Whether you’ve really fallen off the bandwagon for the new good habits you’re trying to create or you’ve truly and spectacularly messed up your life, figuring out how to get your life back on track can be harder than figuring out how to get your life together in the first place.
Maybe you’re now dealing with regrets of the time you have wasted in not doing what you want to do, maybe the things that prevented you from keeping your life on track are still present in your life.
Whatever it is, know that it is possible to get your life back on track.
Firstly, you already know what it feels like to have your life on track, so you’re already ahead of someone who is putting their life together for the first time.
Also, it only takes one day of good decisions to feel like you’re moving forward which is really a change you can make quickly.
Here are some of the most important tips for how to get your life back on track when you’re lost along the way.
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1. Identify What You’ve Been Doing that You’re Not Happy With
To figure out how to get your life back on track, first you need to figure out what you were actually doing that isn’t helping you or is making you realize that things have gone off the rails.
It could be anything, from procrastination to a lack of self belief to more practical things like you’re always late places or you’re comfort eating.
This is really the first step and the most important, because you can’t fix things until you know what to fix.
Even if that’s all you can do is to make a list of things you want to change, that’s a good way to start.
Really be honest with yourself and what you’re doing on a daily basis.
2. Try and Figure Out What Sent You Off the Rails
Now that you know what you are currently doing that you want to change, try to figure out what caused those bad habits to start in the first place.
You had your life together before, and now you don’t – so what changed?
A lot of times it might be something traumatic happening to you, for instance you started smoking again because of a death in the family, or it could be a mental illness and it not being managed properly like you switched medications.
Really try to identify why things changed, because that will help you in the future to avoid getting your life off track again.
3. Think About Where You Want to Go or Who You Want to Be
Once you know why things changed and what you’re currently doing that you don’t like, you need to figure out where you want to go from there or what kind of person you want to be.
If you’re getting your life back on track, surely you must have been doing things before that you were happy with.
What were they?
This can also change from what you were doing before, ie, you want to be even better.
This, again, could relate to anything – where you are in your career, how in shape you are, what you accomplish in your small business.
Whatever it is, you need to know where you’re heading or aiming for.
Write it down.
4. Jot Down the Steps You Need to Take to Change the Bad Stuff into the Good Stuff
Now you know where you are, where you want to be, and what changed to get you off track.
The final step before the real work starts is understanding what steps you need to take to make the change to get your life back on track.
Or in other words, make a plan and stick with it.
If it has to do with your weight, this could be something like “eating 1400 calories a day and exercising 3 times a week.”
If it has to do with your job, it could be something like “quitting a job I hate and applying for as many jobs as possible and picking up extra training shifts.”
Whatever you list here, it needs to be practical – something that you can actually do and check off a list as having achieved.
This will help you be abe to chunk down the habits you need to take up, as well as keep track.
Attitude does play a part, which we’ll talk about later, but in this step, it should be actionable.
For instance, if you decide that you want to be a person with a high self-esteem, the steps would include things like: repeating a positive mantra to myself 3 times a day, not just “change your beliefs about yourself.”
5. Create a Habit Tracking Calendar
If you haven’t caught on yet, the key to how to get your life back on track is mostly through habit.
Ever heard the quote, “we are what we repeatedly do?”
Yeah, that applies here too!
Often, getting back into good habits is what is going to help us get our lives back on track one day at a time, and the best way to keep track of these good habits, after making a list of them, is to use a habit tracking app to hold ourselves accountable.
The way these work is that you plug in what you want to achieve each day habit-wise (so this is something you would keep up with for a relatively long period of time, not just things you want to do as a once off).
When you complete them each day, check them off your list.
It will then start to show you where you have broken the “chain” of habits, which gives you further incentive to keep the chain going as you can see visually how many days you’ve already completed.
I also love this printable and downloadable habit tracker.
This works for anything you can confirm to yourself or someone else that “yes, you did that today.”
So keep it specific, keep it actionable, and keep doing those things!
6. Remove As Much Temptation as Possible
Maybe your problem is that you spent all day browsing social media sites instead of working on your schoolwork or you ate all of the junk food in the house when you got sad.
Or maybe you hung around with the wrong people or any number of things.
To help yourself get your life back on track, think about removing as many temptations as possible before they even come into your life.
This could mean ridding the house of junk food, stopping your relationship with certain people, putting timers on your computer to log you off social media after a certain amount of time or quitting social media.
We all have only so much willpower to avoid temptations, and it is much easier to not have to use it when you’re not even presented with the choice to take part in the bad habits you’re trying to get away from.
It’s human to be drawn to the things that feel good in the moment, even if they wreck our life later, and when you’re in a moment of strength, you need to do what you can to get rid of those temptations so they aren’t even an option.
This is especially true if you’re an all-or-nothing kind of person.
Some people can do some things in moderation, and for others if they’re left with eating just 1 chocolate or the entire bag of them, they’ll go for the entire bag.
If that is you (and no shame, that is me too!), then you have to know that about yourself.
7. Find a Mentor
Getting your life back on track is a huge feat, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone.
If you have someone in your life that can act as a mentor, or at least a friend you can tell about your plans to help keep you accountable, use them!
Not as your therapist, we’ll get to that in a second, but as someone to just bounce ideas off of or to at least give you a little bit of motivation when you need it.
This would be a great role for someone who has done what you’re trying to do, ie someone who was able to lose weight and can cheer you on or someone who was able to finish their novel who knows the struggle of getting over procrastination and getting on with it.
Or it can just be someone who loves you and supports you and wants the best for you, even if they don’t have personal experience.
8. See a Therapist
It’s important not to use the people in your life as your therapists except your actual therapist.
It can cause burn out from them and create an unequal relationship where you are always talking about your problems and they don’t feel they can get the support they need from you as a friend.
Instead, you should see an actual licensed therapist who can play that role in your life. If you don’t feel like going in person, I recommend online therapy like Talkspace.
It might be scary to open up to a therapist, but you should do it for your own well being.
It’s always a good idea to have someone who you can trust not to share your secrets with the whole world, and they can help guide you through the task of getting your life back on track with empathy and compassion while also helping you get to the root of the emotional reasons behind why you let your life get off track.
9. Check Your Attitude on a Daily Basis
Okay, a lot of what we’ve talked about is practical and habit-building, but we can’t forget the other component of making a change in your life, and that is your daily attitude.
Some of us find it easy to have a good attitude and positive outlook on life, but this can go away when you’re stuck in a rut or you may be a person who tends to have a more negative or fearful or anxious attitude towards life.
You need to make sure you’re realigning your attitude on a daily basis and doing anything you need to try and have a positive attitude on life and a positive outlook towards the future, as you won’t be motivated to make changes in your life without it.
You might need to start small and build up from there, ie you can’t go from an eternal pessimist to the world’s most enthusiastic optimist over night.
But even if you need to start by repeating things to yourself like “things aren’t as bad as they seem” and then working up to “things will be great,” that’s fine.
Just check in with yourself about your attitude because a poor one will make it so much harder to go through the work it takes to get your life back on track.
If your poor attitude is caused by mental illness or something traumatic, make sure to use the resources of your therapist who can help you work through these things and learn how to adjust your attitude and monitor it so it’s not holding you back.