I want to open this post with a moment of real honesty…
There have been several times in my adulthood that I’ve felt like I’ve lost control of my life.
My sleeping schedule was erratic, my house was a mess, and my “health routine” left me feeling blahhhhhh.
It was really beyond the “I’m in college and still trying to figure out my life” stage of things. Yeah, this was full blown, “I’m a married woman who can’t seem to get a handle on… well, anything and I don’t know why.”
I think that was the worst part. The first time it happened, I didn’t know why or where to start or how to get my life in order.
The one thing that helped me keep my sanity? Hearing so many other people say they feel this way too.
I’m not the only one who takes comfort in other people’s admittance of being a mess, right? I don’t mean that in a terrible “I hope your life sucks” kind of way but rather in an “it feels good to know I’m not the only one” kind of way.
But back to the point here…
“Overwhelmed and out of control” has kind of become the norm. We wear it like a badge of honor but for what end purpose? To keep up with the highlight reels of social media influencers?
The problem really kicks in when we slip from “busy” as a social status to “my life is in shambles” status…
Since I’ve made kicking the status quo to live a life you feel good about my mission, I want to help empower women to change the norm – you should never be left feeling like you have no idea how to get your life in order.
And while leaving the chaotic life behind isn’t an overnight change, it’s something that can be done. It’s a journey I’ve been on for a while now and there’s been a lot of “ah ha” moments along the way, which is what I’m sharing with you today.
My biggest “ah ha” has ultimately led me to be a root cause kind of person. What I’ve learned is that if you can get to the root of a problem, you can prevent it from happening instead of cleaning up the after issues. So first things first, let’s look at some of the root causes…
Causes of the “My Life is in Shambles” Dilemma
Life is made up of two types of decisions; inexperienced decisions and experienced decisions. I’m sure you’ve heard the “life is made up of decisions” thing before. I know I have but I never really took a moment to truly understand that phrase until recently.
Your life, as an adult, is literally decided by the decisions you make or allow someone else to make for you. I know that’s hard for some people to accept because by accepting that, we are accepting that if we are living a life we don’t like, that it is our own fault and that’s a hard reality to face… but it can also be an empowering one.
Now, yes, there are outside factors that affect us, but as an adult, you decide how you are going to process and move on from things that happened in the past and what will happen in the future.
Even when outside uncontrollable factors arise, you decide how you will allow them to affect your life. Only you hold the power to allow those things to have any power over you and your life.
The fact of the matter is that living life well is a skill set. You can learn to live life skillfully. You can learn to skillfully make wise decisions.
In the same way that you can increase your knowledge of a subject or skill set on a hobby or job, you can learn to live life more skillfully. Which is really what this blog is all about.
WE’RE LEARNING AS WE GO
If you think about it, life in this day and age is a little different than it was when your grandparents and even your parents were your age. Which can make it more difficult to find good applicable wisdom on current events.
I’m not saying that your parents and grandparents don’t have wisdom. What I am saying is that we do life differently than they did.
While the basic facts of wisdom for life haven’t changed, the fundamental aspects of it have. Which means it’s often hard to look to our elders for advice on how to handle the current pressure that society demands. It goes back to the experienced decision I was talking about.
I personally think a big part of this is that most of us are really first generation daily life technology users.
My grandparents still use flip phones and have never turned a computer on. My parents were getting iPhones at the same time I was. I still remember the first time my dad ever sent a text message.
The way we do life and at the pace, we do it at, is new. Which means we’re still discovering new techniques for living it.
I can’t go to my grandparents, or my parents for that matter, to ask parenting advice on how they handled the issues that arise with letting a 2-year-old play video games on an iPad or what to do when a co-worker posts something about we don’t want to be announced on social media. They’ve never encountered it before and while I know they could give me practical advice, they can’t give me experienced advice.
So what we end up with, is a life that demands more and different things from us than past generations, with no real direction on how to handle it when it feels like life is out of control. Which leads to the next cause.
SAYING “YES” TO TOO MANY THINGS
We live in such a fast-paced instantaneous society that I think sometimes our perception of realistic time availability gets a little skewed.
Throw in the fact that everyone else seems to be doing it all and doing it well…. It creates pressures to feel like we need to keep up with society and expectations…
and before we know it, we’re saying yes to the point of overwhelm.
NATURAL OUTSIDE FACTORS
Life happens and sometimes there are things that we can’t control at the moment.
We’ve had a few moments really turn life upside down for a time and it’s super easy to want to give in to the ups and downs. These types of situations can be the hardest to get back in order but it is possible.
I’ve heard Rachel Hollis say “there are only two things you can control: your attitude and your effort”.
This also goes along with what I was saying earlier about decision making – only you get to decide how you will live your life.
NEVER ENOUGH TIME IN A DAY
Before I jump into my steps for getting a handle on life when it feels like it’s spiraling out of control, I want to talk about the topic of time so that we’re both on the same page.
It’s probably fair to say that you feel like a huge problem you have is a lack of time. There’s just never enough time in a day to get it all done.
Been there, said that. Trust me, I feel you… Tried the whole “staying up late and drinking a thousand cups of caffeine in hopes of getting it all done” thing… Wouldn’t it be ah-mazing if it actually worked that way?
But alas… there are still the same amount of hours in a day, every day.
So instead of trying to do more of everything, we’re going to have to do less of the unimportant things and do the important ones more efficiently.
Thankfully the hard part is just knowing the difference, which is an easy fix… I’ll get to that in a second.
NOT ENOUGH MONEY
How many times has this phrase run through our minds, come out of our mouths, or been a deciding factor in a decision we made?
I don’t even really feel the need to go very in-depth on why this can be one of the problems that make us feel like life is out of control. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory for most people.
What I will say though is that most people will overlook this factor and discount it as something that can’t change. They don’t bother to make changes in other areas because they feel that they have no power to change their finances in a meaningful way. Or that attempting to get out of debt or create a budget will make life miserable.
If that is you, I want to encourage you to not discredit yourself or your situation. At one point, we were living in the red every month going further and further into debt.
It didn’t seem like there was a way out but we managed to make changes and now are close to getting rid of nearly 6 figures of debt.
NOT KNOWING WHERE TO START OR HOW TO GET YOUR LIFE IN ORDER
The above causes and more can leave us feeling like things are spiraling – like we can’t handle things the way we should be able to. As if it all means that we are somehow failing.
I get it – when you’re the one in the middle of it all, it feels like everything to just barely keep it together day to day much less make leaps and bounds towards getting things in order.
If you found yourself nodding your head or raising your hand to say “yep, that’s so true” while reading through some of the above, don’t worry cause you are not alone.
Five Steps on How to Get Your Life in Order
When that week of our graduation and marriage came and went, I just kind of took a break. Which is great, but then I forgot (or really just didn’t consider) to keep dreaming for the next level.
So, I had nothing to get up for. Nothing to work towards. Nothing to give me direction or hope. I had lost my way a bit.
Let me ask you, when was the last time you spent time working on a goal that got you closer to fulfilling your dreams?
Have you let a spark of hope in by envisioning and reminding yourself what you’re working towards this week?
Do you even remember what your dreams in life are? Or have you lost hope and settled into the day to day?
It’s time to dream again. Reconnect with the childlike hope that is still inside of you somewhere. This may feel weird or difficult at first – that’s completely normal. Reopening and keeping your dreams alive take a little practice.
1) DO A LIFE AUDIT
The idea behind this first step is pretty simple: you won’t know where to start until you know what your options are.
It’s super helpful to evaluate the main areas of your life to get started.
Here’s a breakdown of how I tend to categorize the main areas of life:
Eating Habits, Exercise, and Affecting Lifestyle Choices.
Income, Budgeting and Management Skills, Debt, and Mindset.
- Personal Development
Self-Growth: Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual.Time and Productivity Management, Skillful Decision Making, and Setting Goals.
Making Money, Work/Life Balance, Skill Set, and Advancement Ambitions.
Family, Romantic, Work, and Friendships.
Learning About Yourself, Introspective Growth, and Processing Old Griefs and Circumstances.
Resting and Rejuvenating: Mentally, Emotionally, Physically, and Spiritually.
Atmosphere, Physical Space, and Organization.
- Extracurricular Time
Free-Time, Fun, Vacations, Hobbies, Volunteering, etc.
Thinking about each of these areas in your own life, consider how out of control they each feel on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being totally in control and 5 being totally out of control.
Once you have analyzed the main areas of your life and how disorganized they feel, it’s time to prioritize them.
Choose the four that would be the most life-changing for you (and your family) if they were in order right now.
Next, PICK THE TWO that have the biggest impact on your current circumstances.
These are your priorities.
Remember the whole you can’t do everything at once… No one can. If you try to do everything, you will never get all of it under control.
Trust me, girl… The person you follow on social media does not have it that together – not without help anyway.
So, to get your life in order you’ll just want to start with one or two areas.
Once you start to get a handle on one area of your life, I promise you that other areas will start to follow much easier.
It’s the whole “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
This is seriously how it works….
When you get your finances in order you can suddenly afford to do things like eating a little healthier. This means your health and energy and motivation increase. This means you’re getting more things done around the house or with your family because you’re feeling better.
Better money management might mean you can hire someone to help clean your house or watch your kids. Resulting in more free time and lessens your stress.
Savings might mean you can pay cash for a much-needed vacation and rejuvenation.
As you can see, getting one area of life in order, has the potential to bring other areas into order much easier. It’s a ripple effect and it feels great!
3) MINIMIZE & RESTRUCTURE
Once you know what are true priorities in your life, it’s going to be easier to let go of the things that aren’t moving the needle or making a difference so to speak.
Personally, I felt a lot better about letting go and saying no to things that I was just doing because I thought I needed to do them.
Saying no to things that get in the way of creating a life you feel good about, makes room for more of the things that matter to you.
Want some extra help here? Check out 7 Simple Days: Kickstart Your Simple + Intentional Living Journey
4) SET GOALS
Now that you know what you want to prioritize, it’s time to set some goals to get there.
The winning is in the plan. We never have a vague idea of where we want to go and then just get in the car and start driving. You know the destination you want, and you map out how you’re going to get there.
The same applies to goals in life.
I’m all in on creating a life you feel good about, but you’ve got to know what that looks like and you’ve got to know how to get there.
Which is where goal crushing comes in…
Resources for crushing your goals:
RELATED POST: The Ultimate Setting Goals Guide to Unlock Your Dreams
5) FORGIVE YOURSELF AND KEEP MOVING FORWARD
About a year after Josh and I got married, I had a bit of a break down one day. I was with a lady who was a bit older than me and she just listened as I proceeded to tell her about how hard I tried to make sure everything was perfect for Josh.
I told her about my attempts to be the perfect wife and about everything that I thought fell under that label.
The laundry, the home-cooked meals, the clean house, etc. On and on I went until she finally looked at me and said “But why? That’s such unrealistic pressure to put on yourself.”
Maybe you already know this, but that moment was a true revelation for me.
None of us will ever be the perfect spouse, parent, or person. It’s not going to happen no matter how hard you try.
In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that the harder you try, the more you’ll fail at this.
I used to think that if I somehow just tried a little harder, then life would be a little better. But trying with my current knowledge was getting me nothing except more frustration.
It’s time to forgive yourself for not being perfect, for the decisions you’ve made that have gotten you where you are, and for the fact that you’ll never be perfect in the future.
It’s time to move on. You’ll never be perfect, but you can be better.
Resources for moving on:
Last Thoughts on How to Get Your Life in Order
No matter how out of control your life may feel right now, you 100% can get things in order.
Sure, it might take some time. It’s not going to be an overnight thing. I mean, unless something drastic happened, you didn’t get yourself into this sort of chaos and overwhelm in a day. It’s going to take more than a day to get yourself out of it.
But you can do it and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there.
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to start today! Don’t wait until Monday (unless today is Monday) to start what you could do today.
I promise you that if you start today and stick with it, that it will change your life and be totally worth it. I know because it has been for me.
Just remember: don’t overthink all this. Just go with what feels the most natural.
Instead of trying to get everything done, focus on what feels right in the moment. It’s about living with intention. Ask yourself, will this be a step closer to living a life I feel good about?
Once you get a handle on it, then add the next most important thing and don’t be surprised if it looks different for different seasons of life.
Roll with the punches, flow with the changes, and keep moving forward!
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