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Published on January 15, 2019

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 April 17, 2019

15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

If you get stuck feeling unmotivated, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief to learn there are simple, yet high impact, changes that will steer you back on track.

Here are 15 tips that will not only restore your motivation for success but raise it so you can pursue your personal definition of a successful and happier life.

1. Practice Looking at the Glass Being Half Full When Life Is Challenging

This is not as easy to do if you feel like you’re unsuccessfully playing dodgeball in most areas of your life. Practice short bursts of radical acceptance[1] paired with looking for fine threads of your day you are grateful for that bring you happiness.

It will feel strange at first but with time your brain’s neuro-circuitry gets fitting in focusing on what motivates and inspires you.

Start practicing this exercise at times during the day when you feel okay, so then when rough times hit, your ability to rebound will be more automatic. However, you need to practice.

Before you know it, your battles will become like a walk in the park!

2. Review the Happiness Level of Your Everyday Social Network

Jim Rohn’s famous saying:

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

It is not gospel. But in examining whether or not your relationships support, encourage, inspire, educate and nurture you, you actually need to look beyond those five people.

Social science professors James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis explain how we need to look at our third degree of separation to identify those who influence our happiness in our social relationships.[2]

People are generally happier because their first-level friends are also central to a happy network of people. To increase your motivation and happiness, don’t just look at your friends. Look at your friends’ friends!

3. Clean up Your Relationships — Work and Personal

Do you ever ask yourself what aspects of your relationships are healthy for you and bring you happiness? Do you also consider what you contribute to those and whether doing also brings you happiness?

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It’s time to not only reflect on what you gain from relationships but what contributions you can make to help them further flourish.

Caution! Over-helping is not the answer here. Sometimes you need to cull the time you spend with certain people. However, it’s about being more accountable and choosing to improve how you want to show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally.

Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task. Cleaning up and stepping up will continually motivate you. You’ll heighten that positive vibration of your everyday existence.

4. Develop a Personal Development Plan for Your Own Definition of Success and Happiness

Goal-setting isn’t just for helping us attain better cars, houses or greater income. When you change goal focus to become the person required to obtain those things, your goals expand beyond tangible limits. Having a personal development plan is essential.

Draw a circle and divide it up into pie segments (like having spokes on a wheel) that represent the following areas of your life:

  • Finances and money
  • Intimate relationships
  • Friends and social relationships
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Spirituality and religion
  • Hobbies, leisure and fun activities
  • Vocation, career and work

The center point of your circle represents zero. Zero means you are least satisfied. The outer circumference of your circle is ten. Ten means you are the most satisfied and content.

For each area, plot on the spoke your current rating of satisfaction. Then, review each area again and denote on the spoke what level of satisfaction you desire.

See where the differences between your current and desired satisfaction levels are smallest. These may be the easiest areas to start brainstorming the changes you want to experience. Some areas won’t be as important to you to make changes. Others will be. Working with an impartial coach can greatly help to flesh out clarity.

Regularly doing this exercise (e.g. every quarter) will reignite your motivation and keep you on the path to reach greater success and happiness.

5. Invest in Personal Development

Your personal development plan will give you strong clues as to what programs, books, podcasts, networking groups and social activities to tap into. But be wary of the bright, shiny object syndrome and well-meaning friends and family projecting their countless recommendations on to you!

Be gracious and thankful for their advice and guidance (even though it can often be uninvited!), choose wisely and make your own decisions.

Focus on the challenges you face now. Are you experiencing problems with your significant other? Are your children suffering from bullying at school and you’re unsure how to help them?

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Perhaps you are experiencing a plateau in work satisfaction or your business is experiencing a slump. Whatever problems are present for you now, explore activities and education that will help you solve those.

6. Invest in Experiences, Not Material Things

Splashing your cash on physical possessions to reward yourself won’t just send you bankrupt. When you constantly rely on external things to motivate you, you’re in real danger of never being satisfied.

Instead, ignite your motivation internally by investing in experiences which allow you to feel those feelings you believe you will have when you’re successful.

If becoming a public speaker is a dream you have, invest in Toastmasters or a public speaking program. If whisking you and your partner away for a luxury weekend at a second’s notice fits your definition of success, save over time to do this.

Don’t just set your sights on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Practice feeling success at each step in your journey.

7. Create or Join a Mastermind Group

Napoleon Hill created the concept in his book Think and Grow Rich first published in 1937, yet today, being an entrepreneur is still often a terribly lonely existence. Joining a mastermind group, your motivation is fueled by the collective genius of others also wanting to collaborate, solve problems, cross-promote, network and learn new things.

Not only is keeping motivated easier in itself, your thinking also grows exponentially.

Choose your group wisely and collectively, your contributions will escalate you all to refreshing new heights.

8. Work with a Coach

We have personal training coaches, health and wellbeing coaches and career coaches yet we rarely engage a coach to help us with two of the most significant factors influencing our success and happiness: money and our psychological well-being. Our approach is often remedial and it’s not until we’re in dire straits that we call in the emergency services.

Money may not buy us happiness but financial freedom is having freedom of choice and freedom of choice means wider opportunities for greater happiness. Risks and growth always pose threat to our mental and emotional stability.

By learning proactive skills that strengthen your resilience in your personal and working life, you can lift your motivation to tackle challenges with greater courage. You have a backup plan and safety nets to catch you when you fall.

Whether it’s a money mindset coach, a performance coach, a business coach or a relationship coach…open up the conversation. Get to know yourself better, make plans to clear the hurdles and get ready to sprint!

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9. Focus Your Conversations on Your Ideas and Goals

When you increase emphasis and focus upon certain things, feelings and thoughts, you are telling your brain these things are important. The feelings and thoughts will become more easily amplified and neural pathways which access similar feelings and thoughts become activated.

Given this, be strategic. Deliberately reframe the conversations you have to discuss ideas, plans and progress to take you toward where you want to go.

Stimulate and train your brain to increase its stretch. Direct it to dwell on positive experiences and results you have had, and deliberately share in conversations these feelings and results are what you want more of.

Not only are you training yourself to feel happier for greater parts of your day, you are communicating your true desires and wishes for a more successful and happier life to the wider community.

Share with them more of what you desire to experience and achieve. You create a greater likelihood of receiving favorable surprises in answer to your requests.

10. Have Goals to Become a Better Friend, Partner or Work Associate

Examine your relationships by asking yourself what aspects are healthy for you and bring you happiness. Also, consider what you contribute to that relationship and whether doing so brings you happiness.

Think about not just what you gain from the relationship but also what you can do to help make that relationship flourish more. Can you improve how you show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally? Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task.

Do you need to organize a get together instead of waiting for your friend to organize the rendezvous yet again? You might put the garbage out without being asked by your partner from now on. Stepping up and stepping into healthier and happier relationships will only heighten the positive vibration of your everyday existence.

11. Learn How to Lead Better by Encouraging Others to Become Better Leaders

If you’re a leader, it can be really hard to resist the urge to take the steering wheel when you can see others are about to drive off a cliff. However, stepping out of the limelight to let others have their fifteen minutes of fame is the sign of a true leader.

Supporting and coaching others to develop confidence and stay in the driver’s seat on their journey is truly soul-enriching. Stay beside them when they drive into the fog and be persistent with your encouragement to keep them focused and on track.

You have greater purposefulness to others when you empower them to work through their own trials and tribulations and help them build greater resilience in the process. Your self-esteem and internal happiness will deepen on a richer level and stay with you for far, far longer.

12. Embrace Negative Feedback and Criticism

We don’t actually learn best when people agree and applaud us. We learn best when we make mistakes and experience the intense emotions connected with the failure or rejection.

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Invite yourself to look for the lesson in every perceived misfortune. There is always a golden nugget for growth; we just have to increase our practice of looking for it.

Lick your wounds only for so long and move quickly to look for the lesson. When you can do so, you can charge your internal motivation from within and still experience happiness even in the darkest of times.

13. Exercise a Sense of Adventure Every Day

When you set small goals to do things slightly differently each day, you can entirely re-shape the level of happiness you experience. Here’s a list to play with:

  • Try a different coffee brew to start your day
  • Dress in work attire even if you are working from home today
  • Walk a different route from your final subway stop to the office
  • Smile at a stranger as you make eye contact passing them in the street
  • Pay a compliment to one of your work colleagues when you notice they are feeling stressed
  • Go out walking during your break if you usually eat lunch at your desk or inside

Spice up small changes in the brief moments of your daily living. Small shifts lift not only your motivation but shed light and happy vibes to those around you.

14. Orchestrate Your Destiny Using Daily Imagery

Take advantage of the fact your brain does not know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined when it comes to imagery. Instruct your day-dreaming activity to envisage what happiness and success look like, feel like, smell like, taste like and sound like.

When you daily rehearse your mini movies of your success and happiness goals, your brain’s reticular activating system will begin filtering in information to help you reach these.

Before too long, your plans, actions and decisions will increasingly honor these. Keep your eyes on the prize and you are more likely to reach success sooner than you might think.

15. Become an Expert Researcher of Your Own Challenges

Whilst we have all the resources within us, we don’t necessarily have all the answers. However, when knowing more, we feel (and are) in more control.

Look further afield and gain from the knowledge, experience and insights of the qualified experts in those areas. However, be aware of ulterior agendas being pushed upon you.

Sifting through the information relevant to you and following your gut instinct will only spark your motivation. The considered decisions you make in the moment will always be the right ones.

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Marsha Linehan: Radical Acceptance
[2] James H Fowler, associate professor, Nicholas A Christakis, professor: Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study

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