Friday, September 7, 2018

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There are those chilling moments in life where you can tell that everything is just going wrong. Sometimes it happens out of the blue, and you’re assailed by multiple crises one after the other, and sometimes it builds up. You have a bad run in the office, and then an unexpected bill hits you, next thing you know you’re sick, and your car has broken down on a rainy day.

Things can quickly mount, and issues can build up, to the point where what was once a fairly manageable issue threatens to become a major life crisis that you will have real difficulty salvaging.

The key, when this unfortunate kind of situation arises, is to catch things as early as possible, and take the right kind of steps to begin correcting course as soon as you notice what’s going on.

But what are the right steps to take? In this article, we’ll take a look at a few things you can do in order to seize back control of your life when you can feel things sliding off the rails.

Research practical solutions before taking rash action

When you first notice that things are not as they should be, you may well be inclined to resort to rash actions in order to attempt to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

If you’re in a bad financial situation, for example, you may find yourself itching to sign up to the first unscrupulous payday loan provider you can find, without undertaking the process of learning what you should know about the various options available to you before committing to any single one of them.

It is simply in your best interest to pause, take a deep breath, and do your research before committing to any course of action which could have long-term or significant consequences for you.

The internet is a great resource for finding out about different strategies that people might use when in a tough situation, and various kinds of support groups, programs, and services are available which can help you to identify the best course of action before diving in headfirst.

Assume an attitude of extreme personal accountability

When something goes wrong in your life, it generally a good idea not to beat yourself up too much. It’s likely that you may only be partially, if at all, responsible for the way that things have gone. This doesn’t, however, mean that you’re free to sit back, cry, point the finger at others and try to externalise your issues.

The hard reality is that you need to adopt an attitude of extreme personal accountability in order to make the right kind of productive changes in your life going forward.

While you shouldn’t beat yourself up about how much of a failure you are, you should act as if you are 100% responsible for the way that things develop going forward, even if, on paper, you’re not.

Why should you do this? Simple. When you adopt an attitude of extreme personal accountability and take the default position that the outcome is in your hands and your hands alone, you empower yourself, psychologically, to take as much action as you can to set things right, while remaining driven and motivate to do so.

The opposite stance — one that says you’re a helpless victim who’s been hard done by — does not empower you at all. It robs you of your power and increases the likelihood that you’ll only sit in the corner feeling bitter, sad, and resentful.

Focus small, very small, and work on making things incrementally better day by day

When things go wrong in your life, you will often want to take the biggest possible corrective actions you can think of, as soon as possible. Sometimes this may be viable. In many instances, however, being overly frantic and ambitious in your attempted solutions will only set you up for failure and disheartenment.

Instead of shooting for the star, consider starting small — very small — so small that it’d be nearly impossible for you to fail — and do whatever you realistically can in the moment to make things even just a fraction better.

Keep doing that on a daily basis, and before too long, you’ll be in a much better position than you were to start with, and will be well on the way to getting things back on the right track.

These small actions could be having a difficult conversation with a loved one, or opening a new bank account, or even just vacuuming your home. Whatever makes things a bit better than they were before.

Try to restructure your habits and systems in line with what will be most beneficial for you

Humans are, to a large degree, creatures of habit. It’s not so much that we make conscious decisions about everything we do in our lives, it’s more like we run on autopilot for a significant chunk of the time, and look up occasionally to see what’s going on around us.

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comics, notes that it’s the systems we have in our lives — those routines that we play out each day for their own sake, without really giving much thought to a distinct goal — that define our destiny to a very large degree.

Charles Duhigg, author of the book “The Power of the Habit” frames things similarly, when he talks about “keystone habits” that radically affect the way we live our lives.

To get your life back on track as soon as possible, one of the most meaningful things you can do is to identify the kinds of habits and routines that would be the most beneficial for you, and then to take steps to implement them, bit by bit.

Focus on one or two at a time, and keep the rest written down somewhere you can refer to them often. The more of these habits and systems you manage to successfully adopt in your life, the more you can expect to benefit in the near future.


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