Want to improve your life but not sure where to start? Here are some ideas to get you moving in the right direction.
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photo source: Allen Goldblatt, used by license, no changes made
Ever been in that place where you feel like you’re surrounded by chaos and aren’t really sure where you should start in making things better, where you can improve your life? I have been there many times, often when it comes to housekeeping. It can be scary, but it feels so good to dig yourself out.
I think all of us, if we’re honest, can say that we’d like to improve our lives in some way or another. That’s not to say that we aren’t thankful or appreciative of the lives we have, but I think there’s always room to grow, ways to improve. No harm in trying to be better than you are.
Sometimes, it’s really clear where you need to improve your life. Other times, it’s not so clear.
You might just have a vague malaise. You know that things aren’t running as smoothly as they could, but you’re not really sure where to start to improve your life. Everything’s okay…..it’s just not maybe great. Or maybe you’re just a tad bit overwhelmed by the little tweaks you could make in all the areas.
Sister, you are not alone. I’ve been there. I think it would be unnatural if we didn’t find ourselves in that place once in awhile. This past week I was kinda feeling that chaotic kind of feeling, so I decided I needed to get some plans in action, revisit my goals now that we’re halfway done with the year, and think through some strategies to start the next school year well.
Here’s the process I came up with, aptly titled,
How to Improve Your Life when You Don’t Know Where to Start
Ready to walk through the steps?
1. Ask yourself what you want.
Years ago I realized that I needed to understand the vision I had for my marriage, family, and home life. If I wasn’t clear about those things, I couldn’t very well communicate them with my husband or children about achieving that vision. Or get their input.
I found that to be honest with myself also enabled me to focus on the positives and the goal, instead of dwelling on what might be missing or need improvement. To keep the end goal in mind is key in so many things, but especially when you want to improve your life.
2. Do a self-inventory.
When you’re not sure where exactly to start in improving things, it’s time for a little self-inventory. There are lots of methods in which we can evaluate ourselves. You can talk to your husband and close friends for advice. Do some journaling; look at past goals that you’ve created for yourself.
You can also give yourself a satisfaction survey. Ask yourself: how satisfied are YOU in these areas?
- your spiritual life
- your physical health
- your emotional well-being
- your intellectual growth
- your home
- your marriage
- your parenting
- your work
- your money management
- your hobbies or things you do to expand your horizons
- your other responsibilities (such as homeschooling or community service)
In my Fresh Start Planning Kit, I’ve included a number of exercises to work through this kind of personal inventory, narrow down priorities, and get a grip on where I am and where I want to be. Working through it over the last few weeks has been really eye-opening.
3. Choose one thing to work on for the next month.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t “fix” everything you think needs improving all in one go. Choose just one area to work on and focus on that for the next few weeks or month.
In my own self-evaluation, I found that my house is currently the low man on the totem pole. (No surprise there, eh?)
While it’s good that I’ve been investing in other areas, I think that our family’s overall well-being would be increased if I upped my game a bit more on the home front. I’ve let things slide a little too much lately.
That’s my focus at the moment. I want to dig out in terms of housekeeping. With school starting sometime in the next month, I want to get us back to shipshape and have some better systems in place. I dug out the school room and library already, so it’s just some basics that need to get reset.
photo source: Kenny Louie, used by license, no changes made
4. Start chipping away at that one thing.
Start chipping away at your one thing. I’ve heard this called the penicillin method. When you get one area of life in order, the organization can spread like penicillin in a petri dish. Weird, but I like the analogy.
I got a good start on shipshaping when I went through the girls’ room with them. Originally, I thought we’d get the boys’ rooms done last week, but running everyone to church camp every day and being away from home for 5 hours every day threw a wrench in that. I’m hoping that this week we can manage our afternoons a little bit better.
Helpful resources to help you improve your life
There are resources that I have used over the years to improve myself, refine my goals, and enjoy my life a little bit more.
The Revive 30-Day Organizational Challenge – a course designed with this whole process in mind.
The Print & Go Planner – the personal planner that I use to track pretty much everything
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
What strategies are YOU using to improve your life?
Originally published July 23, 2016. Updated January 2018.