How to Fix Your Life

Four Parts:Making a PlanFinding Solutions to ProblemsDealing with Your Behaviors and HabitsTaking Action

Once you have the insight that your life needs to be fixed, there are certain practical steps you can take to help you do so. Your thoughts, behaviors and emotions are all interlinked and affect, create and feed one another.[1] You have direct control over your thoughts and your behavior: changing these, will help you fix your life. Apply the methods outlined in this article to any aspect of your life that you want to fix.

Part 1
Making a Plan

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    Identify your goal. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for at least 30 minutes. You will need a blank sheet of paper and pencil. If you are at home with other people, ask them politely not to disturb you as you work. Switch off any music, television or devices that might distract you. Keep your phone on silent.
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    Think about what ‘fixing your life’ means to you. When your life is fixed, what will that look like? How will achieving this goal affect your life? Who will be the first person to notice when your life is fixed? Consider all these things as you think about what aspect of your life needs a change.
    • It's okay to start fairly broad. Just work toward an idea of what you want out of your life.[2]
    • For example, you could consider questions such as "What do I want to offer the world?" or "How do I want to grow?"[3]
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    Write down a clear, concise goal to work towards. Vague goals such as, ‘I want to be happy,’ or ‘I want to lose weight,’ are difficult to achieve. Your goal needs to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based.[4]
    • Such a goal will help you gauge your progress and let you know if you’re on track. So, instead of, ‘I want to lose weight,’ you can write, ‘I want to lose one pound every week until I weigh x pounds.’ You decide what fixing your life means to you.
    • It’s okay if you need to write your goal a few times before you reach a clear, concise one. Write your thoughts if it helps you process them better. Writing as you think can give you distance from your thoughts and more objectivity.[5]
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    Devise your plan. Break your goal into smaller, more manageable steps that can be targeted one at a time or simultaneously, if need be. Remember to write specific, time-based, measurable goals. For example, if your goal is ‘to get a job that pays x money within one month,’ you can break that down into:
    • Research job listings on company websites and LinkedIn (Day 1, 2 hours)
    • Write resume (Day 2, 1 hour)
    • Have a friend proofread it (Day 3-4)
    • Send resume (Day 5)
    • Follow up on application one week after sending it. (Day 12)
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    Stick the sheet of paper somewhere you can see it. Keeping your goal(s) and plan in plain view will help keep you motivated.[6] Stick them to your mirror/on your fridge/take a picture of them and save them as your lock screen; anywhere you know you will see them regularly.
    • Read your goal(s) every morning. This will renew your purpose and your desire to achieve them.[7] Don't just glance at them: make sure you read through your them properly. Start your mornings with a sense of purpose and renewed intention. This is an integral part of achieving your goals.[8]

Part 2
Finding Solutions to Problems

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    Take personal responsibility. Acknowledge the role that you have played in reaching where you are now, whether consciously or unconsciously. Taking responsibility doesn’t mean assuming the blame for something, it means being accountable for yourself. As you see that you play a part in creating the quality of your life, so you’ll see that you can fix your life.[9] Remember that you only have control over yourself: you can affect your actions and you can affect others, but you can not control them or the outcomes of what you do.[10]
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    Examine the problem. Having a clearer idea of how you arrived in an unfavorable situation can help you avoid making the same choices later.[11] Think of the lessons you’ve learned from the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Consider your social circle, your family circumstance, things you’ve said, things you’ve done. Consider the way you feel about things or if there is anything you’re trying to avoid. These will help with your next step.
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    Identify obstacles you may encounter. Make a list of all the obstacles that might be or are keeping you from achieving your goal(s). Think about your own behavior, other people you might have to talk to, amends you might have to make, things you might have to buy or things you might have to throw away. Think about the sort of people you hang around and the things you do together. Your obstacles will vary depending on your situation.[12]
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    Think of solutions. For each obstacle, make a list of solutions. What will be the best way to approach this? Will you have to change your schedule? Will you have to ask people for help? Think of different ways that you can overcome the obstacle, if you come across it. Consider the pros and cons of each solution.

Part 3
Dealing with Your Behaviors and Habits

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    Identify the behaviors that keep you from achieving your goal(s). Knowing these can help you identify and adopt alternative behaviors that will help you achieve your goal(s). The things you do will be key to fixing your life.[13]
    • On another sheet of paper, list down all the things you do that keep you from realizing your goal(s) and fixing your life. These can be big or small habits and routines. Perhaps you stay up too late watching television and this makes you late for work. Or perhaps you eat three helpings of dessert after every meal and it’s affecting your diabetes.
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    Identify the pattern. Identify when and where you're more likely to engage in these behaviors. Beware of these situations and places. For example, if your goal is ‘to lose x pounds in x weeks until I weigh x pounds’ but you eat donuts when you're stressed, then stress is a trigger to look out for.[14]
    • Think about what leads you to behave in certain ways or find yourself in situations that you don’t like? If you have a habit of spending too much money and acquiring debt, is there a particular thought, emotion, or occasion that motivates you to shop? Sometimes the root of these issues are deeply hidden and sometimes they are right in front of our faces. Give yourself time for gentle introspection. Ask yourself when a particular problem or behavior started— you might find answers there. Is there a feeling or thought that you are trying to avoid? When you were growing up, did you see someone displaying a similar pattern?[15]
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    List alternative, productive behaviors. Now that you understand which behavior is keeping your life the way it is, think of things you can do that will help you achieve your goal(s) and fix your life. The next time you are stressed, you can perhaps do breathing exercises or engage in other relaxation techniques. Or instead of spending two hours on Facebook or Tumblr before going to bed, you can spend half an hour doing that, and spend an hour and a half doing an activity that will directly help you achieve your goal(s), such as draft a resume.
    • Your alternative behavior does not necessarily have to be a completely different behavior. You could reduce the amount of time you spend doing one thing and instead allocate that to another.
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    Replace your unproductive behaviors with productive ones. The next time you feel like doing something that you know is detrimental to your life, choose to do something that will help you achieve your goal instead. This will require actively choosing one behavior over another. You will need to be disciplined.
    • Consider asking a friend to help you change your behaviors.
    • Remember that you do not have to dislike something in order to stop doing it. You only have to want something else more.

Part 4
Taking Action

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    Start now. It can be tempting to think to yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow or you’ll do it after x thing happens. Procrastination stems from a fear of failure.[16] The longer you put off changing yourself, the longer it will take to fix your life.
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    Surround yourself with positive people. The people you hang around will have a significant effect on you achieving your goals.[17] Look for friends who will encourage you and help you to better yourself. Tell someone you trust about your plans and ask them to help you fix your life. Such people might give you valuable advice and resources that you would not have thought of on your own.[18]
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    Measure your progress. The plan you laid out earlier will let you know if you are on track. As your goal(s) are time based, you have a schedule to follow. Sometimes, things happen that you didn’t account for and your plans may get delayed. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t making progress. It just means there’s an obstacle that you didn’t foresee. Don’t take this as an excuse to give up. Think of a solution, factor it in. Remind yourself why you wanted to fix your life in the first place.
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    Keep going. Fixing your life won’t happen overnight. It takes time to break old habits and practice new behaviors and it takes time for results to happen. You might find yourself berating yourself and being critical. Remind yourself that negative thinking leads to negative behavior.[19] If you fall back into an old habit, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed and are back at square one. Remind yourself of your goals and why you wanted to fix your life in the first place.


  • Your life is not necessarily 'broken' and in need of a 'fix'. In the context of this how-to article, 'fix' is used as another word for 'change'. Your life is growing and evolving.
  • You don't have to ‘want to change’ in order to do it. For example, you do not have to ‘want to quit smoking’ in order to do it. You only need to want something else (e.g. healthy lungs), more than you want to smoke.
  • All of us criticize ourselves, some more so and more often than others. You are not alone.
  • Try to gather a support system to help you achieve your goal(s). This can be anywhere from one friend to a whole group of family and friends. Find someone to confide in who will encourage you to stick to your goals.
  • Keep reminding yourself of your goal(s).

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Creating Life Balance