5 Things You Should Do When It Seems Like Your Life Is Falling Apart

Originally written for Inside Out Magazine and published in Feb. 2015.

At times in life it seems like nothing is going according to plan.

The path, ever so carefully laid, seems to be crumbling at every turn.

Your “Five Year Plan” is starting to look more like a pipe dream than anything else and you just don’t know what to do. On days like that it’s easy to sit around and wonder what you did wrong and why nothing seems to be going your way. That has been my life recently.

The last few months have a merry-go-round of disappointment, unmet expectations, and hopes dashed.

So what do you do when it seems like nothing is going your way?

I don’t know. I am trying to figure it out, but I just don’t know. So if you came here looking for a step-by-step guide to turn your life around I am sorry to disappoint. I am just like you, a normal guy trying to figure out this sometimes beautiful, often baffling, always complex thing called life. But I have found a few things that can help keep the melancholy at bay.

1. Set Goals And Reach Them

I am talking about the kind of goals that you can reach in a day or a week. Don’t get me wrong, long term goals are important but what you need right now is a shot in the arm of accomplishment not the seemingly far flung hope of a long term goal. So set a goal you can reach today. Maybe it’s to go for a run, or to write a blog post, or something else entirely, just accomplish something. Then set a goal for the week. Maybe it’s to finish something you’ve been putting off, or it could be just to read a book. It really doesn’t matter what your goals are, just so long as you are accomplishing them.

2. Revel In The Small Victories

When you accomplish something, even something small, take note. when something good happens, take note. And celebrate the little wins. I got a 28 on the ACT, one point better then my long-shot goal. That is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life but when it seems like nothing else is going your way even little things need to be celebrated. One of my new years resolutions is to get a jar and whenever something good happens to write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar so that at times like this when I am feeling down I can open up the jar and see all the good things happening in my life.

3. Reach Out To Friends

This can be especially hard for guys, when we’re down our natural instinct is to isolate and muscle through our problems. The problem is that that isn’t healthy. One of the first things God said about human beings is that it is not good for us to be alone. Isolation is no way to live. We were meant to have fellowship with other people and sometimes you just need to talk about your problems with someone.

4. Unplug

Maybe it’s time to log off Facebook for a while. If you find yourself wallowing in self pity after you get read social media it’s probably time to give it a rest. When you compare your life to other people’s Facebook timeline it’s like comparing their highlight real to your behind the scenes. Sometimes you just need to take a step back from the virtual connections and connect to real people in real life.

5. Pray

Don’t think I am just tacking this on at the end to earn Jesus Points. I want it to by the thing you walk away from the post with, so I want it to be the last thing you read. God doesn’t want us to come to him just when things are good, and when things are going according to plan. Pour your heart out to God, tell him how you’re feeling, tell him what’s wrong, tell him your fears, after all he’s the only one who really knows whats going to happen tomorrow, or next year for that matter.


Why You Need To Start: One Key That Changes Everything

I can’t even begin to tell you how many posts I have written but never pressed the publish button. And I ask myself why. Why did I give up after the post was already written? After the hardest part was done, why is it that step I am most unwilling to take is to simply click the publish button?

think a lot of people have this same problem. Whether it’s with writing, business, relationships, or anything else, we have an inherent fear of clicking publish, a fear of taking the leap and committing. We believe what we have to say, we trust our business instinct, we know how we feel about that person, but we’re afraid to click publish and expose those beliefs, instincts, and feelings to other people. We fear the reaction of others more than we believe in ourselves.

In my own life, I have found this to be caused by three things.

  1. Fear of rejection.
  2. Fear of failure. 
  3. Feelings of inadequacy.

These three forces combine to create, what I call, The Triad of Inaction. The Triad of Inaction works to insulate us from our fears but ultimately succeeds in destroying any influence we may have.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

William Shakespeare

The antidote to the Triad can be summed up in just two simple words:

Just start.

I am not saying its easy, our fears will always seek to hold us down because once you start overcoming them you realize, it’s not that hard and when that happens your fear no longer controls you.

Starting can be terrifying, most of your life you’ve been training yourself to minimize your exposure to criticism and starting flies in the face of that. Starting is the opposite of what we naturally do. Starting takes courage, starting takes faith, and starting takes just a little bit of crazy.

So how do you start, starting? Start small. Start telling that special someone how you really feel. Sure its terrifying, because they could reject you, but whats the worst that could happen? They walk away, you learn, you move on. That’s not so bad.

The best thing about starting is that it get easier. the more you start the more you want to start. The more you want to start the more starting becomes a reflex instead of a choice. When starting is a reflex you don’t even have to think about it, you just start.

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt