Getting back on track after something bad happens in your life can feel daunting. The important thing to remember is that you should only take on what you can handle, when you can handle it. We don’t always know the outcomes of actions we take. Sometimes things happen to us without our foreknowledge. But we can improve our lives if we’re aware of where we are and what we’re capable of. As Maya Angelou says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” You can turn things around as long as your practice mindfulness and good habits that support your happiness and health.
Take things one day at a time and celebrate your successes. Even small steps forward are putting you in motion. Time passes whether or not you are mindful and take action toward changing your life, so you may as well spend it building a life that makes you happy.
Prepare for Your Day
Sitting down at night to make a schedule and prepare yourself for the next day guarantees two things. First, that you’re prepared for anything that needs to be done. Second, that you’re aware of the challenges you’ll face and how to accomplish them. Even ten minutes with a calendar can make you much more mindful about how your habits affect your outcomes.
For example, if you’ve experienced some kind of illness, make sure that you’re building healthy habits to restore or retain the health you have. A healthy meal plan, an exercise plan that’s both enjoyable and attainable, or even a reminder to take medications or vitamins will add a lot of benefit to your life. Part of getting back on track is taking care of yourself.
Preparing for your day also ensures that everything that needs to be done gets done. Whether you’re trying to file paperwork, finish a project, or apply for jobs, being mindful about what needs to be done is a major component to success. Otherwise you may end up floundering and spending time where it doesn’t need to be spent.
Honestly Assess the Situation
Grab a pen and paper and write down the situation as you see it. Write down what happened, why it happened, and what you can do to go forward in the best way possible. Taking an honest assessment of the situation can help you decide how to get back on track without taking any wrong turns. Being honest and mindful about your situation will help you move to where you need to be.
One way to do this is to find where the blame should be placed. If someone else is to blame, they may need to take part in fixing the situation. For example, personal injury attorney John Rapillo explains that compensation after an accident “can mean the difference between living your life normally and financial ruin.” When someone else is to blame for your problems, consider how they can help you and take steps to get the help.
If you’re unable to get the help or if your situation has nothing to do with others, assessing your position can still help you get your bearings, plan the future and move on.
Accept and Acknowledge Your Feelings
If you beat yourself up for feeling bad about your situation, you’ll only send yourself spiraling deep into guilt. That’s not a way to get back on track. Instead, accept that you are going to have bad days and good days.
When a bad day happens, take a deep breath and let the thoughts roll in and out. Imagine them as writing on a screen that appears and disappears as it comes and go.
Also consider pursuing mindfulness meditation. It may help you be more aware of why you feel or act in certain ways. It can also help you mitigate the negative effects of adversity as you focus on restoring your life to the way you want it to be. A clear mind and better emotional processing can be valuable as you improve your life.
Resist Comparing Yourself to Others
Social media offers you a curated highlight reel featuring your friends, coworkers, and relatives. But that’s all it is: a highlight reel. When you compare your life to others, you’re doing yourself an injustice and putting a roadblock between you and the life you’re working to achieve. Studies have even shown that people who spend more time on social media are less happy than those who are on it less.
When you find yourself making a comparison, examine why you made it. Think about why you have those impressions of them. Determine why you have the specific feelings you do about the comparison. Understanding your feelings may even help you develop a roadmap to where you want to be as you move on from your adversity. If you’re jealous of a friend who travels a lot, for example, you may want to add travel as a reward or goal to your life plan.
Having an idea of why you suffered adversity, how to overcome it, and what you want from your life will help you get back on track. Don’t rush yourself and don’t worry if you suffer setbacks. Being mindful about your past and present actions will slowly work toward building a better future.
Adversity is unavoidable in life, but how you react to it says a lot about who you are. Leave the past in the past and prepare to move on. So take a deep breath and start working on creating the life of your dreams.