This is your wake up call.
How to Improve your Life in 3 Steps
- Think about your core needs. What would you need in your life to feel happy? It could be very simple, like more friends, or a partner, or a secure home, or a healthy body. Your core needs are typically tied to your first and/or second instinct.
- Write down what you envision your ideal life to be like. Your ideal life would fulfill your core needs as best as possible. Try to keep that vision within the parameters of what is realistically possible, though. As far as I know, there is no way to actually live in Narnia or marry Christian Grey. Ideally, your vision is about something that is challenging, but you know you could potentially make it a reality if you were persistent enough. You can also create a vision board, if you like. If you struggle with coming up with a vision, write down your issues first and later what your life would be like if you didn’t have them.
- Break this vision down into concrete goals and subgoals related to it, and achieve those through creating new habits. For example, your goal is to be fit and healthy. One subgoal would be to eat healthier. Underneath it you’d write additional information, like you will eat primarily vegetables, lean protein, and avoid processed foods *every day*. Make it a habit. Hold yourself accountable. Have a diary, or a checklist. Of course you’ll need to know what to do in the first place. You can discover your subgoals and the best way to achieve them by following advice from books, YouTube videos, etc.
Essentially, your subgoals are primarily about getting rid of those issues or blocks that keep you from continuing on your path and getting closer to your dream life. Some examples of issues that keep you from living your dream life are: Addictions, Poor Diet, Poor Health, Mood Disorders, Depression, Anxiety, and so forth. Anything that compromises the quality of your life in a negative way.
Let’s say you suffer from Depression or Apathy. You find your life meaningless. Figure out what you are drawn to, or what you were drawn to before you became depressed. Your goal is to feel joyful and excited about your life. Or in other words, your goal would be getting rid of your Depression or Apathy. Figure out why you are depressed – what core need hasn’t been fulfilled? Fulfilling this core need would be your subgoal(s). Seek out help and advice on how to reach that subgoal. (Therapy can be a good guidance here, but your therapist won’t tell you what to do, you have to figure that out on your own.)
By the way, you have developed this issue (or several), because you failed to reach that goal (or stay at the top of your game). Likely, someone took your feeling of security and wellbeing in that area away from you: Your best friend ended your friendship. The love of your life broke up with, or cheated on you. Your boss fired you and now you are struggling to make ends meet.
You have little to no control about those external factors, but you have control over how you react to them, and what you make of them.
I know it is incredibly difficult. But great things require effort. I am still on my own path. Though I can give a few extra tips, based on what I have learned from reaching certain goals in the past.
Things to keep in mind
You need to be clear about your Goal and Subgoals. This way, you have a plan or a map that you can follow. You won’t step around aimlessly in the dark. You’ll have a light you can walk towards.
One step at a time. It can be tempting to focus on several Goals at once. However, big life changes require a lot of energy. Before you know it, you could be burned out from trying to reach all those Goals, and end up not achieving any of them. Start small, and then expand your efforts as you improve.
Be confident in the fact you can achieve your Goal(s). There have been people with the same issues and goals like you before, and they have succeeded. They’ve done it, so can you!
Know your “triggers”. For most people, stressful situations or negative life events can throw them off. Prepare yourself for such situations mentally, and get right back on track when you fall off the wagon.
It takes time. Achieving your subgoals and consequently your goal(s) doesn’t happen in a day or a week, but over a longer period of time – months, or even years.
It’s okay to change your Goals. Our needs can change, and so can our goals. Do not feel bad or guilty about changing your goals to fit your new vision(s). It’s fine or even recommended to change your goals, as long as you do not change them because you feel like they are “too difficult” or “too much work”. Otherwise, I urge you to not change them and try to persist.
Keep going! Do not stop doing what has helped you reach your goal(s)! Do not fall back into old habits. Your new habits shall stick. And keep coming up with new goals and dreams, do not stagnate. There is always something greater to look forward to.
The journey matters more. At the end of the day, the process of taking massive action towards a goal matters more than achieving the goal perfectly. It is not about perfection, it is about striving and improving.
The journey stops only once you are dead. As long as you are alive, you have another chance – and another one, and another one…
It is never too late to live the life of your dreams.