[Serious] What advice would you give to someone who feels lost in life and everything seems to be going downhill?

If your problems in life are because you have no motivation like me, maybe my story will help. I was in the same mindset 2 years ago. My girlfriend broke up with me, unemployed, just graduated and could n’t find work work, started drinking and abusing drugs and almost ended when I attempted suicide and was involuntarily committed by my family. I’ll tell you now that I’m still in the exact same salient position in fact definitively worse, but I am happy, and incredibly more resilient for it to not affect me because I have tools and controls in my life to soldier on and keep going. If anyone thinks anything like me I hope this can help someone with what I’ve learned about myself and the things I learnt and started to live by.

A lot of people say to take small steps to improvement. I think this is true, like making your bed (I will discuss why making your bed every morning is important later) before all these steps you need to look at yourself, your behaviour and how and why you think. I can guarantee most of your motivations are based on your crutch.

Firstly, stop doing whatever it is you are doing that has control over you. For me, it was friends, video games and booze, drugs etc. It will suck and you will feel like shit but whatever you are doing to make yourself happy and make life bearable is currently your crutch and you will continue with your behaviour. Raiding every Thursday, going out every weekend and catching up with friends, playing games when you get home or whatever yours is.

You are repeating yourself everyday and week in some way, the way you drive to a place, the food you eat, the way you shower, break them all. Variety is the spice of life and it is important to break these habits to STOP yourself being autonomous and doing things without thinking (which coincidentally gravitates towards your crutch, in a vicious self fulfilling cycle.) Because even basic chores and activities and life can give you the dopamine and satisfaction that whatever your current crutch is. Self improvement and being productive can give you the same dopamine that your crutch is giving you right now, but you are constantly hitting that crutch button in your brain it diminishes all other pleasures. This is IMO the most important step because your crutch makes you happy and the human inside you will do whatever it can to keep the status quo and repeat behaviour that it seems successful in keeping you alive. In economics it’s called a J curve, it’s hard but worth kicking the habit, it gets bad before it gets good.

After this, do any of the cliche steps to self betterment like making your bed every morning. Making my bed every morning was the best for me, because it made me realise how the small things in life can be totally fucking kick ass awesome. Coming home and having a clean room and climbing into made bed with CLEAN sheets at night is a phenomenal simple pleasure in life. Plus it paved a way to making more and more beneficial habits.

Now that you aren’t autonomously doing things, you can set your own directives. Brainstorm what these things are, they should be loosely based on your goals. Getting a job, a girlfriend, quitting cigarettes, drugs, getting fit. For me, I made my own whiteboard from supplies at the hardware store. My short term goal was do get away from computer games and actually live life in the real world. So a DIY project was great. With the whiteboard I set out daily and monthly calendars and write on it everyday dates and deadlines I need to meet and it was the best things I ever did to organise my life. I stopped missing appointments, or forgetting due dates, birthdays etc.

Next you use your whiteboard to set goals you need to get done the next day. This is important; setting your goals for the NEXT day before you go to sleep. For instance, today I washed a whole bunch of clothes and donated them to salvos because I had a shit tonne of clothes in my wardrobe taking up space. as you keep planning and fulfilling tomorrows goals and objectives, your path to whatever it is can only go up and get incrementally better.

If someone told me 2 years ago that I’d be living life for clean sheets and a made bed, I would have called them crazy but it’s true. Making and setting goals will show yourself if what you are doing is right. If you aren’t consistently reaching goals /completing task every day, every week, then go back to step one and change change change whatever it is your doing out of habit. Eat something different, go for a walk, go to an art show, just keep doing something new and you will find yourself coming back to your goals/tasks and you’ll start completing them again.

Even if your situation gets worse, the only thing you can control is you. You can still be happy because I am living proof. I regret attempting so badly. If you are thinking about it please don’t even think about it because it can always be better. Be your own help. Hang in there.

/r/AskReddit Thread