1. The first thing you need to do is remember that everything is temporary. This state that you’re in is not going to last forever. Whatever outside or inside variables contribute to feeling this way are also impermanent. Even if whatever is going on has been a pattern for most of your life, that does not mean it is always going to be. You have the power to shift things around and create new patterns, but you are far less likely to if you don’t believe you can. So the first thing you need to do is find some hope. Look to other people that have drastically changed their situation. Whether that’s friends, historical figures, or even fictional characters, you need some inspiration. I can promise you that change/growth is possible, but real change is also slow. It takes lots of time and lots of trial and error. You have to be willing to get back up after 100 failures. Find a role model to look to as a reminder when you are feeling discouraged about how hard growth is, this will keep you going. I like to think of all the famous people that did incredible things after they had failed a million times first. Tolkien was in his 40s when he wrote the hobbit. Robert Carrow took 10 years to write the power broker, which he won a Pulitzer for. Ken Jeong was 38 when he got his first major Hollywood role and switched from medicine to acting.
2. Make a list of everything that isn’t working. If things aren’t working for you right now, it’s important to see this as a state not a trait. States can be changed, but first you must take inventory. Sit down a make a list of all the different areas in your life. Family, school, work, friendships, romantic relationships, finances, health, joy...etc. Under each, take time to think about any changes that would drastically change your life or how you feel about yourself. (Remember you can’t change anyone else, only yourself. You can ask for what you need from others, but you have no control over their ability or desire to give it to you.) With each area you notice, you will also write why it isn’t working for you, how you want it to change, and what you’re going to do to make that happen. Here’s are a few examples to get you thinking:
Not Enough Money
I can't pay my bills, I feel stuck, I don't feel safe, I feel stressed, I feel behind my friends.
Make $15K more within 1 year
Start job search online, update resume, talk to boss about raise, take extra certifications, take online classes to finish degree
____ always makes me feel bad about myself when we talk
I feel bad about myself, I feel angry at them, I feel like I can't tell them how I feel without consequences, I feel like I have no self respect because I keep letting it happen
Only have relationships with people that are respectful towards me
Set rules around what they can no longer say to me, set boundary for how I will respond if they continue, talk to ____ for advice, research healthy communication techniques, talk to therapist about relationship patterns
3. Revise again and again. Start to notice the cues that something in your life is not working. If you start to feel defeated, remind yourself that this is not a message to give up, but a message that it’s time to pivot. Make a new list and figure out what has to be worked on. Also, know that you will be making these lists all throughout your life. Life is always changing. There is no place of “good enough” that will just get perfect and stay perfect.
4. Bonus: Check out this post about regaining control. It was written to help you get out of a slump.