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.
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.
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.