Life is pretty fast-paced these days.
It can seem like there’s pressure coming from all sides to perform and succeed, whether that’s in your career, family life or social status.
With all this pace and stress, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind. To counter this, I’ve put together 20 tips on how to get your life together and start feeling like a success.
1. Become an Early Riser
The first step to win yourself is wake up early. – Sukant Ratnakar
If you want to improve your life, getting up early should be your top priority.
You might be immediately put off by the prospect of an early start, but if you can push through that initial resistance, waking up early has many benefits. It’ll not only give you a head start on the day, but it’ll give you a head start in life.
While it might not work for everyone, waking up early has a public track record of success. Many CEOs and other highly successful people are known to wake up in the ungodly hours.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up just before 4 am every morning. He spends his first hour checking emails and reading customer feedback, then the next hour exercising and having breakfast.
Actor Mark Walberg gets up at 2:30 am each day to fit his workout into his busy lifestyle. He starts with a prayer and then breakfast, before beginning his exercise at around 4 am. He’s done just before 5:30 am and then has a second meal and a recovery session in a cryotherapy room.
These two highlight the primary way in which getting up early helps you get your life together. Simply put, it gives you more time in the day.
One of the biggest excuses we tell ourselves with self-improvement is that we don’t have time for it. We’re too busy to go for a run that evening or don’t have time to meditate in the morning.
Whether that’s true or not, getting up early ensures that we make time for these healthy habits, rather than hiding behind excuses. Imagine what you could do with all those extra hours in the day.
4 Hacks to Help You Get Up Earlier
- Start slow. Don’t jump straight in the deep end and get up at 3 am. Start by gradually setting your alarm a little earlier every week. Say you start at 8 am, a week later go down to 7:30, the week after that 7:00, and so on.
- Don’t push too hard. There’s no need to get up at 3 am unless it suits you. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gets up between 7:00 and 8:00 am, and still manages to be the wealthiest man in the world. So pick a time that works for you.
- Go to bed earlier. This tip is essentially about prioritizing the morning over the evening. For most of us, the morning is far more productive than the evening, so give it priority.
- Use your time wisely. To that end, use the extra time you’ve given yourself to improve your life. That doesn’t mean you have to work in the morning, but make sure that extra time in your day translates to extra productivity.
2. Sleep Well
Happiness consists of getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more. – Robert A. Heinlein
Sticking with the same theme, if you want to be performing at your best, both mentally and physically, then getting a good night’s sleep is vital.
Sleeping well can improve your immune system, focus and memory, as well as your health in general. It can also reduce stress and increase your overall mental health.
The accepted norm tends to be that most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep per day. This can be stretched either way to suit you and still fit in with my first tip on how to get your life together.
Take me for an example. For most of the year I like to get up at 6:00 am—so to make sure I get enough sleep, I go to bed at 11:00 pm. This gives me a nice seven hours and is the amount of sleep that suits me and my lifestyle.
For whatever reason, sleeping for seven hours leaves me feeling light and refreshed, but if I stray either way, to six or eight, I notice the difference. I feel groggy and lethargic until I’ve had a coffee.
Much like choosing what time to set your alarm, deciding on how long you sleep is a choice that you should make based on personal circumstance.
How active are you in the day? How old are you? What do you eat? Most importantly, what feels right? Your body will tell you when you’ve hit that sleep sweet-spot.
Check out this graphic by Tech Insider for some solid tips on getting a good night’s rest:
3. Become Goal Orientated
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. – Bill Copeland
Goals drive action. They do so by setting clear intentions that we hold ourselves to.
Whether they’re on the wall or in the back of our heads, goals are always there, reminding us what we’re striving for and why we’re striving for it.
Motivation can be hard to muster when we forget what we’re working for. Goals give us direction and enthusiasm while allowing us to track our progress.
This is key in maintaining motivation. I have given up on so many things in the past because I felt like I had stopped making progress.
When this happened, a natural weighing process occurred in my brain, deciding where my attention would go. I’ll use meditation as an example.
Over a long period of time, I taught myself meditation. For years I practiced but never managed to do it consistently. I would never make it more than a couple of months at a time before giving up.
The first month would be great because I could feel the rapid progression. But when the progress slowed down in month two, I stopped recognising it and the practice began to feel like it wasn’t worth my time.
I recently bought a book called The Mind Illuminated. It has step-by-step breakdowns of everything you’ll face in meditation, as well as a chart of progression. It has 10 clearly defined goals I can aim for.
This has helped me massively by breaking down meditation into manageable goals rather than one big mastery.
Having these clear goals helped me to realize that I’d already achieved some of them. This was so motivating because someone was telling me I had already made real progress.
And if I achieved those goals, what’s to stop me from achieving the others and mastering meditation?
So, set goals, break them down into smaller goals, make them clear and ensure they are somewhere you can see them.
Speaking of meditation…
4. Learn to Meditate
Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight. – Ajahn Brahm
Meditation has many benefits—and it’s a fact that more and more of us are realizing in the 21st century.
The practice is proven to reduce stress, boost moods and help with anxiety and depression.
It can also help with work, family and social life while improving our concentration, compassion and focus.
Personally, meditation has really helped me get my life together. It brought me out of a depressive phase of my life and reduced my anxiety.
Not only that, but it helped me to find my passion by increasing my self-awareness. And it gave me the motivation to strive towards that passion.
Whether you’re looking to strengthen your mind or just reduce stress, meditation is a great tool for personal progress. And it will likely have a knock-on boost to the other habits on this list.
Information on how to meditate is readily available today, a quick Google search will likely lead you in the right direction. Headspace has a great page on meditation as well as a handy app. The Calm app is also worth a try.
4 Tips that Helped Me with Meditation
- Don’t try too hard. Willpower hasn’t got me far with meditation. So, rather than forcing myself not to think, I acknowledge the moment that I catch myself thinking and bring myself back to the present moment. There’s much less resistance this way.
- Use positive reinforcement. Beating yourself up for thinking too much will likely only harm your practice. I’ve found positive reinforcement after I’ve caught my mind wandering to be far more effective.
- Enjoy yourself. Meditation won’t feel like a chore if you enjoy doing it. Focus on the good feelings in your body as you relax. Be aware of the natural joy that can arise during meditation and praise yourself for doing well.
- Pick the right time and stick to it. I meditate in the morning when I still feel fresh and awake. Practicing at roughly the same time each day helps meditation become a habit and prevents procrastination.
5. Read More
Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. – Vera Nazarian
Reading is perhaps one of the most common habits among successful people.
One of the more well-known examples being the reading habits of Warren Buffett. He is said to spend around 80% of his day reading. Earlier in his career he read up to 1000 pages per day.
But Buffett isn’t the only successful guy out there who reads a lot. Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are all known to be avid readers.
A study of 1200 of the world’s wealthiest people, researched by author Steve Seibold (How Rich People Think), concluded that reading is a hobby most wealthy people share. And that what they read tends to be non-fiction rather than fantasy.
Which makes sense if you think about it. All these people know the value of knowledge and education, and through reading, they’re constantly learning and educating themselves.
Therefore, they’re always growing and evolving. They’re going to bed smarter than when they woke up.
While the examples I’ve used are business/money related, reading isn’t something that can just help you grow financially. In fact, it’ll likely be the personal growth from reading that sparks your financial growth.
I’m a keen reader of self-help books and they continuously help me get my life together. Whether I’m stuck in a rut or completely lost, books on personal development have always given me ideas and inspiration to change my life.
My 3 Favorite Self-Help Books
6. Keep a Clean Home
If you want to organize your psyche, you could start by cleaning your room. – Jordan B. Peterson
You might think that cleaning your house has little to do with getting your life together, but it can play a significant yet subtle role.
For me, having a clean environment to live/work in boosts my mood and increases my productivity.
A messy home tends to make me feel lazy and lethargic, meaning my productivity falls through the floor.
This leads to me slacking off from exercise, work, meditation and just about anything I do that’s healthy. The knock-on effect from that goes on to negatively impact the rest of my day and the rest of my life. So for me, a clean living space is vital.
I’m a firm believer that a clean room makes a clean mind and I suppose this tip is essentially about organization. By organizing your home or work environment you’re more able to operate well in that space. Just like a decluttered mind is able to think more clearly.
There’s also value to be found in the small acts of will and discipline it takes to tidy. Check out this speech from US Navy Admiral William H McRaven:
7. Be Who You Are & Tell the Truth
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. – Bernard M. Baruch
There aren’t many things that will hold you back from happiness more than not being yourself.
Mainly, because all the time you spend being someone else is time and energy spent away from what you truly want. It’s quite literally, time and energy thrown down the drain.
How can you attract the right job, the right friends, the right partner for you when you are not being you?
All you end up achieving is a false life that has taken you further from where you want to be. You’ve wiped you off the map for the past who knows how long.
If you want to find the right friends, the right partner and work that excites you, you have to be yourself and tell the truth.
This means right down to the core.
Not just “it was me that ate that last cookie”, but “this is how I feel, this is who I really am and this is what I really want”. These truths will start to drive you forward, and this time, in the right direction.
And if you don’t know what you want, try this next tip.
8. Look Inward/Become More Self-aware
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. – C.G. Jung
So much of the time we look to outside sources to give us purpose and happiness, but I’ve found that the best answers to these questions come from within.
As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true in more ways than one.
Firstly, looking within allows you to identify what truly makes you happy. Through increasing your self-awareness and spending time in reflection, you can really get to know yourself.
This helps to put you on the right path towards the kind of life you want to lead and through that, happiness is often created.
This second idea is a little more abstract but no less true:
Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events. – Dalai Lama XIV
Now, this doesn’t mean forcing yourself to be happy in bad situations, it’s more about perspective.
Rather than fighting against the bad, you can learn to see the good. I’ve found this is most effective in seemingly mundane things like going for a walk.
If I walk in the right mindset and appreciate the world around me, I tap into a natural joy that seems to arise from just being present and aware. A real and tangible form of happiness that is coming from within.
And just like money makes more money, or mess makes more mess, happiness creates more happiness.
It’s not always easy to cultivate, but a basic level of happiness from within, born from a satisfaction with who you are and what you have, is more sustainable than external happiness.
The outside world is always changing. Learn to be happy with your constant inner.
Tip #4 (meditation) is a great way of doing this.
9. Take Cold Showers
Momentum solves 80% of your problems. – John C. Maxwell
Ultimately, it’s small actions like taking a cold shower that can really help you to get your life together.
One word: momentum.
By building on one another, small actions taken daily turn into big change and significant progress.
Having cold showers is one of these small actions, and it can have a positive effect on your wellbeing.
Cold therapy is well known for its physical benefits and is used by athletes and military personnel to improve recovery times after exercise. Explained here by former Navy Seal Clint Emerson.
Though it wasn’t until I came across a guy called Wim Hof (The IceMan) that I learned about the potential mental benefits of cold exposure.
Wim teaches breathing techniques and cold exposure, amongst other things, and holds several insane world records. One of which is climbing 22,000ft of Mount Everest in nothing but shorts and shoes.
Back in January this year, Wim and his team gathered feedback from people who practiced his methods, which included daily cold showers.
The feedback they got suggested that while the physical benefits of cold exposure are good, the mental benefits are potentially greater.
Many of the participants reported reduced levels of anxiety, stress and depression, in combination with boosted moods and energy. It’s intriguing stuff—check out the video below to learn more:
10. Set a Routine That Works For You
The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. – Mike Murdock
Any combination of the tips on this list will take up a chunk of time in your day.
You might find yourself feeling unmotivated to do them or struggling to fit them all in.
This makes it vital to set them into a routine that works well for your personal schedule and needs. Trying to force them in at the logically best time won’t always work and can end up doing more harm than good.
For example, I’m currently doing several of the things on this list. It’d be hypocritical of me if I wasn’t.
The productive stuff I do in a day always includes a cold shower, a sitting meditation, some work, a walking meditation, some reading and a run.
Listed out like that it seems like a fair bit, but because I have fit each thing locked in as part of my consistent and enjoyable routine, it doesn’t feel like hard work.
The first thing I do when I wake up is play a video game or watch tv for about 45 minutes over breakfast. I just like to do that.
It suits me well and makes my morning meditation feel like less of a chore because I’m not getting out of bed to be productive, I’m getting out of bed to relax and eat.
By the time my meditation rolls around, I’m more awake and ready to focus.
It’s certainly not a traditional routine, but it works well for me. Not just in how I feel, but in my results too.
As you’re probably learning, my whole routine is a mix of practicality and what feels best.
I’ll end my post-meditation shower with one or two minutes of cold water to freshen me up and then I’ll go out for a walking meditation. This takes about half an hour and leaves me feeling fresh and content.
After that, I’ll start my day’s work of writing until 3 pm. I’ll then read a chapter or two of a book and relax some more before going on a run in the evening.
That’s just the way I like to do things. It took some experimenting to find the best time and fit for each practice, but I’d highly recommend you take the time to do the same.
11. Spend Time With People Who Lift You Up
Tell me with whom you associate, and I will tell you who you are. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Friends and family or anyone that you spend a lot of time with can have a big impact on your life. On the positive side of things, their support and belief in you can lift you up and help you achieve your goals.
On the flip side, some people can be very draining and limiting to you with their negativity. These are often people who don’t believe in themselves and manifest their own insecurities onto you and your dreams.
There’s nothing wrong with cutting these people out of your life. It’s not selfish to not want to be held down by others, but it’s selfish to hold others down.
I’ve had a few people like this in my life, who for one reason or another, negatively impact my mood, motivation or belief. One of the best things I’ve ever done is cut these people out of my life or, occasionally, work through the negativity with that person.
Either way, the situation was resolved and I was set free. Letting go of a toxic relationship of any kind is a tremendous weight lifted off your shoulders.
Spending time with people who positively reinforce you will give you a spring in your step.
We all need help sometimes and most of the time all we need is a few words of sympathy, understanding and encouragement. Like someone telling you that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
Surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care about your success gives you a vital support network. It gives you access to motivation, joy and belief when your own is lacking.
12. Practice Mindfulness & Live in the Present
If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. – Amit Ray
Many of our modern-day problems (like over-thinking, for example) come from spending too much time in unconscious thought.
Being mindful has been known to greatly reduce these types of issues, including anxiety and depression, by removing us from the source of the problem.
When you put your focus into the present you stop fueling your unconscious mind and therefore you reduce your unconscious thoughts.
Negative thoughts attached to depression and anxiety then decrease.
Mindfulness is also both calming and invigorating as our minds slow down and we become more aware of the life around us.
There are too many benefits to go into detail here, but if you’re interested in giving it a go I would strongly recommend The Little Book of Mindfulness by Tiddy Rowan. It’s a handy guide to help you with everyday mindfulness.
3 Simple Ways to Practice Mindfulness
- Mindful Walking – Whenever you’re walking somewhere pay attention to how each of your footsteps feel. Focusing on the sensations in the soles of your feet is a great way to ground yourself into the present.
- Mindful Eating – When you’re eating, just eat. Meaning, put all your attention onto the food in your mouth. How does it feel? How does it taste?
- Mindful Breathing – Any breathing exercise can be done mindfully. Try taking 10 deep breaths in through your nose. At the same time focus your attention on how that feels. Pick one point, the nostrils for example and just keep your attention there as you breathe.
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. – Jim Rohn
An obvious one, I’ll admit. While we’re all aware of the physical benefits of exercise, there are some mental ones too.
Running, for example, is a healthy mental practice. It’s a great way for us to get our thoughts together or think through a problem.
With no other distractions, we’re able to do a sort of mental clean up, organising and making sense of our thoughts and feelings.
Running or working out is also a chance to practice mindfulness. In fact, it happens naturally to a certain extent.
We tend to focus more on the feelings in our body when we exercise. By focusing on the strain, we take our attention from the unconscious to the present.
This is one of the reasons that people often feel mentally refreshed after exercise.
Running or working out has also been known to reduce anxiety and depression, among other mental illnesses, as Drew Ramsey, MD, talks through in this short clip:
14. Appreciate What You Have
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
Nobody likes a whiner. On the contrary, we can all admire and respect someone who’s grateful for what they have, no matter how little that is.
However, being grateful is far more than just an admirable trait. It can be a healthy habit that really improves your life.
Gratitude does this in two ways:
- It changes your perspective on what you already have. Gratitude can be one of the quickest ways to joy and happiness. By actively picking out all the good in your life, you shift your mindset to one of positivity and take pleasure from the smaller things in life.
- It attracts more to be grateful for. If you believe in the law of attraction then you’ll likely believe that being grateful attracts good things to you. By being grateful, you’re boosting your mood and focusing on what you want more of. Whether you believe in it or not, it certainly can’t do any harm. Give it a try
You might think that you don’t have anything to be grateful for, but I guarantee you do. We all have something to appreciate, even if that’s simply the shirt on our back.
Recognizing this will go a long way towards getting your life together.
15. Breathe Properly
Deep breathing brings deep thinking and shallow breathing brings shallow thinking. – Elsie Lincoln Benedict
Strange as it might sound, this is actually something very few of us do.
I found out a few years ago that I wasn’t breathing properly and I was surprised at the damage it was doing.
I was a “vertical breather”, meaning that every time I took a breath in I raised and tensed my shoulders. Turns out this was causing me extra stress, anxiety and even stomach aches.
Essentially this happens because of the two-way connection between our brains and our bodies. If our mind is in a state of stress, more often than not our body has a physical reaction to that.
Check out this TED talk by Belisa Vranich where she explains in further detail:
Tense shoulders are one of the most common manifestations of stress, and so our brains associate that physical symptom with stress.
So when we tense our shoulders god knows how many times a day. How many breaths do you think you take in a day?
Then that’s a whole lot of stress association.
Since I have started breathing properly I have noticed I feel much more relaxed in my day-to-day and it’s made a really big difference for me. You’d be surprised at how much easier life is when you can actually relax.
16. Communicate and Allow Your Emotions
People cry, not because they’re weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long. – Johnny Depp
Something many of us men do far too often is bottle up our feelings and emotions.
When we do this, those emotions aren’t dealt with and they fester and rot within us.
This serves only to harm us, as whatever we’re holding in slowly consumes us. You won’t necessarily notice this straight away, but it’s evident in low or bad moods.
Emotions are meant to be felt, expressed and released. When we don’t do this we go against our own natural order and pay the price.
Take sadness for example. Something happens to make us feel sad. It begins deep down inside us somewhere and as we feel it welling up to the surface. We then repress it and crush it down.
First off, that repression takes up attention and energy, making you mentally drained and unavailable.
Secondly, you haven’t beat the sadness. You haven’t gotten rid of it by ignoring it. All you’ve succeeded in doing is making sure that sadness is still in you. And while it’s still there it will be affecting you, just in a more subtle yet prolonged way.
The fastest and healthiest way to deal with the sadness is just to feel it. Allow it to happen, talk it out, cry a bit, and move on.
Sometimes this can happen in a matter of minutes. Sometimes it might take months. But feel what you’re supposed to feel. There’s a reason you’re feeling it.
Russel Brand unpacks this very sentiment in this brief video:
17. Strike a Balance, Don’t Burn Yourself Out
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. – Unknown
Balance is very important in life. A lack of it can cause dissatisfaction and unhappiness, while finding a nice balance can send you down the path of life with a spring in your step.
The most common example of this is working too hard and burning yourself out.
Working too hard won’t do you any good. The quality of the work you do when you’re worn out will be compromised and the time it will take you to recover from burnout will only set you back further.
Working hard is a must for success of any kind, but we’re far more efficient when we work hard in the right way, ensuring we have a balance between our work and everything else.
This way our overall well-being is taken care of and we can work from a place of peace and health, making us more efficient and boosting the quality of our work.
The same principle applies to anything in life—there are very few things that you can’t have too much or too little of.
Watch this clip by Thomas Frank to learn 3 great habits that will build better work-life balance:
3 Ideas to Help You Balance Your Life Outside of Work
- Time spent indoors vs outdoors. Too much time indoors leaves me feeling groggy and lethargic, like one big couch potato. I like to balance out a day where I might be indoors a lot by going for a long walk midway through the day, and a run in the evening.
- Screens vs no screens. Similar to the above point, too much screen-time makes me feel pretty rough. So I find it important to balance this out each day by doing anything that doesn’t involve staring at a screen.
- People vs no people. I’m a person who enjoys my own company, but too much of it leaves me feeling low and a little depressed. I need to balance out this alone time with some social interaction. And that balance doesn’t always mean 50/50, it means whatever works best for you.
18. Learn to Follow Your Intuition
Intuition is always right in at least two important ways;
It is always in response to something.
it always has your best interest at heart. – Gavin De Becker
This is something that has helped me a lot in my day to day life and I’ve cultivated through tips #4 (meditation) and #12 (mindfulness).
Now, I’m not talking about using your gut feeling to make huge life decisions. I definitely think you can do that, but I’m talking about using your intuition to decide what you do at any given moment.
I realized not too long ago that I do a lot of things out of habit rather than because I genuinely want to.
One of the best examples I can give came about early last year.
At the time, I would spend a large part of my days off playing video games. There were other things I could have been doing—both productive things and other leisure activities.
And in fact, upon closer inspection, I realized that these were things I’d rather be doing.
You see, I was pretty bored with video games at this stage and was often just replaying games I’d already played. I think I had just been doing it so much through my teens that it became habitual. I was playing games that I wasn’t even enjoying.
I began to realize this as my self-awareness increased and I became aware of my intuition. I began to listen to my body and my inner-self and could feel what I wanted or needed at a particular time.
So rather than habitually play video games all day, I went for a walk, did some work on my book and spent time with friends, all when it felt right to do so. Then, when my intuition was telling me it was time to unwind, I sat down and played a video game. I enjoyed each part of that day and it flowed together seamlessly.
Following your intuition in this way can make you far happier and efficient each day. There’s a right time to do everything and some part of you knows it.
If you can merge this with tip #10 (setting a routine) then your days will run smoothly and be much more enjoyable.
To learn more about strengthening your intuition, check out this fantastic piece of advice from author/self-help guru, Jack Canfield.
19. Get Inspired
It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy, it is what you think about. – Dale Carnegie
Motivation, direction and good ideas can be hard to come by. So to that end, get inspired.
There’s tons of inspiring stuff out there, and consuming some of it every now and then or, even better, every day, is a powerful motivator and educator.
There are some truly amazing people in the world who have bright ideas and inspiring stories to tell. By listening to them we’re able to see and start writing stories of our own.
Whenever I’m in a rut, I turn to the wealth of inspiration life has to offer. It might be a speech designed to be motivating, or an idea that lights up your mind. Whatever it is, why wait for the world to show it to you when you can go and find it yourself?
Here are some great YouTube channels that I personally find inspiring:
- Impact Theory – Tom Bilyeu hosts Impact Theory, a talk show that invites guests to speak about big ideas.
- Mateusz M – Mateusz M creates motivational compilation videos.
- TED – TED’s youtube channel is a vault of great ideas from the world’s top speakers.
- Better Ideas – This channel is run by Joey Schweitzer and does what its name suggests. Offers better ideas on a variety of life’s problems.
- Beau Miles – Beau is an adventure/filmmaker with a philosophical side.
20. Take Action
An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied. – Arnold Glasow
And finally, the most important tip in the list.
None of the tips on this list will do you any good unless you take action.
You can get inspired all you want. Read books, watch videos, read this article, but none of it will go any further than right now unless you do something about it.
Simple as that.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to get your life together. They won’t all be right for you, but hopefully, you’ll get value out of some of them.
Improving yourself can seem like a lot of work, but I guarantee you it’s the best way to improve your life.
Looking for more life advice? Check out our article 7 Powerful Life Hacks for Men, I think it’ll be right up your alley.