There comes a time in everyone’s life when they realize the importance of getting themselves together – to live one’s life in a way that serves their best interests and creates contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, and meaning.
For some people, getting one’s life together feels urgent. Some of us may have been taking a backseat in life for too long and suddenly realize that it’s time to make a positive change, one that includes more agency, responsibility, and autonomy.
Some of us think about getting our lives together for months or years but just can’t seem to make that change. Old habits are hard to break, and we can’t seem to stop procrastinating.
This article is for you if you know that it’s finally time to focus on getting yourself together and dealing with those negative emotions – to stop procrastinating and wishing things would change, but instead start making real and lasting change happen.
Below we’ve outlined some practical and effective tips and techniques to help you assess where you’re at in your life right now and make brave, honest, and positive decisions to take you from your current position to where you actually want to be.
How to get your life together
To live a better life, you need to make healthy, positive, and growth-oriented decisions daily. That might sound like a tall order if you’ve got some sticky bad habits, but making such decisions becomes easier with practice.
One of the biggest challenges people face when the time comes to make big changes in life is an attachment to how things are or how they have always been. We become familiar with structures and patterns in our days, and that familiarity makes us feel safe and comfortable. To break that familiarity opens life up to the unknown and the uncertain, which can be incredibly daunting and frightening.
As humans, we’re typically averse to the unknown and would rather make up answers and predictions about it or avoid it altogether. Yet, the fact is that we flourish and thrive when we embrace change and challenges. Once we leave our comfort zone, we might feel frightened and confused, but if we can weather that storm, then what lies on the other side is usually exactly what we were looking for.
The truth is that if you don’t choose to spend time to make a change and pull yourself together, you won’t be able to stop blaming yourself for feeling bad when your life doesn’t seem to be going the direction that you would like it to.
Track how you spend your time
To begin with, the process of getting yourself together, consider how you spend your time on a daily basis. Keep a journal or log of what you do and where you spend the most time throughout your day. You can be as specific as you like, but don’t be too vague. Keep note of how much you work, how much time you spend watching TV or playing games, how much time you spend with people you love, and how much time you spend procrastinating.
Understand that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with watching television or playing video games, but if the time you spend on these activities impacts other important areas of your life such as your family and other social connections, your job, or other areas of interest, then you know it’s time to reassess your priorities.
Look back over the log and see how much time you spent improving yourself. How much time did you spend reading or otherwise educating yourself to increase your knowledge of the world? How much time did you spend exercising and improving your physical fitness? How much time did you give to relaxation and conscious breathing to improve your mental state?
Don’t judge yourself too harshly if the answer is very little, but just take note. Are those things you can make more time for in your day? Can you replace one daily activity with one of the above? Even if not daily, can you find time in your week to add an activity that serves your emotional, spiritual and physical health?
Let go of the unnecessary drama
A crucial step in truly getting yourself together and living a healthy, happy life is cutting out unnecessary drama sources. That means gossip for the sake of gossip, harsh judgment of self and others, self-pity, a victim mentality, and toxic people.
All of these negative things serve no purpose in your life, or at least no positive purpose. They may offer a sense of familiarity or comfort at times, but they’re a surefire way to keep you living at a lower frequency. Increase your frequency, raise your vibration and empower yourself by saying no to toxic people, behavior and drama.
Most people have some unnecessary drama in their lives. Is there someone in your life who always gossips to you about a friend or coworker? Do you have a parent or sibling who gives you unconstructive feedback on your life choices? Do you have a friend who always plays the victim and wallows in self-pity, and who makes you feel like doing that too? Or are you the one who wallows?
Getting yourself together is not just about what you add to your life but also what you subtract from it. It can be hard to cut out people and behaviors to which we have become accustomed. But once you realize the value of organizing your life in such a way that it negates any space available for toxic and unhealthy behavior, cutting people and things out of your life becomes a whole lot easier.
Take a social media break
Social media makes us feel connected to our friends and family when we can’t be around them, but it’s not always a healthy way to spend time. Scrolling through a news feed on Facebook or Instagram means seeing snippets of people’s lives within seconds of each other, and those snippets are carefully curated to show to the world one’s sense of self.
People post pictures of themselves and their friends to show their social side, current affairs articles, and headlines to show their political opinions, and food or gym pictures to show off their lifestyle.
It’s great to see other people living well, but what we see on social media is not an accurate representation of real life. Real-life is a lot more raw, unfiltered, and chaotic. Looking at life through the lens of social media can make you feel like your own life is somehow lacking in color and adventure. It can make you feel bad about where you currently are in life or make you doubt how much you have accomplished so far.
In the process of getting yourself together, it’s wise to take a break from social media for a while and turn your attention to the present moment, to the real world. You don’t have to delete all your accounts and never use social media again, but try taking a break from scrolling through news feeds multiple times a day.
Earlier, we mentioned how useful it is to keep track of how you spend your time. Many people are surprised when they track their social media usage. When you’re mindlessly scrolling and not giving anything second thought, you can end up spending hours of your day on social media, having not achieved much at all.
Identify your passions
When we think of getting ourselves together, we often jump to the idea that it means getting a job, saving money, having a family, and generally being safe and secure in life. That’s an excellent idea for some, but it’s not for everybody, and if you don’t want to follow that life path, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your life together.
If that’s not something that inspires you, then it’s hard to see the point of doing it. Why would you want to get your life together if getting it ‘together’ means not enjoying it?
As we grow from the teen and young adult years into our later 20s and 30s, we often begin to lose sight of our deepest joys and passions in life. We don’t fully lose sight, but we may become so distracted with finding a high paying job so we can pay off debt, find a partner and think about starting a family, or any other typical life goal that we forget what it is that brings us joy in our lives.
A huge part of getting your life together is identifying what you love and joy and life, your passion and expected interests, and organizing your life in such a way that you get to follow those passions. The game of it all is to find a way to support yourself so that you can feel good, meet your wants and needs while also doing what you love.
Take care of your health
Good health is fundamental to a happy life, one in which you feel like you have things together and that you’re growing in the right direction. You can exert yourself in your career or commit wholeheartedly to personal responsibilities like family, but if you don’t look after your health, both mental and physical, then all other aspects of your life are in jeopardy.
Without your health, work can become a source of stress and may lead to burnout, and you won’t be in a prime position to be there and show up for yourself and those you love.
Getting yourself together requires showing up for yourself daily. To show up for yourself, you need to make sure that you’re motivated, healthy, and have enough physical and mental energy to do so.
Research shows that regular physical exercise has a profound positive impact on mood and well-being. Benefits include but are not limited to:
- Improved sleep
- Improved cognitive function
- Greater cardiovascular health
- Increased energy levels
- Improved mental health and emotional resilience
Neuroscientists explain that through exercise and regular maintenance of our physical health, we help the brain and body produce and release important chemicals (neurotransmitters) such as endorphins and serotonin. These chemicals are heavily involved in the rehabilitation of our physical and mental health. In the long run, they promote positive, life-affirming behaviors that help us make health-wise choices.
According to research published in the academic journal Brain Plasticity, aerobic exercise (running, jogging, dancing, swimming, etc.) both reduces stress and increases our ability to tolerate it. Stress is a common cause of both physical and mental health issues and is a primary cause of feeling like one’s life isn’t together. When we’re over-stressed, we tend to view our lives in a negative light. We focus on what’s wrong or what we lack rather than positivity and abundance.
Goals give us something to look forward to and motivate us to make a consistent effort in our lives. The nature of a goal matters much less than having it in the first place, so if you want to start getting your life together and achieving what you know you’re capable of, start with some healthy goal setting.
Having any goal to work towards is great, but it’s important to be smart about setting it. Sometimes we want to achieve everything we want at once. We want to lose a certain amount of weight or gain some muscle, we want to see our business thrive, or we want to get our family started. These are great goals to have, but you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you try to achieve them overnight. Anything worth having in life takes time, patience, and consistent effort to achieve.
Many businesses use a model known as SMART goals to achieve success, but you don’t have to be a business owner to reap the benefits of the model. You can apply the same principles to your personal goals.
Smart goals are:
The more specific your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. Specificity keeps you focused on the task at hand and helps you avoid distraction.
Goals are easier to achieve when we can track our progress. Set a daily, weekly, or monthly reminder to check in with your progress and assess any changes you might need to make to help you improve.
If we set lofty, unrealistic goals, we’re sure to get exhausted and even disheartened when we keep failing. Failure is crucial in the path to success, but success will be out of reach if your goals are too high or too difficult to achieve.
Can you access the resources you need to achieve your goals? Do they apply to your overall life goals?
Setting a due date for your goals helps you stay focused on them. Even if you don’t meet your time-based demands that don’t matter, you can keep trying with a new date. The main thing is that you strive towards meeting a deadline so that you don’t lose focus.
Finally, getting your own life together can take a lot of patience and consistent effort, but all that hard work pays off when you eventually realize that you’ve made a significant positive shift in your life and that you’re able to look back at your old self and see how far you’ve come.
The advice offered above should help you get a running start with the positive change you’re trying to make in your life, so save this article or take notes and remember to stay consistent!