You know when you get in one of those moods, and you start to feel pretty frustrated with your life? Maybe even depressed? I was feeling it a couple of nights ago, and fueling the fire with more and more pitying thoughts. After a while, I started to get sick of it. I forced myself to stop the lonely pity party and do something about my problems. I’ll make it easy and even provide some suggestions so that the next time you’re feeling this way, you’ll be able to stop yourself and attack it at the source.
The only way to get yourself to stop feeling like your life sucks is to be proactive about your problems and find solutions.
The “Do Something About It” Template
you can use this template to really think about your goals. What part of your life can you not stand the most? Which area is the most pressing? Your health? Your job? Your wife or husband? It’s time to align your life with your priorities. It starts with defining exactly what it is that upsets you or stresses you out the most, and then finding a model (ie: a person to look up to) so you know what it should look like. I strongly recommend that you write this down; fill in the blanks on a piece of paper or online journal:
- Something you dislike about yourself: ___ (choose one each time for simplicity)
- On a scale of 1-10 (10=most), how much do you dislike this? ___
- Why does this part about your life suck?
- How did you end up in your current situation?
- Whose life (or facet of life) do you look up to or wish to be?
- How do you think you can emulate this person’s life so you can improve your own?
- What tools or resources will you need to have? What will you have to learn or buy?
- Define your goal for this change: ___
- Now make steps for working towards this goal, of changing what you dislike about your life.
- What can you do this year? This month? Today?
Examples to get you thinking and on the path to change.
Here are some ideas of common life suckers and how to change them. I can’t give all the answers, and I wouldn’t know them anyways (since there are many paths to the right choice), so I’m going to lay out all the options I thought of for each of the scenarios and it’s up to you to put them to the test and see which change will work.
- You hate your job. Start by finding out what it is that you hate: your boss, your coworkers, the industry you’re in. You may have to switch departments, location, or even find a new career that you love. The first two reasons will mostly consist of finding out how to do those things, and interviewing at a new branch. You may want to brush up on job interview skills and update your resume. If you choose the last option, your goals will also include perhaps going to community college or new training. Research what you want to do and see what schools will allow you to get a job with a degree or certification. What brings you the most joy?
- You don’t like something about yourself – clothes, weight, hair. Physical appearances are relatively simple to change. If you don’t like your clothes, find out why and start learning about how to have style. Buy a fashion/style magazines (girls, go to Allure or Glamour; men, try GQ) and go online for ideas. Try some retail therapy. Depending on your budget, go to stores like Macy’s Kohl’s, etc. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money: try thrift stores, Savers, Goodwill. Or, swap clothes with friends and ask them for advice. If you dislike your hair, do the same thing, but look at hair magazines and consider a totally new change like cutting your very long hair or straightening your curly hair. A good color change and hair cut will do wonders for self esteem. Weight is a different animal. This requires learning new nutrition and fitness information and implementing better habits daily. Start exercising every morning and eat more vegetables to start. Read a fitness-minded magazine like Fitness or Shape and go online to find a good exercise equipment, video, or gym membership plan. Make sure you also tackle the bigger issues here – emotional eating, large portions, or even depression. Seek professional help when necessary, even if it’s just one session with a personal trainer.
- You hate where you live – your room, your apartment, maybe even your state. Make sure you define clearly what it is you dislike before doing anything drastic. What bothers you the most about where you live, and what answer do you think will make you happier? Look around for different apartments in the area and find a better floor plan, more space, less money. Tackle roommate issues head on, even if it means you moving out. If it’s your area bothering you, start exploring new cities around you or in a different corner of the state. This could be hard if you live in a large state. Ask around in forums or craigslist for information on other cities and towns in your state for better living areas. If you dislike your state, find out why (the snow, the harsh summers?) and choose states to visit first that don’t have what you dislike. If you hate snow, consider moving south or west where the snow barely hits. If you hate summer, move up north. If you like all the seasons, go towards the northeast. Search online for places to visit and that would interest you – make lists of the perks they would offer – excellent schools? low crime rates? cheap rent? nicer people? no hills? culture-rich city? quiet rural area? commuter friendly? Consider what is important for you. Visit places first and if you like a place, look for jobs and apartments/houses to move there. Make sure you consider all risks and costs involved with this step, especially the further away you move. Make sure it is something you really want.
- You don’t have many friends, or the ones you do have suck. Look in the mirror first. Are you a bad friend too? Consider working on your weaknesses like being bossy or avoiding calls to hang out first. Then consider what bothers you about your friends. Are they sketchy? Do you feel like you’re being used? Do they never call but hang out with their other friends? Do they lie? Are some of them downright abusive or manipulative? Get rid of toxic friends first. This is an awkward situation, so end it as clean as you can. Be straightforward and end all ties that are holding you down or making you feel awful. If you’re feeling lonely, find out if depression isn’t making you avoid your friends and/or interests. Then force yourself out of your comfort zone and find ways to make new friends — at parties, clubs/bars, libraries, gyms, school, the bus station, the park. Be friendly and don’t be afraid to ask people for their number or email address. Make plans to hang out with people and have fun with new activities. Pretty soon you will introduce him/her to your own circle of friends (and your new friend will introduce you to his/her’s) and your friendships will expand, giving you more opportunities to meet new people.
- You feel like crap, and you want to eat and live more healthfully. This usually goes hand-in-hand with being overweight. Figure out what your bad habits are and why you do these things. Make an active effort to learn more about healthy eating (magazines, library books, youtube) and start buying more fruits and vegetables. Start small and replace unhealthy versions with better ones that offer more nutritional value and lower calories. And if you eat out a lot, learn to cook a few healthy staples — you will lose weight, eat more vitamins, and save money, too.
- Your life is a bore, and waking up feels like a chore. If you have the following symptoms: lack of appetite or increase, insomnia or sleeping too much, not interested in things you used to love, isolating yourself from friends and family, feeling down, sad, or irritable, and thinking about suicide or death, you may have depression. If this has been going on consistently for more than 2 months, please make an appointment to see a therapist. It may be hard to take that first step, but it is worth it. Depression may underlie many of the symptoms listed here as hating your life, and may manifest itself into eating too much (or not at all), avoiding friends, hating your job, or not feeling pretty or worthy of affection. If you feel like your life is never good enough, and it is a struggle to do even simple everyday tasks like take a shower, eat, or get out of the bed, then you need to seek help immediately. Search for a psychologist in your area A.S.A.P.