Second chances are hard to come by, but it’s even harder to make the most out of this chance.
To put that into perspective, around 44% of released prisoners go back to prison within the first year. By the 9th year, 24% more go back.
That’s because it’s hard to turn life around when you’ve experienced too many setbacks. How would ex-convicts change, for example, when all their lives they’ve only known one trade? Not to mention finding a decent job that would accept them is even harder.
Although this seems hard and riddled with complications, it’s possible to achieve new goals. Your mistakes led you to this road, so don’t let new mistakes take you to the road back.
Read on to learn how to turn your life around amidst all the consequences of all your past mistakes.
1. Acknowledge Where You Are Right Now
Before learning how to turn your life around, you must first identify your starting point. What do you have to work with right now?
Are you fresh out of jail or are you suffering from an illness? Or are you only tired of your current situation and want a better life?
List down everything you have, including the ones you want to change. That includes your living situation, your job, your health, your location, and so on. Accept that this is what you have right now, what you have done or not done in the past won’t change anything – but you can take steps to ensure you’re not staying where you are.
Then, identify which of these things you’re unsatisfied with. Do you want your illness to get better? Do you want out of your current job? Or do you want to try something new, but you don’t know what it is yet?
Identifying and accepting your life at the moment will help you figure out what steps you need to take next.
2. Re-evaluate Your Outlook in Life
While listing these things, however, remember that there are some things you can’t change. Some things are also harder to change.
Living with housemates is something you can’t change right away if you don’t have the resources to move out. An incurable disease will most likely stay with you, and a charge will be hard to expunge.
In these cases, what you can do is change your perspective. Instead of wallowing in regrets, be thankful you still have a chance to get better.
In the example above, acknowledge that living with others may not be your definition of an ideal life. But still, it can help you reach your financial goals because you share expenses. We call this making the most out of your situation.
3. Develop Clear Goals
Accepting your current circumstances doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a better state of life. Once you have a clear understanding of what areas in your life you want to change, it’s time to decide what exact change you’re looking for.
A new apartment for yourself? A new house for your family? Or a higher-paying job?
Find something that will make you motivated to get through each day. At the same time, it should help you make progress toward that goal. Make it realistic enough so that you won’t lose hope while trying to pursue it.
Then, put it in writing. This will help make it more concrete.
It will also help if you get visual stimulation by displaying your goals somewhere you can always see it. Stick it on your refrigerator, for example, or print pictures representing your goals.
Once you have an ultimate goal, list down what steps you need to take to achieve it.
4. Start Small
Having a goal is the first step to turning your life around, but how do you start in actual?
Find the easiest thing you can do right now and start from there. If, for example, you want your felony record expunged, start by researching what you need to do. If you want a new job that requires a specific skill set, research where you can learn those skills.
Take baby steps – small goals you know you can win. Remember that a small win is still a win and still an inch farther toward your ultimate goal.
Taking a big step from the start will only overwhelm you, which might send you back to your starting point. If you start small, though, you allow yourself to get accustomed to the changes before you start on the next one. Before you know it, you’re well on track to your goal.
5. Assess Your Relationships
Not all relationships nourish us. Some can set us back from making progress, and some are outright toxic. Identify these relationships and be ready to cut them out of your life.
Yes, you may have to lose some so-called friends if they’re not making a positive impact on your life. It may seem selfish, but to be able to get better, the people surrounding you must be willing to help you with that.
People going through rehabilitation, for instance, will need a strong support group. Friends who are encouraging them to do drugs or alcohol don’t fit in this group.
If they can’t stop these substances themselves, they must at least show restraint around someone who’s trying to move on from addiction. Even if they lose common ground with the said person, they will remain to be supportive if they truly care.
If this description doesn’t fit one or more of your relationships, you may have to distance yourself from them. This is the time when you need support and help the most, surround yourself with people who can give them to you.
6. Get Help and Perspective
Those friends and relatives you decide to keep, they must be willing to give it to you straight, as well. They must be willing to call out any bad behavior that’s keeping you from progressing toward your goal. They must do this out of concern; otherwise, you may feel like they’re only putting you down.
Getting an outsider’s perspective is important. Others may offer you a more truthful judgment of some things in your life. They may help you notice your bad habits and behavior that you’re not noticing.
Whatever it is, prepare yourself for some bitter truths. Prepare to accept them to be able to move forward.
Likewise, they must be able to recognize your efforts, as well. Getting validation means a lot to people’s self-esteem and it may help you get more motivated to get better.
They must also be the ones you can count on. Ask a friend to go with you to the doctor or therapist, for example, if going alone is what’s keeping you from doing it.
They may not always be available to help you, though. Despite that, know that you have their support while going through this process.
7. Form Healthy Habits
Eating the right foods and exercising will help you have the energy to do more. It helps regulate your sleeping patterns; so, if you’re having trouble sleeping because of your negative thoughts, improving your health may help clear your mind.
A clear mind can give you a fresh perspective on your life. It can also help you handle any setback and problems going your way. If you’re battling an illness – whether physical or mental – it’s in your best interest to equip your body with the best defense.
It can also help with depression. Research shows that exercising lead to an increase in endorphin levels. These are the hormones responsible for making you feel good.
Exercising also promotes the growth and connections of nerve cells, which helps regulate mood.
Increased motivation is also an effect of a healthy lifestyle. It can help you keep going even though you’re having tough times. You will also develop your self-discipline when you set out to be healthier.
As always, start in small increments. Start by stretching in your home for 5 minutes or jogging in your neighborhood. Stop eating pizza every day; choose a healthier takeout.
Soon, you’ll be exercising for 15 minutes, then 30. You’ll also stop getting takeouts or deliveries. You may start cooking your healthy meals for yourself.
8. Exercise Your Patience
Throughout this process, remember that you won’t get long-term results in a short time. You may not feel your progress, and you may even feel that you’re moving backward.
When exercising, for example, you won’t see your muscles growing until after a few months. You may not be able to change your living arrangement even when you get a raise. You may even get yourself in more debt if an emergency you weren’t prepared for happens.
All those inspirational quotes you’ve read are true: there are going to be major setbacks. Progress isn’t linear; getting distracted or even relapsing doesn’t mean all your progress have gone to waste. Pick yourself back up, and this time, aim to get farther than you have ever gotten.
Read More Tips on How to Turn Your Life Around
In the end, make sure you never stop learning about how to turn your life around. Keep an open mind on new solutions to your issues and don’t stop getting help and perspective from your friends.
But why stop here? We have a plethora of other guides for you to read and discover. Take time to read our other blog posts today for more tips and tricks.