So you hate what your life has become, huh? Well, I’m deeply sorry that you feel that way. But given that you are not here for pity, I’m just going to cut to the chase.
Right now you probably feel stuck between a rock and a hard place with no sign of hope. I know, because I’ve been there too.
In this article, I’ll prove to you that the solution is actually very simple. However, beware that simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
1) Get up (right now!) & give yourself a treat
Before we get to the “real stuff” that requires changing major aspects of your life, let’s put you in the right mood first. I don’t want this to be one of the many self-help articles you’re reading these days so might as well just trust me on this.
I want you to think of something that has been proven to bring you joy every time you engage with it. Don’t overthink it! We’re looking for something small, even insignificant at glance.
For instance, such a thing for me would be a big cup of iced Mocha Macchiato with extra caramel and whipped cream. No matter how low I’m feeling, I know that when I take a sip of this divine substance, my mood will get better instantly.
I’m asking you to do this because the scientific evidence proves that your mood improves when you participate in something that brought you pleasure in the past.
So think of your version of iced Mocha and grab it to uplift your spirits right now! This is also a great exercise to remind you that when nothing seems to go right, there still are little things that can make the day a tad bit brighter.
2) Identify the things that make you feel this way
It is very important to have a clear view of things that make you go “damn, I hate what my life has become!” Ask yourself – what affects you in such a negative way that makes everything seem hopeless?
Are you stuck in a dead-end job? Is your state of mind affected by toxic people? Do you feel like you’re failing your loved ones?
The first and the only step to turning your life around is identifying these pain points. Take a deep breath, try to look at your life from a distance, and capture the aspects that you believe are responsible for your current state.
Keep in mind that very often, the real reason you hate your life is a matter of perception. Our response patterns to numerous stressors are established in early childhood. So how you react and perceive certain events in your life is rooted in a deeply subconscious level.
Dig deep into your feelings. Very often, we feel like our life is not what it needs to be because we live by someone else’s idea of happiness and success. This “someone” can be your parent, spouse, or society at large.
Either way, try to detach yourself from other peoples’ expectations and focus on yourself; think of what makes you happy, and define your own idea of a fulfilling life.
3) Break out of the routine
Even now, when you hate what your life has become, you’re living in some kind of routine. Waking up in the same bed, eating the same breakfast, going to the same boring job, having the same small talk with colleagues over and over again… you get my point.
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I’m not going to tell you to become unpredictable and start doing spontaneous stuff on a daily basis. Humans are habitual creatures so we need to have some kind of routine to live by. However, given that you don’t feel happy with your life, it’s time to change your current routine into a new, healthier one.
Again, easier said than done. So start small. There’s no need to tackle your most prominent bad habits on day one.
Take a bus to work instead of a taxi; take a 5-minute walk after lunch; read a chapter or maybe just a page in a new book you’ve been meaning to read forever; restrain yourself from scrolling through social media the first thing in the morning…
Slowly introduce yourself to the new things and don’t forget to be proud of yourself even when you’re taking baby steps. You’re on the right path, so cherish it and encourage yourself to keep going!
4) Take care of your body
When you feel mentally broken, it is easy to let go of your physical self as well. “I hate what my life has become, so who cares if I shower, sleep or eat well?”
I know it’s not easy in your situation, but if you don’t care for your physical well-being, you won’t have the energy to achieve the healthy headspace needed to turn your life around.
Remember, that at this moment, the perception of your self-worth is already pretty shaken. So living off fast food, while being sleep-deprived and inactive, will only make it worse.
Again, start slow – no need to come up with a strict meal plan or workout routine straight away. All you have to do is go to sleep 30 minutes early, eat an apple instead of a chocolate bar as a snack, or walk to your office instead of taking a bus.
While it can take you months to figure out how to find inner peace, things are pretty straightforward with physical stuff. Your physical well-being is 100% under your control so take advantage of it.
Taking care of your body will not only benefit your health, but it will help you feel in control of your life again.
The research suggests that feeling in control is essential for mental well-being as it triggers positive emotions.
It goes something like this – once you notice that your body is improving because you made it happen, you’ll regain the sense of power you have over your being, which is essential for you to make even bigger commitments for turning your life around.
5) Set boundaries
Trust me, I get that saying “no” to people who have been in your life is very difficult. In fact, it can be tempting to abandon your needs just to avoid turning down the proposal. However, you know better than I do that people-pleasing is the last thing you need right now.
Make peace with the fact that it is perfectly normal to say “no” to an invitation when you don’t feel like going for it. This doesn’t mean that you’re disrespecting or upsetting a person you’re turning down; this is just you being mindful about your time and energy.
Actually, saying “yes” to something just because you know that the other person will react negatively, is a major red flag. It is a sign of toxic behavior when someone can’t deal with such a minor rejection; it is even more toxic when they make sure you feel bad for it.
Keep in mind that right now, when you’re trying to turn your life around, your energy is the most valuable tool up your sleeve. So be picky about how you spend it. The right person will never have a hard time understanding and respecting your boundaries.
Invest your energy in people and activities that contribute to your mental well-being and say “no” to situations that are beyond your personal limits.
6) Be aware of your feelings
There is a long way from the point of “I hate what my life has become” to “I love my life”. In between, there is a process of self-exploration that consists of choices, decisions, and actions. When you start introducing new experiences and behaviors to your routine, you also need to reflect upon them.
Observe how these new experiences and activities make you feel.
Say, you had your first yoga class today.
At the end of the day, take a minute or two to go back and think about how it made you feel – Were you comfortable during the class? Did completing that headache of a pose on your first try make you feel powerful? Did this activity take your mind off of stress for a moment?
I think you got my point.
By observing your reactions and feelings throughout the day you become more self-aware. This will allow you to identify the things that make you feel better and things that don’t. When you do so, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what is worth keeping in your life and what could use an adjustment.
7) Don’t be afraid of setbacks
Sure, it is important to stick with your new habits and practice them consistently. However, be realistic and don’t pressure yourself in the process.
Don’t expect to feel or do better in a day or two. Don’t beat yourself up if your mind starts drifting towards familiar yet self-destructive behaviors.
Your current life (that you claim to hate) is a combination of habits, and habits are not easy to break.
In fact, according to the research it can take anywhere from 18 to 250 days to break a habit and 66 days to form a new one.
So don’t expect to transform from zero to hero overnight – it’s simply inhumane.
Here is an uncomfortable yet inevitable truth – you will most definitely make mistakes on the way. No matter who you are or how determined you might be about turning your life around.
But let me also tell you that mistakes are part of the process. Not only that, you desperately need them to really, truly explore your inner self.
So be brave, look at your mistakes straight to their ugly faces, and learn from them.
To conclude, when the phrase “I hate what my life has become” circles around your mind, you have everything on hand that is needed to turn the situation around.
It’s that simple (but not easy, remember?).
Start small, add to it every single day, and your life will transform without you even noticing.