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October 12, 2013

Reclaim Life in 5 Steps. ~ Leslie Mason

There are times in everyone’s lives when things never seem to go right, when things seem impossibly out of our control.

Here are five positive changes we can implement to help gain control and recover our lives.

1. Set Goals 

From Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland comes this wonderful quote:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” said Alice.
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Knowing where you are going is a big step to staying in control of your life; otherwise, you can wander a dozen different paths and never get anywhere. Set goals to keep your life on track and headed in the direction you want it to.

Good goals follow the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. For example, setting a goal to “lose weight” isn’t as beneficial as setting a goal to “lose 10 lbs in six months (by June 24th), by exercising three hours a week (comprising two hours of strength training, one hour of cardio), practicing portion control with meals and substituting one healthy snack for one sugary snack every day.” A SMART goal is much easier to follow and stick to.

Don’t forget to reward yourself as well when you meet your goals. Achieving goals is hard work—you deserve a prize at the end!

2. Get Organized 

Another way to make your life less cluttered and chaotic is to become more organized. Use a planner, calendar or whiteboard to keep track of events, deadlines and special dates. This will help you know in advance when you need to prepare for something—keeping you out of the procrastinator’s mindset—and help you avoid double booking days.

De-cluttering your home will also help you feel more in control of your life, as well as help you feel less anxious, stressed and muddled. Put things where they belong, throw out things you don’t need, and give things to thrift stores and donation boxes. If you’d like a few extra dollars, hold a yard sale. The point here is to get rid of clutter that keeps you from feeling at ease.

3. Get Healthy

When you have no energy, or when you feel ill, sluggish or listless, dealing with life is much harder than it needs to be. When your physical self is not healthy, it affects your mental and emotional health as well, making it harder to think through problems, find solutions and handle pressure.

Making better food choices and exercising just a little bit each day will start to greatly improve the way you feel. You will have more energy, think more clearly and be able to meet life’s demands.

4. Get Social

This is probably the one step in recovering your life that will help you the most. We as human beings are social creatures and going too long without interaction with others will leave us feeling lonesome and depressed.

Being with other people is a great stress reliever because it lets us talk, laugh and unwind in a positive environment. It creates a stronger support group for when we are in times of trouble; having a friend who brings soup when we are sick or takes us shopping when we’re stressed, can make all the difference in the world. Having friends and social interactions has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, strengthen the body’s immune system and lengthen life expectancy.

It is also easier to care about yourself and have a sense of purpose and belonging if other people care about you too.

If you are overcome with loneliness, sadness or feeling overwhelmed, sometimes a friend is all you need.  

5. Seek Help

There will be some problems you cannot completely solve on your own, even with a friend or two to help. Sometimes addiction, debt, self-depreciation or bad habits can completely take over our lives. Seeking professional help, such as therapy, drug rehab or working with a debt advisor, is nothing to be ashamed of or avoided. We all need help at some point in our lives, and there is no reason to postpone getting your life back when there are people out there who know best how to help you.

Recovering your life can range from simple to complicated, but following these steps will get you back in control and headed in the right direction.

Keep on the path, and you can end up where you always imagined you’d be.

 

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Assistant Ed: Jamie Khoo/Ed: Sara Crolick

{Photo: Nadine Wills}

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