So you recently lost your job or broke up with your boyfriend or failed your class or realized that you are on a career path you have no interest in. Or maybe all of those at once? We’ve all been there, in that moment when you find yourself back in your parents’ house, sleeping on the couch because they converted your bedroom into a home gym or craft room (how does scrapbooking take up an entire room, Mom?!)
Look, there’s nothing wrong with taking a few weeks to mourn the loss of the job/guy/dream. I sympathize with you, I really do. But there is a fine line between taking time to get back on your feet and entering into a lifestyle in which you find yourself taking an avid interest in your dad’s coin collecting obsession or your mom’s love for online mahjong.
If you find yourself in this position it’s time to get up, take a shower, make yourself presentable, and get outta there.
How did I GET here?
When you are looking for a fresh start, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is simply moving forward without first looking back.
If it’s a break-up you’re recovering from, ask yourself what went wrong? Be honest with yourself. We all want to blame the guy for everything (which, if he cheated, is exactly what you should do). But if things just didn’t work out after 2 years of dating, you need to learn from your mistakes before jumping back into the dating scene.
Make a list of all of the things you wish you’d done differently. Then ask yourself how you can improve upon those mistakes next time.
Or perhaps you finally quit that job you hated. How did you end up in a job you hated?? The last thing you want is to be in the same spot 18 months from now, wondering why you can’t find something to do that you love. Why did you get that job in the first place, what went wrong while you were there, and what did you enjoy or not enjoy about it while you were there?
These types of questions can help you think more critically about where you go from here.
Looking back is a super helpful way to make changes instead of repeating unhealthy cycles that leave you crying into your bag of Oreos while crashing in your best friend’s tiny studio apartment.
What do I WANT?
So few people ask themselves this question! Seriously, girl, what do you want? And not just now. What do you want 10 years from now? I can guarantee the answer isn’t “to be exactly where I am now.” Yet that’s exactly where you’ll be if you don’t ask this question.
Do you want a job you’re not qualified for? Well, you might have to work a job you hate for a while as you go back to school to become qualified. Don’t be a whiny baby about it. Make a plan and keep that goal in mind. It’ll get you through the hard days.
Do you want to have healthier relationships? Stop complaining about it and do something about it. Cut yourself off from unhealthy relationship patterns, whether they are with guys or your friends. Get out there and meet new people. Be ok with the fact that it can take some time. It’s worth it to develop healthier, more mature relationships.
Do you want your own place? Stop spending your money on clothes every payday. Find a place you love, print a picture of it, and stare at it every time you’re tempted to waste your money on something that doesn’t last.
If you don’t have what you want in mind, you’ll keep going back to the same old patterns.
What should I DO?
As I just mentioned, there are little things you can do that help you move forward. But it takes more than just having a goal in mind to move forward. Don’t hate me for saying this, but you might have to get some help if you really want to make lasting changes.
Are you tired of relationships that go nowhere? Don’t just hope that it doesn’t happen again. Share that list of what you want with your closest friends and have them hold you to it. You might need them to drag you away from that cute guy who still lives in his parents’ basement. Let them do this! You won’t regret it!
Meet with a financial or academic advisor. Those people have those titles for a reason. It’s ok to admit it: they know more than you do. Let them help you make a plan that actually helps you pursue your wants and goals.
So, are you ready to get out there and change your life? I thought so. Don’t just think about it, do it. If you’re reading this in 3 day old PJs and watching reruns of Sex and the City in the background, I think you know what I’m going to say: time to get up and get a move on! You owe it to yourself to make these changes in your life.