Life can get very hard. It can knock you down. In a minute, you can find yourself in rock bottom. And at that time, you have two choices: to stay down there or to get your shit together.
That decision isn’t an easy decision. In fact, it requires a lot of courage.
It’s like falling into a deep hole. And you want to get out of there and reach the place that you want to reach. But the climb out of this hole is very hard and steep.
And it’s very tempting to just stay inside this hole and convince yourself that this is what meant to be.
But to actually decide that you want to get your shit together (a.k.a. climbing out of the hole) is bravery.
It means that you’re sick of being where you are and you want to be in a better place.
That hole can come in different ways.
It can be a job that you want to land. A body that you want to get. A person that you want to become.
And, for whatever reason, you are not heading towards there.
You’re either not taking action as much as possible. Or maybe life just got harder and it feels like you won’t ever be where you want to be.
Well, in this article I’m going to show how to climb out of that hole. How to get your shit together. How to get your life together.
I’m going to show you 7 steps that you need to follow in order to do that. Follow these steps and you’re going to see some improvement in your life and how you feel about it, yourself and the world around you.
7 Steps to Get Your Shit Together
I’m a big believer that change, whatever change, must happen in the inside world first.
Something inside of you has to click. It’s not about what happens in the world around you that will determinate whether you’ll change or not.
Yes, the world around you will affect you, but it’s not as strong as the inside world.
That said, most of these steps are aimed at making you tick.
When you do, you’re going to start changing things in the outside world, you’re going to get momentum, and you’re going to be able to get your life together once again (or maybe for the first time).
Here we are …
Shouldn’t you make some rational decisions and think in a rational way instead of getting emotional and allowing your emotions to take charge?
Well, yes and no.
What I mean by “get emotional” is that you need to do two things:
- Get hurt.
- Get inspired and excited.
Look, we humans will work very hard to avoid painful situations and we’ll work really hard to be in pleasing ones more often.
In other words, pain will move us, and so will pleasure.
Let me give you an example. If it’s a bad habit that you want to stop because you’re starting to suffer because of it, here’s how it looks like to get emotional:
Look at how much this habit is costing you in your life. How much pain and suffer you’re going through because of this habit.
How it’s affecting your social life, personal life, and professional life?
What are you losing because of this habit?
What are you going to lose because of this habit?
And what have you already lost because of this damn habit?
Unfortunately, I can’t do this for you. You have to sit here, open up to your own self, be honest, start seeing the pain this habit is giving you (and when the pain reaches a certain point, you’ll tick.)
And the same goes for pleasure, what are you going to gain as a result of stopping this habit?
Of course, it’s not just about habits. It’s about any situation that you are in.
When I find myself down there, I tell myself that I can’t live this way anymore. And I start counting all the bad things that are happening in my life because of my current behavior.
The point is: get sick and disgusted of where you are. And also get inspired by the idea of reaching where you want to be.
How to do that? That’s individual. However, talk to yourself, ask yourself questions, be honest with yourself, see the truth and be willing to change it.
Unless you really hate where you are, you won’t move to somewhere else. It’s painful to admit that you’re screwing up, but sometimes it’s the only thing that will help you to get your shit together.
Spend as much time as you need on this step. Feel the pain of staying the same. Imagine the worst case scenario and let that freak the hell out of you.
And trust me, when you get scared you’ll change. Nothing works better than pain.
Knowledge can make the difference between rich and poor. It can even make the difference between life and death sometimes!!
When you get paralyzed in life, you better go and learn something new. Go and read, attend seminars, watch videos and talk to wise people.
Without knowledge, you’ll never be able to create a plan. Without a plan, you’re stuck forever.
A plan is a map showing you how to go from point A to point B, but without knowledge, you won’t be able to draw this map in the first place.
In the real world, this means reading mostly.
Reading about self-confidence in order to build it. Learning about the damages of a bad habit. Reading about shyness in order to overcome it.
Gaining more knowledge about human’s interactions so you can become a better communicator, a better friend, a better spouse and a better human.
Reading more in your field so you can add more value. Learning what works and what doesn’t work.
In short, read, read and read even more.
Knowledge can be your strongest weapon, your cutting edge and your biggest advantage.
Reading is a must as long as you’re alive. And it’s a necessity if you’re having a problem that you want to solve and get your life together.
Below I’ll give you some guides that will help you with many of the problematic areas for many people. You can start with these:
- How to Be Confident: 25 Professional Tips That Do Work
- How To Break Bad Habits By Changing Your Lifestyle
- 5 Studies (With Case-Study) that will help you become more social
- Values are the backbone of your self-development journey
- I Hate My Life: Here’s How to Hate it a Little Bit Less
- What is Arousal Addiction and Why You Should Care
- Articles About Emotions: 1, 2 and 3.
That’s a lot of reading. Those 9 articles can fill a book of more than 60 pages (more than 50,000 words).
A lot of reading, but it’s worth it, believe me.
Start there. Those articles provide solutions to common problems that we all need to take care of when we want to get our lives together and move on.
Also, read books. Don’t just depend on articles online. Books are more thought provoking and much deeper than articles (the good books of course).
3.Get a plan:
Now it’s time to translate the knowledge that you’ve gained into a step by step plan.
For example, if you want to build self-confidence you need to come up with a plan so that you know what you have to do next.
A goal without a plan is nothing but a wish.
You need to draw the map between where you are and where you want to be.
Yes to do that you need knowledge. After you go and search for this knowledge, it’s time to use it to create a plan.
And here’s the most important thing: you must write your plan.
It’s not about the plan itself as much as it’s about the fact that you’ve taken the action of writing a good plan based on solid knowledge.
When you write a plan, a good plan, that action tells your mind one thing: I’m committed to change this situation that I’m at.
So, in short, after seeking good knowledge put all that knowledge into actionable steps that you can follow, and most importantly you must be convinced that you have a good plan that is going to work.
This is going to give you clarity, a relief and will tell your mind that you’re working on changing the situation. It’s a win-win.
4.Forget about all the previous steps!
This may sound weird, but really, forget about all these fancy steps.
As soon as you do these three steps, it’s time to forget about them.
Let me explain why.
Firstly, we humans are very unpredictable. You can get emotional today and write a great plan, but the other day you feel bad and you don’t feel like following through.
You can’t rely only on getting emotional, one day you can be feeling like you hate where you are and the other day it’s totally OK to stay there. It happens.
Yes sometimes you be so driven and you feel like you won’t ever stop. However, one day you can be feeling bad and screw your progress.
And when you do that, you’ll feel like you’ve been lying to yourself and you won’t ever change even if your life depends on it.
Secondly, I’ve noticed that many people get caught up in these steps more than necessary.
They spend too much time reading articles like this one, they spend too much time reading whatever self-help or psychology articles/books. But they just read. They never put that into real actions.
They feel like they need to be ready (whatever that means). But in fact, they only use this as a strategy to avoid taking action.
Instead of going out there and doing something, they’re trying to come up with a perfect plan. So, they keep reading in order to come up with a perfect plan or a strategy.
Get emotional by writing your reasons. Then get smart by learning more. And after that come up with a plan to start moving. These 3 steps shouldn’t take a long time.
One day is more than enough. I’m serious.
Write all these things, get some books and bookmark few articles. But Don’t get too caught up in planning and reading that you don’t do anything but that.
Don’t use reading, planning as an excuse to not take action. You know, “I’m not ready yet” type of excuses.
The three previous steps are an on-going process, meaning that you’ll always be getting emotional, consistently learning and adjusting your plan. Just don’t use them as an avoidance strategy.
Forget about them for now, and move on to the next step…
5.Change your environment:
Your surrounding environment has a great impact on you. To a great extent, it can shape your behavior.
If you’re in an environment that easily allows you to do a certain behavior, most probably you’re going to do it.
People who are in the military, for example, have different lifestyle and habits than people who party all night long and every single day.
When do they wake up, what goes in their stomachs, their daily habits, their personality and their outcomes, those will all be different.
The environment has a strong role. Your mind will adjust and adapt to your environment, whether you want to or not.
And by “environment” I mean all the following:
- Your friends.
- Where you spend most of your time.
- Who you spend most of your time with.
- The movies, shows, and music that you watch/listen to.
- Your social media (who do you follow?).
- The books that you read (or don’t read).
- How do you use the internet (which sites do you browse the most?).
This is very powerful. If you want to be a specific kind of person, a confident and outgoing one for example, then there’s a certain type of environment that you must put yourself in, and another type of environment that you need to pull yourself out of.
I’ll say it again, the environment is very powerful. You can’t be an optimistic person and you’re surrounded by negative people. You can’t be an outgoing person and you’re hanging out with shy people.
Back to our topic, here’s what I want you to do:
You want to get your shit together. And most probably, after going through all these steps, you have an idea of how it looks like to have your life in order (where you want to be).
I want you to imagine the kind of person who you’re aiming to be.
Now, what does his/her environment look like?
Who are the people he hangs out with? What those people are like? Where does he hang out? What kind of movies he watches? What kind of books he reads? Where does he spend his time?
You’re trying to figure out the new environment that you need to be in and come up with your own unique environment.
But generally, don’t over think the situation. Just get up and try new things.
Join a new class, start going to new places and meeting new people, try new things that you’ve never tried before.
Get away from the negative people in your life right now, or at least create a balance by meeting positive and strong people more often.
And so on.
The point is that you can’t move to another place while you’re surrounding yourself with the same outside influences (people, places, things, media …etc). You just can’t do that.
6.Time for commitment:
Let me define the word “commitment” for you.
Commitment means: deciding that you’re going to do certain action regardless of what happens.
I mean regardless of whether you feel bad or good, whether you’re tired or active, bored or excited, seeing results or disappointed, and regardless of whether you feel like it or not.
Under no circumstances are you allowed to stop doing these actions that you’re committed to.
In the context of our topic, I want you to choose few small actions. Based on all the previous steps, you should’ve known at least few actions that you must take.
Write those down.
I’m serious, write them down. Write them down on a paper, with a real pen.
This will send a message to your mind that you’re serious about this.
Those actions should be small and simple ones and very specific. Things like: waking up at 6 a.m. to do X. Going to the gym every Mon, Wednes and Fri at 6 p.m. Reading for one hour every day. Choosing a skill that you need and practicing it every day for X hour/s.
Small, simple and specific actions. You commit to doing these actions no matter what, regardless of how you feel like and what results you’re getting.
And trust me, sometimes you’re not going to feel like it, you’re going to feel like just watching T.V or doing something unproductive.
That’s where commitment comes into play. You have to do it regardless of how you feel like or what results you’re getting.
Consistency can never be without commitment. And needless to tell you, without consistency there are no results.
So you just need to pick those actions that will help you be where you want to be (sometimes you need to adjust them every now and then), and then commit to doing them regardless of whatever.
One last thing about commitment, sometimes you’re going to slip. We’re only humans. Don’t get too emotional and beat yourself up, just do it right the next time.
You didn’t wake up early today? Make sure tomorrow you do. Skipped a workout? Be there the next workout. As simple as that.
You see, you don’t have to be perfect. You either be perfect or consistent, but never both of them
That means you’re going to make few mistakes and not follow through sometimes, that’s OK as long as it doesn’t affect the whole progress. How can it not affect the whole progress? By picking yourself up the next time and doing things right.
It’s going to take time. You won’t see results overnight. Sometimes you need weeks and months.
What I want you to do here is to keep doing all the previous steps. You keep getting emotional, you keep learning, you adjust your plan, keep your commitment and keep everything up.
In the article The 4 Stages of Personal Change (And Any Change) I said that the last phase of change is the growth phase. During it, you just keep moving forward. There’s a certain amount of time and effort that has to be paid in order for you to be in another place.
Often you start small, and you feel bad because you’re not as big as you want to be.
That shouldn’t discourage you; you have to keep moving forward regardless of anything. Never give up and never stop.
Also, there’s something that’s called momentum.
Momentum, in our context, is extra motivation that your mind gives you when it starts believing that there’s hope.
I don’t care what results you’re getting, if you kept moving forward, you would start to see some results (no matter how small).
This is going to create momentum. You’re going to be eager to keep moving forward to get more results and eventually reach where you want to be.
Gaining pleasure is an appealing motivator.
In short, you have to keep moving. It’s going to take time, and you need to be patient and you need to keep moving.
Keep doing all the things that you’re doing, keep all the previous steps up.
Whenever you fall, you get back up again and keep pushing. Someday is going to be your day. Someday you’re going to be able to put your life together and be in a better place, as long as you’re moving forward consistently.
It would be a lie if I told you that you can get your shit together easily and with just planning and commitment. This last step is a little bit more painful, and it requires discipline, patient, and faith.
Be as patient as you can and keep moving forward. This is an essential phase of the change process.
It’s going to take time (not just time, but time spent taking action, of course) and all you can do is just keep moving.
As a last point in this article, watch this short (2 minutes) video. Keep the advice in it in mind while moving forward and applying all the steps in this article. There’s something good on the other side of your pain, as long as you’re fighting to get to that other side.