.

    Brain dumping helps declutter the mind and is a chance to bring all those ideas and thoughts onto paper in order to get back on track. By relieving some of that space, you now have room to focus.

    Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or feel that things are spinning out of control, take 15-20 minutes of brain dumping. This exercise isn’t supposed to have structure. Instead, do it free flowingly, and write everything that comes to mind.

    Afterward, you can begin shuffling through your notes, and prioritize them into different categories.

    4. Organize the Little Things

    When you feel like you don’t have control over the major events in your life, always remember you have control over the things that surround your space – literally. This means having control over how clean your house is, how organized your drawers are, if you eat healthy, how much money you spend, how often you see family and friends, etc.

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    The little things add up and can also help you feel like you’re regaining control of your life and reduce stress along the way. This is a great place to start if you want to learn how to get your life back on track.

    5. Define Your Purpose

    Redefining or identifying your purpose is a root that must be planted within you. This, in fact, is the core of building your motivation.

    If you want to learn how to identify this core motivation, you can join Lifehack’s free Fast-Track Class – Activate Your Motivation. It’s a free session that will guide you to do just that. Reserve your spot here.

    Diving into self awareness can help identify or define your purpose, and that is the core of you. Even in harsh weather, trees tend to stand firm, despite how strong the wind or rain may be. When you define your purpose, you’re building that strong base for yourself.

    When things seem to be spiraling, refer back to your purpose and the joy that comes from it. Let that root you as you try getting life back on track.

    6. Assess Your Time Management

    Time management is a life skill, and one that takes years to master. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to engage in multiple projects, but like everything else, it’s about moderation and portion sizes. Assess your day, and see how much of your time and energy go into certain areas and activities if you want to get your life back on track.

    For example, I had a client who worked two jobs. She was exhausted all the time and found herself stressed because she didn’t have any time to herself. She only had one day off, and it weighed heavily on her emotionally, mentally, and even physically.

    For one week, I had asked her to write down how much time she was actually spending doing different activities, including work, recreation, and errands. After physically writing it down, we discovered that her work actually took 75 hours of her time a week and an additional 14 hours of that commuting. She only averaged about 5 hours a sleep at night and ran her errands in between work shifts that left her with only one day to spend with family.

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    The next step was looking at the time she had spent and if having two jobs was worth the mental and physical exhaustion. Afterwards, we broke down how much she was realistically earning.

    After having a clearer picture, I had asked her if it was worth keeping two jobs. She answered no.

    Sometimes, it takes a bit of breaking things down and seeing where your time is spent, with whom, and if it’s aligned to your needs.

    7. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

    When things feel like they are stacking against our favor, sometimes we’re quick to put pressure on ourselves to get our life back on track immediately, which can negatively affect our mental health.

    Although there’s no one solution to help you learn how to get your life back on track overnight, understand that it’s a series of steps towards a specific goal.

    Routines are built through consistency and patience. Actions that consists of “re”– redoing, reinventing, reassessing–means to do something again or differently. Know that this process does take time, and maybe time is what you need first.

    The Bottom Line

    When life seems to be out of our control, it’s also a sign to slow down and reassess where we are in life. Oftentimes, when things start crumbling all at once, it’s an indicator that we have lost the balance that centers our lives.

    Acquiring balance is a lifelong lesson and changes with major life events and throughout time. Next time you feel like everything is happening at once, know that it’s also another opportunity to rebuild and get back on track.

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    More on How to Get Your Life Back on Track

    Featured photo credit: Dmitry Vechorko via unsplash.com

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    Akina Chargualaf

    Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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    Last Updated on July 22, 2021

    How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business

    How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business

    Remember the day you launched your own business? You had spent months or years developing your idea. You may have sacrificed a steady job to become the master of your professional destiny. Having entrepreneur motivation was easy, natural, and energizing in the beginning.

    So, why are you struggling to stay motivated now when you need it most? Your business, after all, isn’t going to build itself.

    Nearly everything in life experiences cycles. The solar system, hormones, your washing machine—and yes, even motivation. Movement is inherent in cycles. If you stop moving, your business simply grinds to a halt, and you may find yourself looking for a job after all.

    The mere threat of stagnation should be enough to get your entrepreneur motivation mojo back online. If that’s not enough, here are eight ways you can stay motivated as you build your business.

    1. Recognize That Business Motivation Doesn’t Last on Its Own

    Ironically, the first step in staying motivated is realizing that motivation doesn’t last—at least not without some effort. Think of the verbs associated with motivation, such as “incite,” “stimulate,” and “inspire.” They all speak to elevating something low.

    Highs and lows, ebbs and flows, are all cyclical. There are days when you have so much you want to accomplish that you won’t have the hours. On others, you may struggle to even get dressed. As does every aspect of your business, motivation requires constant care and feeding. So, don’t despair during those times you feel bottomed out. Recall the almost manic thrill you get when your entrepreneur motivation seems to be unstoppable and concentrate on recapturing it.

    Motivation neither just happens nor lasts. It takes focus, drive, and a conscious effort. When it lags, roll up your sleeves, choose a task, and get back to the business-building at hand.

    2. Expand Your Network

    No business or entrepreneur can operate in a bubble. Connection to customers, vendors, employees, and other entrepreneurs is vital to growing a business. It’s also motivational. I find that one of the things that makes me most energized about my business is the connections I make while networking.[1]

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    Networking effectively is about give and take, which means you only get as good as you give. Be generous with your thoughts, ideas, and connections, and others will reciprocate.

    These days, there are myriad networking channels to choose from. There are the tried-and-true conferences, industry and professional organizations, and even your local Chamber of Commerce. But the internet and social media have vastly expanded the opportunities to connect with other empire-building, ambitious people.

    If you aren’t networking because you didn’t think it was worth your time, get out there. Not only will you pick up some great ideas, but you’ll also find yourself reinspired. Few things are as motivating as encountering other people’s enthusiasm for your business.

    3. Focus on Your Goals

    We all know that goals are important. If we fail to set them, how do we know when we have achieved something? In business, as in life, we need targets.

    For me, having a goal focus is intrinsically motivational. Have you met all the business goals you set previously?[2] Then, it’s time to set some new and even more ambitious ones than before.

    Keep in mind that business goals can be moving targets, as circumstances change and reality sets in. What you must avoid is allowing yourself or your business to be paralyzed by indecision.

    As Yogi Berra said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

    The mere exercise of setting goals is energizing, so use the process when you’re in a slump. Make sure you set realistic goals—neither too high nor too low. Once the big ones are in place, establish mileposts so you know your business is on the right path.

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    4. Stay True to Your Mission (or Find a New One)

    Unlike goals, the mission of your business should not be a moving target. While a mission can and should be reassessed periodically, it must, nonetheless, remain a constant for a significant period of time. That’s because it should be driving everything you do.

    The world changes quickly. Customers, technology, markets, workforces, and supply chains are in a constant state of flux. In my business, the challenge has always been to respond to change while remaining true to our mission.[3] On this point, Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept is spot on.[4]

    According to Collins, your mission can be found at the intersection of three key truths about your enterprise:

    1. What you’re deeply passionate about
    2. What you can be best in the world at
    3. What drives your economic or resource engine

    You should find motivation in the mission of your business. If you don’t, perhaps you aren’t passionate about it, can’t be the best in the world at it, or aren’t making money delivering it. If that’s the case, find a mission that intersects, and you’ll rediscover your entrepreneur motivation.

    5. Celebrate Wins and Learn From Losses

    Too many times, business owners fail to celebrate wins and learn from losses. That’s unfortunate because both wins and losses are two well-known secrets of entrepreneur motivation. If you aren’t treating them as the motivators they are, you should be.

    Go back to those goals you set when you started your business. Have you achieved them?

    If you did, have you taken the time to celebrate those wins with your stakeholders? If you haven’t reached them, figure out why, make adjustments, and try to turn them into wins. Wallowing in losses instead of learning from them and moving on is a sure way to lose motivation.

    Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins as well. In my company, we ring a gong every time we land a new client so the small victory reverberates through the office. Doing this builds our confidence, generates enthusiasm, and motivates our team to aim higher. I recommend finding your own way to acknowledge the small wins that are necessary to achieve those major victories your business needs to flourish.

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    When a lack of motivation sets in, take stock of everything you have accomplished. Pat yourself on the back and bask in the glow of achievement. That pause may be all you need to motivate you to achieve more success.

    6. Identify Your Disruptive Powers

    When you launched your business, were you just joining the pack? Or did you want to fill a gaping, empty market niche? Odds are, you believed you had a solution to a problem that no other business was figuring out.

    Take Uber, Netflix, and Blue Apron. They disrupted the taxi, movie, and food industries by putting a revolutionary spin on the traditional way of doing business. In doing so, they solved problems the market wasn’t even aware it had.

    The business you’re building may not be the next Tesla, but that doesn’t mean it can’t disrupt an industry, a sector, or just your local business community. You might discover a new customer service paradigm or a way to use technology that no one else has.

    You can’t be innovative without being motivated, and if you aren’t motivated, your business will only achieve the status quo. So, start imagining ways you can disrupt your industry to kickstart your motivation. Even little ripples can turn into serious waves.

    7. Spend Some Time Away

    Building a business is exhausting during normal times. Throw in the stress and radical changes accompanying a global pandemic, and life can become overwhelming. This can lead to depression, indecision, paralysis, or even sheer panic.

    You can’t control the world, but you can control your response to what’s happening. Start by stopping your attempts to do it all and set some priorities instead. When overwhelmed with life, one of those priorities must be yourself.

    Spend some time away from work to recharge. A bit of respite is the only way you can replace the energy and inspiration sapped by a turbulent world. Work to overcome the feeling that your business can’t run without you, especially when your lack of motivation isn’t doing it any favors anyway.

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    A little rest and relaxation may be all you need to return to the office reinvigorated. If your break involves travel, exposure to different places and cultures might even spark new trains of thought. You will be motivated to pick up where you left off and get back to growing your business.

    8. Remain Customer-Centric

    Whatever widget or widget service you sell, you have customers. Your lack of motivation does a disservice to a market looking to your business for solutions. When your business motivation wanes, think of those customers counting on you to succeed.

    Keeping your eye on your customers isn’t a distraction from building your business. The most successful companies in the world are extremely customer-centric. Think about Apple’s uncanny ability to anticipate customer needs or Google’s cloud-based growth stemming from empathy for the challenges facing their customers.

    Perhaps, there is a relationship between your lack of motivation and customer neglect. Remaining vigilant about their needs will determine whether or not your business is successful. To conduct surveys, read customer reviews, and do market research to discover those needs. After all, if you aren’t solving their problems, what are you doing?

    When the noise from the daily demands of running a business gets too loud, tune it out. Listen to what your customers are saying about you and what they’re asking for. Responding to them will require focus, as you are motivated by your dream to build a successful business.

    Final Thoughts

    Motivation is movement, action—a driving force of human nature. Although it waxes and wanes as naturally as the lunar cycle, restoring business motivation can require a concentrated effort. It’s an effort you’ll want to make because a prolonged lack of motivation is deadly.

    If you lack the motivation to eat, you starve. If you lack the motivation to drive in your lane, you crash. If you lack the motivation to build your business, you fail.

    You are obviously a highly motivated individual. If you weren’t, you never would have started a business of your own. Entrepreneurs are, at their cores, a rare and uniquely inspired breed.

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    So, when your entrepreneur motivation flatlines, don’t give up. Whether the spark comes from a personal connection, a new goal, a brief vacation, or a customer comment, there are ways to get yourself back on the business-building track again.

    Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

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