When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. To get through difficult times, you need a plan you can rely on. Here’s how to make one and stick to it.
By: Chloe Persichetti & Cameron Kennerly
Life is always on the move.
For better or worse, the feeling of unpredictability can affect our ability to focus. New problems always seem to come out of the blue, and when they do, they slow down our sense of progress and momentum.
Being thrown off course can come with a lot of mixed emotions, and it’s easy to feel like giving up. So, what do you do when your first step forward costs you two steps back?
You remind yourself where you’re going and get back on the path.
To help you shift “permanent” roadblocks into temporary setbacks, we thought of a few ways to keep you focused and moving during difficult times.
Here’s a good push in the right direction.
Start Setting Short-Term Goals
Few great things were accomplished without a plan.
It’s impossible to prepare for every curveball life throws at you, and sometimes, you just need to take the hit, dust yourself off and take your base.
Every step forward requires a plan, a sense of direction and, more importantly, a reason why you’re heading there in the first place. To stick to your path in the face of difficult obstacles, you first need to define it.
Thankfully, this can be accomplished in five steps:
- Write out THREE goals you want to accomplish in the next 3-6 months.
- Make them lofty enough to inspire you, but rational enough to be doable.
- Analyze WHY you want to accomplish them; visualize the end result.
- Create a daily routine for your life that pushes you closer to these goals.
- Do the hardest things first
- Do the hardest things first
- Rewrite these goals – and their everyday steps – DAILY on disposable notecards.
- Give yourself a small reward every time you accomplish one of your daily tasks.
Committing to a given plan of action creates a routine – and a strong routine builds the kind of progress and discipline you’ll learn to rely on over time.
Take Care Of Yourself – Especially the Little Things
Whether you’re cleaning your room or cooking a nice meal, enjoy the moments that bring stability and order to your life. By focusing on the things you can control rather than those you can’t, you distance yourself from life’s daily obstacles, allowing you to shift your mental energies solely to what matters: your life, your loved ones and your health.
Self-care is an act of kindness. Once you take the time to invest in your own wellbeing through proper hygiene, a healthy diet, good exercise and time to relax and hang out with friends, you’ll feel great.
That feeling keeps you hopeful, and hope keeps you focused.
Once you’ve created a routine and environment that serves you and your ultimate goals, all you need to do is focus on the daily tasks you need to accomplish – regardless of life’s changing circumstances.
Turn Off the Sad Music
We’ve all been there. The relationship that’s on the decline, the job that’s not what you expected, the dream that feels further out of reach; disappointments in life are inevitable, and sometimes it just sucks.
But while it’s easy to turn on the emo lo-fi hip-hop playlist you’ve got bookmarked and lie in bed for a few hours, don’t let yourself wallow in defeat – you’ll only prolong that negative feeling.
Sadness, like any other emotion, deserves to be felt. But, that also means letting it pass.
When you experience a defeat or setback, it’s okay to mourn the loss, but you must accept it and move on from it. The sooner you can recover from failure and move ahead towards progress, the more successful you’ll be in the long term.
Next time you’re feeling down, put a song on that makes you feel good; one associated with positive memories, that you can’t help but dance to and smile like an idiot. Music has the power to affect emotions, and when you listen to upbeat music, serotonin is released, lifting your mood and giving you the forward momentum you need to push through difficult times.
Remember That Everything Is Temporary
You’re stronger than you think you are. From the moment you came into existence, you battled every obstacle in front of you, took every correct path, and have arrived as a singularly unique being that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the universe.
Life itself is a story of challenge and constant struggle.
It’s also a story of triumph.
And for you, that’s power.
Look to your past and recognize that you’ve already made it past hurdles you never thought were possible. You can accomplish anything you set your mind on, you just need a plan worth sticking to.
When times get difficult and it’s hard to stay focused, you can count on us to bring you solid advice on living your best life.