There’s no question that life is tough. Everybody experiences tribulations that are hard to overcome.
In fact, even Buddha said that “Pain is certain, suffering is optional.”
However, no matter what we’re going through, it doesn’t mean that we can’t take responsibility and get our life together.
There are a few principles and habits that we must adopt to get our lives back on track and live with nobility.
Whether it’s starting a family, moving up in your career or simply being a kinder and better person, these 15 ways will seriously help you get your life together.
How to get your life back on track: 15 no-nonsense tips
1) Hang out with people who add to your life
Stop spending time with people who bring you down. It doesn’t add anything to your life.
You’ll live a much more successful and fulfilling life if you choose to hang out with people who are positive and uplifting.
So, how do you work out who you should actually spend time with?
It’s quite simple. Ask yourself these 2 questions:
Do they make you feel better after you spend time with them?
Do you feel more optimistic and positive about life?
If you can answer yes to those questions, then make a conscious effort to spend more time with them. The positivity will rub off on you.
If you keep hanging out with toxic people who put you down and want to get something out of you, you’re not going to benefit at all. In fact, you’ll lose out and won’t realize your potential.
Also, according to a 75-year Harvard study, our closest relationships have the largest impact on our overall happiness in life.
“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
2) Get a pet and take care of it
You probably didn’t expect this one but there’s several reasons you should get a cat, dog, rabbit or whatever animal you want.
The most important reason is that it’ll teach you responsibility. After all, you have to look after another living animal and make sure it survives, thrives and lives a happy life.
Not only will it teach you to be more responsible, it’ll also show you there’s more to life than what’s going on inside your head. Your actions actually do have an impact on others.
And besides, owning a pet is actually healthy for you as well. According to research, having a dog around can lead to lower levels of stress for both adults and kids.
3) Stop chasing happiness with outside attachments
This is a tough one to realize and I don’t blame anyone for thinking that happiness exists outside themselves.
After all, aren’t we more happy when we make more money or buy that shiny new iPhone?
While these experiences give us a temporary boost in happiness, it won’t last long.
And once that temporary joy is gone, we’ll be back in a cycle of wanting that high again so we can be happy.
While it’s fine to bask in temporary joy when it comes around, we shouldn’t rely on it for lasting happiness.
An extreme example highlighting the problems with this is a drug addict. They’re happy when they’re taking drugs, but miserable and angry when they’re not. It’s a cycle that no one wants to be lost in.
True happiness can only come from within.
“HAPPINESS comes from within. To be happy is to know oneself. It’s not in the material things that we own, it’s the love we have and show to the world.” ― Angie karan
Happiness is our inner feeling, along with how we interpret the events of life, which leads us to the next point…
4) Be more grateful
Everyone can get lost in a cycle of negativity. After all, we all experience obstacles and setbacks.
But a major difference between happy and unhappy people is the ability to appreciate what they have.
There’s always something to be appreciative for: If you’re breathing then you have your breathe.
In fact, research has found that a five-minute gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent.
There’s even reason to believe gratitude can extend your lifespan by a few months or even years.
So if you want to get your act together and your life back on track, start appreciating what you have rather than desiring things what you don’t. You’ll be a happier and better person for it.
5) Be yourself
Having a concrete sense of self is an important part of your existence. Without it, you’ll find that goals are harder to define and your needs harder to understand.
Answering these 4 questions will give you a more stable sense of self and what you aspire to be:
What personality traits make you you?
What are you passionate about?
What are your values?
What are your strengths?
Understanding what your strengths are and what you’re passionate about gives you confidence and empowerment to reach your potential.
6) Start saving your money
No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s always a good idea to focus on building your savings.
In the future, you want to have financial independence and savings to depend on.
Calling your own shots, financially speaking, gives you the freedom to make choices in your life separate from your weekly paycheck.
Having this sort of freedom means you can change careers when you want to, go on vacation when you feel like it and help family members who are short of money.
It also means that if you have a family, or you’re planning on having a family, you can take care of them and help them achieve whatever they want to achieve.
This doesn’t mean you have to become rich. Achieving financial independence is possible by putting a little bit of money away each month and letting it accumulate.
So, what’s the best strategy to do that?
A popular piece of advice in financial circles is the 50/30/20 rule. It means that at least 20% of your income should go towards savings. Meanwhile, another 50% should go towards necessities, while 30% goes towards discretionary items.
7) What gets your juices flowing?
We’re all unique and we all have special talents.
You have a better chance of becoming successful and making a difference in the world if you do what you’re passionate about.
And if you’re not happy at work, then it’s more difficult to be happy in other areas of your life.
Doing what you love is a core ingredient to getting the most of yourself. It will help you grow and become all that you can be.
Being motivated and having a sense of meaning and purpose is crucial to living a fulfilling life.
So, how can you figure out what you’re truly passionate about?
According to Ideapod, asking yourself these 8 weird questions will help you find out what you really want to do in life:
1) What were you passionate about as a child?
2) If you didn’t have a job, how would you choose to fill your hours?
3) What makes you forget about the world around you?
4) What issues do you hold close to your heart?
5) Who do you spend time with and what do you talk about?
6) What is on your bucket list?
7) If you had a dream, could you make it happen?
8) What are the feelings you desire right now?
8) Accept yourself and all your emotions
According to research, one of the main causes of many psychological problems is the habit of emotional avoidance.
However, there’s no denying that we all do it. After all, nobody wants to experience negative emotions.
And in the short-term, it may be beneficial, but over the long-term it becomes a bigger problem than what was being avoided in the first place.
The problem with avoidance is that every single one of us is going to experience negative emotions. We’re all going to experience suffering.
These emotions are just a part of being a living human being.
By accepting your emotional life, you are affirming your full humanity.
By accepting who you are and what you’re experiencing, you don’t have to waste energy avoiding anything.
You can accept the emotion and then move on with your actions.
Negative emotions won’t kill you – they’re annoying but not dangerous – and accepting them is much less of a drag than the ongoing attempt to avoid them.
How can you learn to accept your emotions?
Here’s an exercise adapted from a workbook developed by Dr. Steven Hayes at the University of Nevada. This workbook is an excellent introduction to a type of therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Step one: Identify the emotion
If you are having more than one emotion, just pick one. If you don’t know what the emotion is, sit for a moment and pay attention to your physical sensations and thoughts. Give it a name and write it down on a piece of paper.
Step two: Give it some space
Close your eyes and imagine putting that emotion five feet in front of you. You’re going to put it outside of yourself and observe it.
Step three: Now that the emotion is outside of you, close your eyes and answer the following questions:
If your emotion had a size, what size would it be? If your emotion had a shape, what shape would it be? If your emotion had a color, what color would it be?
Once you’ve answered these questions, imagine putting the emotion out in front of you with the size, shape and color. Just observe it and acknowledge it for what it is. When you’re ready, you can let the emotion return to its original place inside you.
Step four: Reflection
Once you’ve completed the exercise, you can take a moment to reflect on what you’ve noticed. Did you notice a change in your emotion when you got a little distance from it? Did the emotion feel different in some way once the exercise was finished?
This exercise may seem weird, but it has helped many people understand their emotions and learn to be more accepting of them.
9) Do what you’ll say you’ll do
Doing what you say you will do is a matter of integrity. How do you feel when someone says they’ll do something, and then they don’t? In my eyes, they lose credibility.
Every time you do what you say you will do, you build credibility. Part of getting your life back on track involves being trustworthy and living your life with integrity.
And the fact of the matter is this: it’s hard to get your life together if you won’t do what you’ll say you’ll do.
So, how can you make sure you’ll do what you’ll say you’ll do?
Follow these 4 principles:
1) Never agree to or promise anything unless you are 100% sure you can do it. Treat “yes” as a contract.
2) Have a schedule: Every time you say “yes” to someone, or even yourself, put it in a calendar.
3) Don’t make excuses: Sometimes thing happen that are beyond our control. If you’re forced to break a commitment, don’t make excuses. Own it, and try to make things right in the future.
4) Be honest: The truth isn’t always easy to say, but if you’re not rude about it, it will help everyone out in the long run. Be impeccable with your word means you’re honest with yourself and with others. You’ll become that guy or girl that people can rely on.
10) Experience all that life has to offer
Don’t be afraid of new experiences. The more experiences you have, the more mature and wise you’ll become.
We only get life once – so bask in life in all possible ways – the good, the bad, the bitter-sweet, the love, the heartbreak – everything!
We only get one shot at it – so we may as well make the most of it.
Here’s a great quote from a Spiritual Master Osho:
“Experience life in all possible ways — good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.”
11) Look after your body
In the same vein, we only have one body in this lifetime. It’s our duty to take care of it.
And in the end, there’s a huge relationship between the body and mind and the physical and spiritual.
By listening to your body’s needs, we can become more aware of our emotions and our desires. That’s why we should take good care of our bodies.
Make sure the body is getting enough vitamins, minerals and is operating in its best shape possible.
Having a healthy body and mind will undoubtedly help you get your life back on track.
If you’re looking for a quick guide on how to make exercise a habit, check out this article on Ideapod: 10 ways to make exercise an unbreakable habit.
12) Live in the present
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Life is the best when you’re effortlessly living in the moment. There’s no regrets about the past, and no worries in the future. You’re simply focused on the task at hand.
Not only does this make you more productive and focused, but it makes you happier, too.
But the question is, how do we achieve this state more often when our overactive minds get in the way?
Well, according to spiritual master Osho, we need to practice taking a step back and observing the mind and realizing that we are not our thoughts.
Once we stop identifying with every single thought that we produce, they’ll be become weaker and weaker and we’ll be more easily able to live in the present moment, rather than being distracted by future worries or past regrets:
“Your thoughts have to understand one thing: that you are not interested in them. The moment you have made this point you have attained a tremendous victory. Just watch. Don’t say anything to the thoughts. Don’t judge. Don’t condemn. Don’t tell them to move. Let them do whatsoever they are doing, any gymnastics let them do; you simply watch, enjoy. It is just a beautiful film. And you will be surprised: just watching, a moment comes when thoughts are not there, there is nothing to watch.”
13) Stop complaining
Nobody likes a complainer and it only makes life more stressful.
According to research, complaining affects our brains and our physical health. A sense of melancholy is increased, along with dissatisfaction.
So every time you complain, it’s time to give yourself a pinch and stop it.
Over time, you’ll rewire your brain to stop complaining and adopting a more positive and optimistic attitude. You’ll also be more well-liked and tolerable.
14) Spend time on your relationships
Human beings are social beings. Getting your relationships in order are a crucial part of getting your act together.
According to a 75-year Harvard study, relationships are the most crucial factor to a successful and happy life.
Like anything, it takes time to get them right. Make sure you’re investing enough time in your family and friends and you’ll live a much more fulfilling life.
15) Focus on doing the work
We all have goals and ambitions, but without action, they won’t be achieved.
So if you want to take responsibility for your life and get your life back on track, then start taking action today.
Even it’s small steps, as long as you keep on improving with your actions you’ll eventually get to where you want to go.
Are you ready to take responsibility for your life? Tired of playing the blame game? Ideapod’s latest eBook provides an informative and exciting introduction to personal responsibility and the power of taking action. Check it out here.
A quick message from Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit
In 2018, the third year of Hack Spirit, I poured thousands of hours and considerable resources into creating these articles. It's a labor of love and remains free thanks to your patronage. If you found any value in these articles, please consider supporting what I do with a donation. Your support is what helps me to continue creating more Hack Spirits articles. To make a donation, click the "donate" button below and choose between a single donation or monthly.
Check out Hack Spirit's eBook: The Art of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Living in the Moment.
- Learn what 'mindfulness' really is and the scientific benefits to practicing it daily
- Learn exercises to be mindful throughout the day (even at work)
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- Understand and implement the 7 key steps to practicing mindfulness