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Last Updated on April 22, 2020

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?

But first, 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 the 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 into a domino effect.

Take Tom for example – Tom is 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. Due to the domino effect of things happening, he doesn’t even feel motivated to pick up his camera.

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The moral of this story is that things usually feel out of control when we begin to brush, neglect, or ignore the things and people who matter to us even if it’s temporary. It’s also about understanding that once you let one thing slide, it’ll become easier letting other things go which will turn into a domino of things that will cause us to feel off balance.

The key is always balance.

Here are several ways to help you get your life back on track:

1. Do a Life Audit

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

There are many versions of the life audit, 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,[1] others would rather prefer to answer a list of questions instead.

The overall goal is to give you more clarity across the scales.

When things are beginning to feel out of control, it’s usually a sign from the universe that you must check-in with yourself. 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.

2. Regain Your Confidence

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

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When things are spiraling out of control, it’s because of the lack of grasp of physically and mentally. Although confidence may seem an intangible element to grasp, it’s far more in reach than you think.

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. Brain Dump

On average, we have from 50,000- 70,000 thoughts per day.[2] 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.

Some of these thoughts spark inspiration or excitement, while others may trigger stress or feelings of being overwhelmed. Eventually a long list of things begin 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. 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 but 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, how much money you spend on hobbies, food, necessities, etc.

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The little things add up and can also help you feel like you’re regaining control of your life.

5. Define Your Purpose

Redefining or identifying your purpose is a root that must be planted within you. Like nature itself, a seed must be planted in order to sprouts into a tree and harvest fruits.

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 still and firm despite how strong the wind or rain may be.

When things seem to be spiraling out, refer back to your purpose and the joy that come from it. Let that root you back.

6. Assess Your Time Management

Time management is a life skill and one that takes years to master. My father used to tell me, “your plate is too full,” when I would feel overwhelmed, which shortly results to a mental breakdown. Yes, I was overwhelmed, but a lot of the stress could have been alleviated if I managed my time more efficiently.

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 in your day.

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.

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.

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

Sometimes, it take 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 may feel like they are stacking against our favor, sometimes we’re quick to put pressure on ourselves to get back on track– immediately.

Although there’s no one solution to get you 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 essentially 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. Often times 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 learning lesson and changes with major life events and throughout time. Next time when you feel like everything is happening at once, know that it’s also another opportunity to rebuild and restart something different.

Featured photo credit: Louis Lo via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

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 October 22, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance)

The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance)

It is easy to hear the term “self-critical” and be immediately put off. After all, it’s difficult to be our own critics. However, utilizing self-criticism means taking a more self-aware path to ensure that you aren’t overlooking any possible areas of self-improvement.

Self-criticism affects your self-esteem and can be a useful tool to identify patterns of weakness that you can look to eradicate by adapting your behavior.

Self-Criticism Vs Self-Deprecation

In exploring the idea of self-criticism, one has to first consider what it means for the individual. It’s important to remember that there is a significant difference between being self-critical and being self-deprecating.

Self-deprecation is the act of putting oneself down, sometimes in an attempt to be humorous, but oftentimes out of a place of doubt and insecurity[1].

Self-deprecation erodes one’s confidence. It isn’t something to use lightly, as your own self-talk will play a part in defining your existence and how you are perceived, and, more importantly, in how you perceive yourself.

At the same time, you can’t take yourself so seriously that you are unable to make light of your mistakes as you pursue self-improvement. There is, of course, a balance to be struck, and both self-criticism and self-deprecation can be utilized in moderation.

Learning the difference between the two is the key to pursuing a productive life that will allow your successes to compound and your failures to be reduced. While self-deprecation can highlight flaws in your approach to life, self-criticism is more concerned with addressing those flaws and then acting to correct them.

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Self-Criticism: A Roadmap for Positive Change

Self-evaluation as a tool can open your eyes to the problematic behaviors that are derailing your goals. By identifying those behaviors, you can identify the steps to become the best version of yourself.

“Your thoughts affect how you feel and how you behave. The way you think has the power to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” -Amy Morin[2]

This idea underlines the importance of not allowing self-criticism to blur into the realm of self-deprecating behavior. That will only work against you as you are attempting to constructively analyze your own behavior.

Auditing is necessary and good. Look at industries across the board and you will find that the most successful companies, people, and products have worked hard to refine their final output. Auditing your life, schedule, clients, contacts, and more will help you to identify the good from the bad.

If you don’t look back on what you’ve done and allow yourself to be self-critical of the areas that created more problems and less results, how will you learn how to avoid those missteps in your future endeavors?

Auditing with critical thoughts will allow you to build your own map to success by targeting behaviors that are ineffective in your pursuit of goals, and it will help you realize the changes that need to take place in order to correct for those inefficiencies.

The Pros of Being Self-Critical

Self-Criticism Opens Your Eyes to Areas of Improvement

In life, you ought to be your biggest fan and instill the confidence in yourself to show the world that you are worthy of the life that you’ve achieved up until now.

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At the same time, however, you need to have the self-awareness to understand that you can feel like a million bucks while still having room for improvement. Learn to be self-critical enough to increase your overall success in the pursuit of your goals.

You can check out this TED Talk with Tasha Eurich to learn more on how to improve your self-awareness:

We all need to look in the mirror at times and work to identify the deficiencies in our own behavior in order to find room for improvement. So many people live their lives in a manner that allows no room for self-reflection and thus are missing out on key opportunities.

For example, many people complain about not having the money to save for retirement, but instead of working to identify a solution, they assume that it cannot be fixed. Some of those individuals might find that if they challenge themselves and open themselves up to criticism, they may find the source of their problem.

Perhaps they don’t have a proper budget in place and are spending more money than they bring in on a week-to-week basis. Being self-critical would help them realize this.

I’d argue that if we all spent more energy evaluating our place in life, how we got there, and where we want to go, it would clear up what is missing from the equation.

Self-Criticism Allows You to Realize Your Potential

By working to analyze your own behaviors and identify areas that need to be improved upon, you will be able to better strive to reach your full potential in life and unlock success.

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Being self-critical will help you to go from where you are now to where you want to be, and it will increase your self-awareness. There are so many positives to be gained by adopting a self-critical attitude.

Read more about self-improvement: 42 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself

The Cons of Being Self-Critical

Self-Criticism Can Overemphasize Negatives

The problems that could arise if one is overly self-critical are not always clear, but there are a few issues that can pop up if you start being too hard on yourself.

If you are self-critical too often and don’t allow space in your own audit of yourself for praise, celebration, and reassurance in your victories, then you may be on a path of negative self-talk and perhaps even depression.

If you are constantly looking for what is wrong with your actions or pursuits while failing to see what you are doing right, then you aren’t utilizing self-criticism properly. While the line is thin, there is definitely a difference between appropriate, foundation-building self-criticism, and over-zealous, confidence-eroding self-deprecation.

Self-Criticism Can Lead to Negative Distortions of Yourself

One struggle I often see in individuals is with their own perception of self. If you have been raised to believe that you are a failure, for example, then you may not have a healthy expectation of yourself.

By being overly self-critical, you might be distorting your own self-image. The key here lies in utilizing the device of self-criticism correctly, which many people often do not do.

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If utilized properly, self-criticism can be a fantastic tool, but if used incorrectly, it can have devastating effects on your own self-worth and confidence.

Final Thoughts

When used properly, self-criticism can be a tool for success.

We must work hard to ensure that we are in fact exercising a constructive analysis of our own behavior and not falling into self-deprecation.

Unfortunately, it seems as though many view the idea of being self-critical with a negative connotation. However, it can be an extremely positive and fruitful exercise if pursued with the right mindset.

It helps tremendously when you have a community of friends and family who also help to uplift you and encourage you as you are pursuing your dreams in life.

In evaluating your own situation and in attempting to constructively self-criticize, you should also take a look at the people you surround yourself with to try and better understand if those individuals are helping you in your aspirations or if they are holding you back as you work to better yourself.

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn[3]

If you work to adopt a healthy version of self-criticism and avoid allowing it to delve into self-deprecation or self-doubt, then it will serve you well as a tool to lend support to your goals and aspirations.

More Tips About Building Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Elijah O’Donnell via unsplash.com

Reference

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