Do you have off days where things just aren’t going your way? And then those “off days” turn into weeks, and before you know it, you’re stuck.
Maybe this applies to you.
You’re the only one in your close group of friends who isn’t married; your career isn’t quite where you want it to be, or you don’t meet the expectations of your family.
Don’t beat yourself up.
So what if you haven’t found “the one” or your career isn’t where you want it to be? Every single person goes through challenges, and what matters is that you pick yourself up.
But how do you really know if you’re on the right path? If you still feel unsure about the decisions you’re making, here are 9 concrete signs you’re improving (even if you feel like a hot mess).
1) You’re trying to quit unhelpful behaviors
You’ve spent months or even years stalling on that gym membership because you just haven’t had the time. Or you’re aware that you spend far too much time on your phone.
We’re all guilty of stalling when it comes to making changes in our lives. So, when we feel overwhelmed, stressed, or complacent, we tend to form unhealthy habits. Eventually, these behavioral patterns become automatic and are incredibly hard to quit.
Just don’t punish yourself because of these habits. Your awareness of the things that you need to change is already a sign that you’re on the right path.
It’s up to you to act on it.
And remember, it’s hard to overcome a behavioral pattern that you’ve developed over months or years. It takes work and dedication, but if you’re creating goals and you’re trying to break those unhelpful habits, don’t give up if you fail.
You do you!
2) You recognize negative relationships
There comes a time in your life when certain friendships or relationships just don’t feel good anymore. You might have had the same group of friends since high school, but lately, your opinions and values just aren’t aligning with theirs.
You feel like a complete mess because you’re arguing all the time, and you’re seeing less of them, even making excuses to avoid their company.
As you mature and your perspectives change, the people who were in your life just aren’t a good fit anymore. You want meaningful relationships and lasting connections with people who share your interests and genuinely care about you.
It’s a normal part of self-discovery and growth. Don’t force or hold onto a relationship that just isn’t working.
Learn from it and move on.
3) You show up at work
You don’t give yourself enough credit.
Yes, you! Maybe you dislike your job, or your career has become stifled, yet you continue to do what you have to because there are things that you need to take care of.
That’s a big deal! You meet your deadlines, you’re punctual, and you don’t disappoint the people who depend on you, whether financially or otherwise.
Arriving at your job and showing commitment, even if you despise it, shows your tenacity and character.
If you feel your job is just making you miserable, it’s up to you to find alternatives. Weigh the pros and cons before taking the plunge to change jobs.
4) You’ve made authentic connections
Most of us perceive large groups of friends or social networks as a measure of one’s success and likability. The truth is that real connections are few and far between.
If you have one person in your life who supports and loves you, you’re doing fine. This can be a friend, a family member, or an intimate partner.
Of course, it’s always healthy to have more than one connection.
Authentic relationships provide security and support when you need them most. When you can be vulnerable and truthful with someone else, it improves your confidence and mental health.
But if you’ve struggled to trust people in the past and presently have one or two genuine relationships, then you’re on the right track.
5) You’re overcoming your faults
It doesn’t matter how many times you fall; what matters is that you get back up.
So you didn’t handle a disagreement the way you should have, or you lost a promotion that you desperately wanted.
It’s easy to become trapped in a cycle of self-pity, but everyone makes mistakes at some point in their lives. Whether you’ve let someone down or slipped up at work, don’t dwell on it. Try to change your mindset and think about what you can do differently next time.
Forgiving yourself and becoming aware of your mistakes are steps to let you know that you’re improving in life. You’re not allowing your faults to get in the way of your future.
I’ve been in a situation where I failed miserably during a presentation at work. Standing in a room full of people and feeling like I had “egg on my face” was definitely a humbling experience.
It’s not something I’d want to go through again, but I realized that I’d become far too complacent in my job, so I stepped up. We go through things in life that are not all pleasant, but when you’re trying to learn from your mistakes, you’re going somewhere.
6) You’re putting yourself out there
Sometimes, the greatest rewards we achieve in life come from taking calculated risks. Rather than waiting for your circumstances to change, you’re taking the initiative to pursue new opportunities.
You know, even when things seem like a complete mess, and you feel hopeless or stuck, it is always up to you to make different choices.
Don’t be afraid to fail.
If you have the chance to pursue your passion, don’t let your fears get in the way. Fear can cause self-doubt, and it will hold you back.
Take the risk and take the initiative by finding opportunities that get you closer to your goals. That could be career-wise, relationship-wise, or just working on yourself to be a better person.
7) You’re working on self-acceptance
How many of us can say that we love and accept ourselves, our faults and all? Loving yourself is a long and hard road, but when you find yourself easing up on the negative self-talk, you’re making progress.
Nobody is perfect.
If you can be accountable and forgive yourself for the mistakes that you’ve made, the battle is already half-won.
Loving yourself is a process of accepting your feelings and experiences and not dismissing them. It is a significant part of self-growth and maturity. When you work on self-acceptance, you are moving forward.
So, keep moving forward.
8) You want more for your life
You’ve had some time to self-reflect and realize that you want more out of life. Perhaps your credit card debt is weighing you down, or you’re unhappy in your current relationship and need change.
Awareness of the aspects of your life that need work means that you’re headed in the right direction.
For example, you’re making payments on your outstanding credit card debt or you’ve started evening walks as part of your fitness plan. These might seem insignificant, but if we look at the bigger picture, every step counts towards self-improvement.
Don’t remain in a place of uncertainty where you feel overwhelmed or burdened, and that includes staying in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling your needs.
9) You’re trying
Sometimes, we get stuck in a pattern of bad habits or taxing relationships. We forget our goals and dreams because they’re too hard to achieve or because we think that the time for dreaming is over.
You might fail at working through a bad patch, but you keep trying, so don’t underestimate where you’re at.
Look at it this way.
“Trying” means that you haven’t given up. You’re willing to accept a challenge, and you seek opportunities. Most importantly, you don’t let a few hiccups along the way stop you from wanting more.
This could involve letting go of a relationship, signing up for a gym membership (and actually attending), or meeting with a therapist to figure out how to move forward.
Even if it takes weeks or months, don’t underestimate your ability to achieve what you’ve always wanted.
Living your best life is entirely up to you. It is about what you want and what makes you truly happy.
If you’ve had bad relationships or maybe you haven’t taken your responsibilities seriously in the past, the small steps, like setting boundaries, paying your minimum credit, and seeking opportunities, speak volumes about your willingness to improve your situation.
And yes, there are times when you just feel like a hot mess; heaven knows how many times I have! But it doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. Even the smallest changes you make today could have an incredible influence on your future.