How To Get Your Life Back On Track
It's common to go through times where you feel like life is off track. It just takes one unexpected change or disruption in routine to initiate a domino effect. Suddenly you lose the sense that your days, weeks, or overall life are within your control. Today's chat is all about accepting when things fall apart and learning how to organize and prioritize your life inventory to get to feeling back on track. Brew up a cup, and let's unpack this.
How Does Life Fall Off Track?
Often, when things are going great, it just takes one thing to disrupt the pace or system, and slowly (or quickly), things begin to unravel completely.
It's almost as if a domino effect gets activated, and one habit dropped turns into two, then a project, then a goal, until suddenly we're feeling derailed.
What can cause this initial disruption? Well... life.
Procrastinated tasks, an unexpected illness, shifts in external circumstances or relationships in your life, a change in season, a change in environment, fluctuating hormones and moods, depleted motivation, loading too many things on your plate at once... the list goes on.
So what do you do about it?
Step One: let it fall apart.
Resisting the fallout or spiral will only prolong the process and cause unnecessary excess suffering. Attempting to continue as if things are fine can manifest into suppression, depression, anger, irritability, anxiety, stress, etc.
Accept the loss or hiccup and take a step back so you can see everything for what it is. As uncomfortable as the feeling of falling apart can be, it's also an excellent opportunity to gather information on how this happened and learn so you're better prepared next time.
Lay-out your life in front of you using calendars, a general list, an overview of responsibilities. Mind dump EVERYTHING on your plate right now, from big to small, then climb inside the logical side of your mind and take a good look at everything on your plate before moving to the next step.
Step Two: pick up the pieces.
- Take Stock — what is on your plate that is no longer serving you, no longer relevant, unaligned with your values and goals, or is unnecessary fluff?
- An excellent question to as yourself is, "how is this serving me, my life, or my higher purpose?".
- Ex: Working on getting more sleep serves your overall health, allowing you to show up better in your life.
- Categorize — Now that your have your list of responsibilities and projects that have fallen off track, categorize them into three lists:
- - Things That Are Running Smoothly
- - Things That Have Fallen Off Track
- - Things Unattended To/Haven't Started Yet
- Organize — Condense the list into Projects, Tasks, Goals & Habits.
- Hint: Projects are a collection of tasks; goals are typically accomplished through habits
- Prioritize — Finally, write down or mark the deadline and timelines of each thing on your list. Doing so will prioritize what needs your focus now vs. what can hold off until later as you begin to make yourself a system.
Step Three: create your system
Things to keep in mind:
- Your system will be unique and catered to YOU.
- You can use physical planners, digital planners, scheduled reminders, or choose a system that allows you to go through your responsibilities more intuitively.
- What has worked for you best in the past?
- Pick a system that aligns with who you are and what your feel will best serve your responsibilities and purpose.
Begin by writing down your purpose. It doesn't need to be your overall purpose, but instead the general purpose of this season of your life. This will help you reestablish what responsibilities you're taking on that help feed into your greater purpose at this time (and why the earlier fluff removal is so necessary)
Ex: student, mother, your career/profession, establish or stabilizing yourself financially, a writer, a friend, finding a job, buying a house, the list is endless.
How do you find out what your purpose is?
Take a look at the more significant projects, goals, and responsibilities from your previous list. Is there a general theme to all of these things? A feeling, service, or outcome you're hoping to get from these tasks?
Write out what your life would feel like fully fulfilled in this chapter. What does it look like, what would it feel like, what is needed to fulfill that manifestation?
Next, create a new system. Choose to what scale you wish to plan and begin working backward (yearly, seasonally, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly).
- Yearly: goal for the year or this chapter of your life
- Seasonally: projects needed to complete (often work or personal goals)
- Monthly: to-do tasks or goals for the month (practical things like bills, appointments, lifestyle changes)
- Weekly: prioritize specific focus's or habits for individual days (focus Sundays on GYSTing, days for exercise, etc., classes or work schedule on specific days)
- Daily: write out your perfect day, with our without ideal time slots.
Step Four: set yourself up for success
Before jumping into your new system, take a step back, and a deep breath.
Dip back into that logical side of your brain and take a look at the plan you've created and ask yourself:
- Is this realistic?
- Is this a transition or a cannonball?
- Is there anything here that isn't essential?
- What are my expectations with this?
The more honest you are with yourself with this, the more successful you will be. Don't be afraid to take what you've planned or created and push it back to give yourself more time to accomplish everything than you think you need. Make the process a slower build and an enjoyable increase of momentum. Picking life back up one thing at a time is a surefire way of remaining successful and on track as you begin to make progress.
Once you've done this, there's only one thing left to do.... begin.
Right where you are, whenever you've finished your system, jump in. As you do, keep one thing in mind - you are likely to fall off track at some point again. It's human; there's only so much of life that we can plan and systemize, but if you find that it's often happening, go back to step four and take a more honest look. Are there responsibilities you can untie yourself from or ways to extend your timeline deadlines so that you can stop the habit of falling off regularly?
Either way, whenever you fall off, take a deep breath, get back up, brush off the dirt, and try again. For each time you fall, you become more resilient, and with more resilience means more capabilities to take on the whole wide world.