Do you ever feel like your life is spiraling out of control — as though you’re running around in circles with no clue about what you’re supposed to be doing?
We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, and it’s an unsettling, painful place to be.
When you’re caught in this trap of confusion, it feels impossible to take the first step to extricate yourself.
But that’s the thing about life — it’s overwhelming and difficult, but at the same time it presents you with a unique opportunity to gain clarity as you grow and evolve.
If you’re feeling stuck and want to make some changes, these 12 strategies show you how to get your life together so you can feel confident and happy again.
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- How to Get Your Life Together
- 1. Utilize the SWOT Analysis
- 2. Set Realistic Goals
- 3. Take Proactive Action
- 4. Keep It Organized
- 5. Learn from Your Mistakes
- 6. Learn from Others
- 7. Take on More Responsibilities
- 8. Track Your Progress
- 9. Be Patient
- 10. Focus on the Here and Now
- 11. Take a Breather
- 12. Be True to Yourself
- Books on How To Get Your Life Together
How to Get Your Life Together
1. Utilize the SWOT Analysis
You may have heard of the SWOT analysis in relation to business planning.
It’s a technique (and handy acronym) that helps you identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) in order to make a strategic plan for the future.
It can easily be applied to your personal life as well.
Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down a few points for each of the four areas.
- Try to be honest about both your positive and negative traits.
- Weigh opportunities and potential threats according to your current life situation.
This analysis will help you gain clarity about potential roadblocks you’re facing, as well as possibilities and future prospects you may not have previously considered.
It’s the first step towards getting your life back on track.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Sometimes, putting the time and effort into something as simple as creating a schedule can make a huge difference in your life.
Setting goals that are realistic and manageable gives you the momentum to move forward and set yourself up for success.
People often make the mistake of going straight for the gold without making sure they’re properly equipped to win it.
They set goals that are too big or challenging without knowing what it takes to achieve them.
Having unrealistic expectations can be just as harmful as not having any expectations at all.
This lack of forethought is one of the main reasons people get stuck in a rut and eventually lose motivation to move forward.
Life is not a race and there’s no reason to jump ahead. Slow your pace, take baby steps and enjoy every step of the way.
It’ll be worth it.
3. Take Proactive Action
Some people believe that “Life has a funny way of working out.”
And while having a positive outlook can help you get your life together, the reality is that you must pair optimism with action.
It’s you who holds the power to create change.
That’s the difference between the proactive and reactive approach to life.
Instead of dealing with problems and difficulties once they arise, which is a typical reactive response, try to identify and eliminate issues before they appear, in a proactive way.
This technique can help you stay in control over your life.
Being proactive can also foster a more creative mind and allow you to see things from a different perspective.
It’s a wonderful tool for self-improvement that can be learned with just a bit of practice. Don’t allow life to happen to you. Make it happen for you!
4. Keep It Organized
Do you feel more productive and motivated when you declutter your room and do some chores around the house?
There’s a good reason why this happens.
According to research, overly cluttered and messy spaces may hinder your ability to focus on your primary tasks.
Clearing out your living space can have a positive effect on your life, as well as on your mental and emotional health.
You know what they say: clean house – clean mind.
5. Learn from Your Mistakes
This is a tough one for everyone.
Sometimes, it takes me a long time before I’m ready to view a mistake as a lesson.
Making mistakes is human. It’s a normal part of life — at least for anyone who is brave enough to take action.
Instead of viewing your mistakes as failures, change your mindset to see them as an opportunity for growth.
Research suggests that trial and error is actually more effective for studying and retaining information than not erring at all.
This applies to everything you do in life.
How will you learn to perfectly season a meal if you don’t mess it up a few times first?
How will you learn to pack for a vacation if you don’t under-pack or overpack the first couple of times?
It’s the same with the work you do and the decisions you make in your life.
You will never be able to excel at something if you’re not able to compare your results with previous attempts.
Trying and failing is always better than not trying at all.
So, chin up and don’t be afraid to make a blunder or two.
6. Learn from Others
Have you ever wondered how to get a life that’s less monotone? Less repetitive? A life that’s filled with excitement and new opportunities?
More often than not, people get comfortable with their daily habits. Sometimes, too comfortable.
Living life on repeat might seem secure and stable, but it doesn’t really open many doors.
I’ve learned that I bloom when surrounded by people who can teach me something new.
While I definitely recommend spending time with others who share similar interests, I also advise you to look for more diverse relationships.
People might surprise you. You never know what skill sets, information, knowledge, and wisdom someone possesses until you make the effort to know them.
And remember, as Bill Nye (the Science Guy) reminds us, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't.”
7. Take on More Responsibilities
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, scatterbrained or simply exhausted, your first instinct is likely to lay off work and take some rest.
You probably wouldn’t even think about adding more responsibilities to your schedule, right?
Well, as it turns out, more accountability just might help you get your life together more easily.
This doesn’t mean that you should bite off more than you can chew, though.
Starting with something simple like caring for a plant might do it.
Once you graduate from Gardening 101, you can take the next step and bring an animal into your life.
Having a pet can teach you more responsibility and add more value to your life.
Not only is it a great learning experience, but also it shows you the impact you can have on other lives.
8. Track Your Progress
People are forgetful. We tend to forget our successes and wins but cling to our past mistakes and failures as though they solely define us.
Not only is this behavior toxic, but also it prevents us from seeing how far we’ve actually come.
That’s why tracking your progress is an important step towards getting back on track.
Doing something as simple as writing your success stories in a diary can make a huge difference.
You’d be surprised to learn the amount of change you can have in just a couple of years.
It’s good to have something to remind you of your journey to a better life.
9. Be Patient
Most people believe that the hardest part of creating a better life is finally implementing those changes you've been postponing for so long.
While creating new habits is definitely challenging, the biggest test comes when you try to maintain those changes.
Lack of motivation and self-discipline are among the main reasons people abandon their resolutions after some time.
So, what is the best way to stay consistent and finally make a difference in your life?
One word: Patience.
You can’t expect immediate results when trying to create new habits. Developing new, positive behaviors that are automatic and consistent can take several months.
A study published in Psychological Science claims that practicing gratitude and thankfulness can help us become more patient in the process.
Ask yourself: “What am I grateful for?”
If it’s easier, try writing it down on a piece of paper.
Write down five things you’re thankful for in your life.
Doing this regularly might give you a sense of fulfillment, helping you become more patient in the process.
Be aware that patience is something we build over the course of a lifetime — it can’t happen overnight.
10. Focus on the Here and Now
Most people spend far too much time obsessing over the past and worrying about the future.
These mental ruminations hinder our ability to focus on the here and now.
As spiritual master, monk, and author Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Life is available only in the present moment.”
Mindfulness is an immensely valuable daily practice for becoming more present, self-aware and focused on the task at hand.
Not only can mindfulness help you become more aware, but it has proven to be a great tool for combating anxiety, depression as well as stress.
11. Take a Breather
You might have noticed that most recipes for success follow the same pattern: Work. Work. Work.
And yes — hard work is an essential part of getting your life together.
But so is rest.
When’s the last time you had a good night’s sleep? Or a day off?
If you only focus on work, you’re setting yourself up for burnout and stress.
Make sure to take some time for yourself each day. Read a book, exercise or catch up with an old friend.
You’re only as successful as you mentally and physically healthy and fulfilled.
12. Be True to Yourself
Nothing good has ever come from being dishonest.
But you know what’s the worst kind of dishonesty? Being untrue to yourself.
Before you’re able to become the person you want to be, first you need to acknowledge the person you are right now.
Getting to know your true self is a key step in your journey of self-development.
- What drives you?
- What makes you get out of bed each morning?
- What internal roadblocks are holding you back?
The answers to these questions can give you a good insight into who you are and in which direction you should be moving.
Don’t allow others to paint a picture of your person — become the artist of your own destiny.
Get Your Life Together Checklist
Are you serious about this getting your life together thing? Reading this article is a great first step, but what are you actually going to do about it? And how are you going to make sure it gets done?
Amorphous concepts like “getting your life together” can scramble your brain when you're trying to make real change. That's why an old-fashioned concept like creating a checklist can be so helpful. Cold, hard action steps on paper with a little box you check when done — feels good doesn't it?
So how might that look for you? Let's say you start with point #1 we outline here — the SWOT analysis. You've got your strengths covered, but what about those weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
Start with your weaknesses, and write them down. Then pick the one that you believe has the most negative impact on your life. Let's say you need more skills or education to move ahead in your career.
Your checklist might look something list this:
- Brainstorm where I want to be in five years in my career.
- Research the skills or education I need to be in that position.
- Reach out to someone in that job who can give me guidance.
- Research schools or training programs that offer what I need.
- Find out if they have online or part-time options.
- Create a spreadsheet of all education options, tuition costs, and other relevant info.
- Determine my budget for further education.
- Begin a savings plan for education or apply for a school loan.
- Determine how to fit this training into my current schedule.
- Enroll in the program and begin classes.
Of course, you may add additional action items under each of your checklist points as you go along. But having a checklist gives you a framework for taking action.
You can create a checklist for all of the strategies we've covered. Just use a little creativity to turn a concept into an action plan. If you need more help with this, take a look at some of the books we recommend below.
Books on How To Get Your Life Together
Here are few good books you can grab to get inspiration for changing your life situation.
- Get Your Sh*T Together by Sarah Knight
- Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry
- Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life by Gary Bishop
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Quotes about Getting Your Life Together
Ok, we don't want to leave you with all work and no inspiration. Before you put on your get-moving boots, read through these quotes and let them fill you with “I've got this!” inspiration.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do.” –– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” — Amelia Earhart
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” — Lyndon B. Johnson
Do you know how to get your life together?
As you set yourself up for this journey of self-improvement, remember that it takes time to put all the pieces in the right places.
Getting back on track is a work in progress — it never stops because you never stop learning and growing.
You will always have to jump over obstacles, tear down walls and elbow your way through difficulties.
But, it does become much easier over time.
As you teach yourself to be more mindful, more aware and less critical, the obstacles you encounter along the way will not seem so insurmountable.
So, what’s your next step towards a better life? How will you implement these changes into your daily schedule?
May you find wisdom and courage on your path to enlightenment.