How to Get Your Life Back on Track in 4 Easy Steps
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Do you ever feel like you’re in a groove, everything is going smoothly, and then something happens that completely derails you? Illness, vacation, a death in the family, or maybe you just try to relax for a couple of days, and it feels like everything falls apart?
Or you have a big, awesome goal that you’ve worked hard to achieve for months, but then the everyday responsibilities of life get in the way, and one day you look around and realize that you haven’t touched anything to do with said goal in, like, a month?
I’m certain that you can relate to at least one of those things.
And why is it so hard to get back into the swing of things?
You guys. Let’s backtrack for a sec.
It’s been a minute. I didn’t mean to not post anything for a month, but life, ya know?
My sweet pup died suddenly. Then there were out-of-town guests. I got sick, then we went on vacation, and then I got sick again (what is up with this summer sickness!?!?). Then my *real* job got in the way – kicking off a new school year is no joke when you’re second-in-command at a school (not to mention the fact that we doubled in size from last year)! To top it all off, we threw a new puppy into the mix – the timing was terrible, and I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking. But he’s cute, so there’s that 🙂
All of a sudden, a month has gone by without writing – which happens to be one of my favorite things to do.
Things are finally starting to calm down a bit in some areas, but now it feels extremely overwhelming to get the other areas of my life back on track. You know what I’m talking about – those areas that make up the most important bits of me. My house is a disaster, my blog has been seriously neglected, and my family needs some attention as well.
When these perfectly normal hiccups happen, panic and overwhelm start to settle in, and it feels too hard to work to that point where you feel on top of things again. For me, the biggest part of the challenge is to calm my mind down enough to get out of the overwhelming, near-meltdown situation – even though I know that calming down is exactly what I need to do.
No matter how hard you try to keep your life, your home, and your family running smoothly, there will always be “exceptions” – times when following your regular routine is nearly impossible. What you need (and this goes for me, too) is a quick-and-dirty method to help pull you back on track.
Here is the 4-step strategy that I use to bounce back – and I’d be willing to bet that it’ll work for you too 🙂
4 Easy Steps to Get Your Life Back on Track
#1 – Start with the Basics
Sleep, water, healthy food, exercise. I know you hear allll the time that these things are important, but it’s the truth.
When we’re crazy busy, we tend to stop taking care of ourselves. We sacrifice sleep to try to get more done. We don’t drink enough water. We eat unhealthy snacks and convenience foods because it feels like there’s no time for anything else. Or we eat unhealthy snacks and convenience foods because vacation 🙂
It’s nearly impossible to get back on track when you’re exhausted or have been eating junk for days.
Sometimes, this first, most simple step of taking care of yourself is all you need to start feeling in control again.
Start NOW. I mean it. Go have a glass of water and a healthy snack!
#2 – Breathe
This “secret” always makes me feel more in control. Do not – I repeat, do NOT – skip this step, even though it might feel frivolous and like a waste of time.
Stop everything and breathe. Take 15 minutes to have a cup of tea and stare out the window. It feels counterintuitive to pause and sit down for a few minutes when there’s so much to do, but it’s so important to re-center and calm your racing mind.
Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. When I’m feeling uninspired and unmotivated, being mindful of why I do what I do helps me get back on track more quickly.
Evaluate what’s actually important and what’s just noise. When you slow down and are mindful and present, not only will you give intention and brainpower to what actually matters, but you’ll even start to enjoy your life more.
I love being a mom, having a cozy (and clean-ish) home, and feeding my family well with home-cooked meals. When I remember those things, it’s easier to calm my mind and focus on what’s important to me right now, in this moment.
If you’re feeling like your life has gone off the rails and feeling the pressure to do all the things, it’s time to slow down and take 15 minutes to breathe.
#3 – Make A Plan
While you have those things that actually matter to you in the front of your mind, make a plan.
Get organized. Do a brain dump. Write a to-do list. Take all those random sticky notes and add them to a master list.
Whatever your chosen method, figure out the top 2 or 3 things that NEED to get done. These are tasks that:
- Align with your values or your why,
- NEED to get done, or
- Will make you feel most like you’re getting back on track
Do those things first.
For me, I choose things that align with my values. In the previous step, I said that I love being a mom, having a cozy (and clean-ish) home, and feeding my family well with home-cooked meals.
So my top 2 or 3 things are the most minimal things that I can possibly do to align with those values.
This means that I usually end up starting with the kitchen. As the hub of my home, when the dishes are piled up in the sink and the counters are covered in crusty food (yes, it happens, even though I wish it didn’t), having a clean kitchen is my #1 get-back-on-track task.
My next thing is to start a load of laundry. It doesn’t take long, but there’s something about having empty hampers that makes me feel more in control – even if I never do actually get all of that laundry put away.
And after you get started…
#4 – Keep Going
After you complete those top 2 or 3 things, you can either let momentum carry you, or you can sit back down and figure out the next right thing (or two). At this point, I like to sit back down and plan out the next few days. What’s on the list that can wait for tomorrow? What should really get done today?
Breaking the rest of your tasks down into “next right things” will help you get more done, versus dealing with the overwhelm of trying to accomplish all of the tasks that are running through your mind.
Action Leads to Motivation
Most of us lie around waiting for motivation to kick in. I know I do! I feel overwhelmed, stuck, and unmotivated, and then I wonder why the inspiration to get moving never comes.
Here’s the secret (and a direct quote from my “How to be Productive When You’re Not Motivated” post): It takes action to create motivation.
If you sit around just waiting for motivation to shine down upon you from the heavens so that you can finally get your life back on track, you’re doing the wrong thing.
The way to find that mystical motivation and get back on the horse is by taking action. It’s even scientific – by simply getting started, you’ll release neurochemicals in your brain that create the motivation you’re seeking (dopamine and oxytocin in particular).
Start NOW. Don’t wait for Monday. Don’t wait for next year. Just get started.
If you’re feeling like life has gone off the rails, I hope you’ve found these steps helpful in getting it back together. They’re the same steps that I use more often than I’d like to admit. These simple things take me from feeling completely out of control and overwhelmed to getting my life and home back on track. Especially Step #2 – do NOT skip that one!
We’ve all been there. Stuff happens. There are some seasons of motherhood that are just more difficult than others.
Remember that, eventually, things will get back on track. Even if you choose not to follow these steps, motherhood has this way of pulling us along, even when we think we absolutely can. not. do it anymore.
Be kind to yourself, experiment with your own strategies to get back on track, and give yourself some extra grace so that you can get out of the overwhelm and back on track. It’s not easy, but you WILL get back into a groove for your life that is healthy and sustainable.
How do you get back on track after vacation, illness, or other challenging event? Leave a comment below!