How to get your life back in order

How to get your life back in order

Do you ever sort of feel…like you’re failing at life?

You want to get yourself organized. But it all feels so chaotic that you wouldn’t even know where to start.

Well I’m here to share how to get your life in order. In 7 simple steps.

We’ll call it your blueprint to a better life.

See it’s easy to forget how much control you actually have. Improving your life is your choice.

In fact, if you start doing these 7 things, I can almost guarantee that your life will be better than it is right now.

Let’s get started!

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How to Get Your Life in Order

1. Create a designated place for things you use regularly

If you find yourself misplacing the same things over and over, it’s time to create a special spot for them.

When things have a designated space, you never have to think about where they belong. Or where the heck they went!

Routines like this definitely help keep your life in order. You don’t have to waste precious brain space remembering annoying necessities like keys and phone chargers.

I have a cute little bowl by the front door that I keep my keys in. If I’m home, my keys are in the bowl.

My phone charger is always next to the bed. I charge my phone all night while I sleep. It never runs out of battery life, and I don’t have to ever have to move (and misplace) the charging cable.

Give it a try. You might just be surprised by how much time you save when you don’t have to look for things.

2. Write down a short to-do list the night before

Before you go to bed, write down the top 3-5 things you need to accomplish the next day.

Not 100 things. Just 3-5. To be really organized, rank them in order of importance. That way, if you only get to 2 of them, at least they’re the most important two.

You’ll sleep better because you’ve emptied your brain of those pestering to-do thoughts.

Plus, how awesome would it be to wake up feeling organized?! You’ll know exactly what it is you are meant to accomplish that day.

How to get your life back in order

3. Track your spending

A fundamental part of getting your life in order is keeping track of your finances.

You absolutely have to know where your money is going. If you don’t, it will disappear on you every time.

If creating a budget sounds super complicated (it’s really not), just start tracking your spending.

There are several free apps you can use, or make a simple spreadsheet. Heck, a regular old notebook works just fine too.

Every time you spend any money (cash, debit, or credit), log it in or write it down.

This one simple act will make you so much more aware of how you’re using your money.

How you spend your money is one of the biggest factors in determining your financial future.

Need help curbing your spending? Please check out the Overspending Rescue Plan.

I designed it to help you get to the root of why you overspend, and develop a life vision for you and your money.

Check out the Overspending Rescue Plan HEREHow to get your life back in order

4. Create a routine to keep things tidy

It’s really difficult to feel like your life is organized when your home is messy.

Maybe you even feel like keeping it tidy is impossible .

But again, simple routines are the difference between chaos and order.

You make a ton of tiny choices all day long. To leave the dirty dishes on the table…or to put them in the sink…or to put them in the dishwasher.

People with tidy homes put them in the dishwasher.

It doesn’t take any longer than putting them in the sink. And only a moment longer than leaving them on the table.

In order to prevent long tidying sessions, just start putting things away when you’re done using them.

To create a simple tidying routine, check out my post on 6 simple things to do everyday to keep your house clean with minimal effort.

How to get your life back in order

5. Take an honest look at your life and goals

If you feel like your life isn’t shaping up to be what you imagined, it’s time to take a deep look at why.

What is different about your current situation than you expected? Brainstorm some ways you can change the things you don’t like.

Imagine your dream future. In 3 years, what would you like to be different about your life?

No, I don’t mean ‘win the lottery’ delusions. Real things that you can make happen .

Set 1-2 goals for yourself for the next 30-90 days. Accomplish those smaller goals, and you will be inspired to make larger ones next.

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6. Build some ‘down time’ into your schedule

If you find that you’re always exhausted, you’re probably not giving yourself enough quiet moments of rest.

You simply cannot be ‘on’ all the time. Our world of constant distractions has made us forget what it’s like to rest and just be .

Start taking 10 minutes once or twice a day to go for a walk, read a book, or just rest your eyes.

No scrolling social media, or watching Netflix, or checking out Amazon’s latest deals.

You will be surprised how refreshed you feel after 10 minutes of no distractions.

How to get your life back in order

7. Find a way to move your body more

A great way to have more energy is to start moving a lot more. Of course we know that exercise is great for your health.

It’s like a totally free, anti-aging treatment.

But it has a much bigger impact on your mood that you realize. And it doesn’t have to be something boring like walking on the treadmill (unless you like that).

Take a dance class, do a rock-climbing wall, or just take an evening walk.

After you do it a few times, you’ll even start looking forward to it!

Your body will feel more toned and tightened, and it will be your special ‘me time.’

So, ready to get your life in order?

Individually, these 7 simple actions don’t seem all that impressive.

But once you start being a person who does all these things, you and your life will morph into something you’re proud of.

Getting yourself organized is simply a matter of a bunch of tiny choices and habits. Combined they lead to a calmer, happier life.

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How to get your life back in order

Feeling Overwhelmed?

These days everyone is really busy. (Say that again, right?!)

You may have responsibilities to your family, your work, your children’s activities or your community. All these are competing for your valuable attention.

Sometimes we let our schedule run our lives and railroad our priorities, as opposed to us taking charge of our schedule and priorities.

The result is exhaustion, stress, and frustration.

Beware of warning signs that your life may have become off-center, and take action today to bring a greater sense of balance to all the areas of your life.

And, always remember: there is more to life than the daily grind.

Four signs your life may be out of balance

  1. Your “to do” list appears to be the size of the Empire State building
  2. You feel you are very busy but not sure you are accomplishing anything
  3. You feel burned out. You’re constantly tired, have headaches or other physical and emotional signs of stress.
  4. You feel like you are living someone else’s schedule and have lost your direction.

How it feels when your life is out of balance

Sometimes it may feel as though you’re moving through life as if you have no choices, no purpose or freedom to pursue your highest values and priorities.

You realize there may be an area or two of your life that you have neglected. Instead of living your life to its full potential, it feels like you’ve spent valuable time and attention in other areas.

So, how do you bring your life back into balance?

Follow These Six Tips To Bring More Balance Into Your Life

1. Acknowledge and accept that you cannot do everything all the time

You only have so many resources: time, energy, money, etc. While it is understandable to want to accomplish much and please a number of people, you are only one person and cannot always manage to do it all.

So, stop; take a deep breath and regroup.

All you can do is all you can do. And, all you can do is enough! Let go of the need for perfection, and of solving all problems for all people. You cannot do all that needs to be done, all the time.

2. Manage yourself, not time.

There is really no such thing as “time management.”

But, we can manage our activities. Everyone has the exact same amount of time – 24 hours in one day.

Many days we wish we could just tack on a few more hours to finish a project, or to get more rest or to do other things we would like to be able to squeeze into our day.

Managing yourself reflects a sense of responsibility in what you do in a day, and in a lifetime. It is being proactive and realizing the power of choice, and knowing what you do have control over.

3. “Add and subtract.”

Regarding activities: What pressuring task are you willing to give up, or subtract, in order to have or achieve something more important in a different area?

To do more of one thing, you must do less of others. You must be willing to cut some activities from your schedule – even if just temporarily – in order to accomplish higher priorities.

When planning your week, determine which less important tasks or projects can wait. Subtract these from your weekly “to-do” list – and feel the sense of being overwhelmed lessen automatically.

Regarding other people: Identify “A” people in your life.

These people build you up. They believe in you. They support you. You know someone is in the A category if you feel better about you after being with them. They add to your life, and they add to you.

“B” people are neutral. You feel about the same after being with this person than you did before.

The people on your “C” list really need to go into a circular file, to be released or phased out. Granted, that is not always possible. But these people are typically wet blankets that only drain you and add to stress to your life.

“Add” or spend more time with A people. They will energize you, empower you, inspire you, and give you strength rather than stress!

4. Just say “No”

“I just need a small favor…”

“We can always count on you.”

“You’re so good at…”

What happens when you hear these messages? Do you feel flattered, annoyed or used?

What do you think will happen if you say no? Sometimes we say yes to things because we feel pressure to give an immediate answer. However, always remember you have the right to take some time to think about what you can reasonably do before responding.

Being able to say no is a critical piece in reducing stress and balancing your life. It also gives your yes’s much more power!

5. Schedule time for yourself

If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

If you don’t take time and steps to preserve your health and well-being, then who will?

It is wonderful to have other people in our lives we can help, work with, be friends with and share activities with. However, you should be your own best friend first.

I know you want your family and friends to have the best of you! It takes deliberate effort on your part to make that happen. Make it a priority to schedule the time and place for yourself to bring what gives you comfort, health, joy or whatever you most need now.

Be intentional in resting, in playing, in growing. Take at least 10 minutes a day to read, to walk or to rest. Scheduling time for yourself is a must if you want the best of yourself ready to tackle your busy schedule.

6. Live with purpose!

A life oriented around an authentic and passionate purpose is one that is much easier to keep in balance.

For this reason, there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all balance plan you should be striving for.

The best life balance plan is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.

The quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination” has much value in terms of reminding us about the value of maintaining a balanced life. There is no “last and final time” to clean our homes, care for our children or families, maintain our own health or accomplish some goals.

There will always be something we need to do, even after retirement, and this is a good thing!

The pleasure is that we have a choice about how to live our lives, activities to be involved in and people to be in relationships with.

Be cognizant of the signs your life may be out of balance, and start taking steps today to regain your sense of control and life balance!

This article was co-authored by Leah Morris. Leah Morris is a Life and Relationship Transition coach and the owner of Life Remade, a holistic personal coaching service. With over three years as a professional coach, she specializes in guiding people as they move through both short-term and long-term life transitions. Leah holds a BA in Organizational Communication from California State University, Chico and is a certified Transformational Life Coach through the Southwest Institute for Healing Arts.

There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Life is busy and it’s easy to fall off the track sometimes. With work, family, and extracurricular demands on our time, it is easy to feel like the world is falling apart all around us. Sometimes taking a break or vacation; talking with a trusted friend or colleague; or reevaluating priorities will help you get your life back on track.

How to get your life back in order

How to get your life back in order

How to get your life back in order

How to get your life back in order

How to get your life back in order

Leah Morris
Life Coach Expert Interview. 19 June 2020.

  • Making progress, no matter the time, money, or resources, is always better than lying around thinking about what you can’t do. Do what you can do and you feel the power of progress.
  • How to get your life back in order

    How to get your life back in order

    How to get your life back in order

    How to get your life back in order

    How to get your life back in order

    Leah Morris
    Life Coach Expert Interview. 19 June 2020.

    • Breaking the cycle of failure is not easy. At some point, you will have to interrupt the way you think, act, or feel to reset your life. All three are interconnected but concentrating on changing one link can lead to changes in the other two links.
    • Interrupt your thinking by improving the answers to your problems. These ideas cannot originate in thin air so take time to read books and articles, ask a professional or colleague, or brainstorm with friends for new ideas.
    • Interrupt your feeling by channeling your emotions to receive positive thinking that produces the results that you want. For example, keep a journal, review your goals regularly, surround yourself with positive people and ideas, and change your physiology to trigger a positive set of feelings.
    • Interrupt your actions by changing what you are currently doing. You might have to experiment first to decide what actions to focus on but, generally, start working on new ideas as soon as you can, modify your habits, stop performing negative actions, and try to experience as much as you can to see what does and doesn’t work.

    How to get your life back in order

    Leah Morris
    Life Coach Expert Interview. 19 June 2020. Be aware of old habits, they are hard to break. Make a new commitment that holds you responsible and accountable for engaging in new priorities. A commitment is more than just changing your actions, you must also change your attitude. [12] X Research source

    • Take fifteen minutes a day and think about what makes you feel rejuvenated, relaxed, and happy and keep a list so that you can continue to concentrate on those feelings.
    • Learn to say no to things that don’t interest you or harm your well-being. If you need help in doing this, then seek out a friend or family member to aid you.
    • Create a daily ritual like taking a walk, listening to peaceful music, or sitting out in a park to give yourself time to evaluate your day and to remind yourself of your new priorities.

    How to get your life back in order

    Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links from which we receive a compensation (like Amazon for example). But they do not affect the opinions and recommendations of the authors.

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    There may be many reasons why your bills have gone late. Whether you miss a bill deadline once in a blue moon or if you are consistently late and behind in paying your bills, it is time to get your financial life back on track and realize what the consequences are of paying bills late. (See also: Get Rid of and Avoid Late Fees)

    First, the Consequences

    No matter the reason for getting behind in your bills, know that you are doing damage to credit and your overall financial life. Late or missed bill payments drop your credit score significantly, and if you are paying all of your bills late or carrying a large balance from one month to the next, you are doing yourself no favors. Late payments will stay on your credit report for several years so you will feel the effects for many years to come.

    In order to reorder your financial life, it is a must-do to start perfecting a strategy for paying your bills on time without fail. Here is a guideline for what to do to get current again.

    Begin Eliminating Outstanding Debts

    When people are behind in their bill payments, they generally are fully aware there is a problem but may not necessarily realize just how much of a problem they have. It is time to start reorganizing your system to ensure bills are taken care of and balances are eliminated in a reasonable amount of time. (See also: Why Can’t You Make Your Payments On Time?)

    Write It All Out

    Gather in one place all of your monthly bills and anything with a balance showing. Review each statement or bill and write down on a separate sheet of paper who you owe, how much you owe monthly, how much you owe in total, and due dates for the amount to be paid.

    Highlight the Worst

    If there are some bills you are keeping up with monthly, it’s a good start but you’ll need to formulate a plan for keeping up while paying past due balances at the same time. Highlight the past due balances that need to be tended to each month.

    Do the Math

    Once all bills and balances are accounted for, add up the columns to find out how much is due each month. Any bills that you haven’t been paying should have an amount of money allocated to them on a monthly basis. Say you owe $1,200 to your doctor on an overdue bill. Review your budget to find an amount you can afford to pay towards the debt each month and add that into your monthly totals.

    Find a Solution

    If you find your monthly must-pay amounts total more than you earn, resist the urge to stop paying back the balance. Your goal at this time is to find a way to make payoff possible. You may need to reduce other expenses from your budget or find a secondary source of income to allow your plan to work effectively for eliminating debts.

    Consult With Your Creditors

    You may already be getting contacted by creditors to whom you owe money. With a new strategy in place, you should have more confidence to contact your creditors directly and let them know of your intent to make a set payment amount each month. This can keep the lines of communication open between your and your creditors, who may choose not to take more drastic measures once they know you are trying to make good on your debts.

    During the Debt Elimination Process

    Commitment to eliminating debt will be essential, so stay very involved through the process. It may be difficult to allocate so much of your cash towards old, overdue debts but the end result will be well worth it.

    Be Willing to Sacrifice

    During the time you are working towards debt elimination to get back on track, you have to be willing to make sacrifices, including saying no to even the best deals and discounts.

    Keep Your Own Records

    Your creditors have probably kept very good records about the debts you didn’t pay, but you owe it to yourself to keep good records of the debts you are paying. Keep track of how much you are sending each month to your creditors, and check statements to be sure everything is correct. Creditors can make mistakes, and you’ll want to ensure they are not getting more money from you than they are owed.

    Regularly Reallocate

    If you have managed to pay off your old cell phone bill, you’ll need to go back to your plan and reallocate the cell phone payment money towards another bill. Do this every time you eliminate one of your overdue bills to make your debts go away faster.

    Avoid New Debts

    You already know how hard debt elimination can be so why get yourself into the same mess twice? During your balance elimination plan, avoid new expenses like the plague. (See also: How to Paddle Back to Good Credit)

    Living Life After Balances Are Zeroed Out

    Once you have caught up on your overdue bills and have things back on track, your goal should always be to prevent history from repeating itself.

    Set Up a Foolproof System

    Today’s technology can help you avoid the trap of forgotten or missed bill payments. Use one of the many available phone apps or online banking resources to automatically pay your bills on time each month. For bills that can’t be paid automatically, post a calendar where you can always see due dates or set a reminder on your mobile device when a bill payment needs to be made.

    Stockpile Your Cash

    After eliminating your debt, you now know you have the willpower and commitment to having a better financial life. Eliminating old debts should not be the end of your strategic plan. Keep sacrificing for a few months longer as you stockpile the collective bill payment amounts into a savings account. If the reason why your bills were always late was due to a lack of money, a healthy savings account can certainly prevent history from coming back to haunt you. (See also: Savings Changes You Can Make Today)

    Check Your Credit

    As you are getting your bills back on track, make sure your creditors are on the same page. Order a copy of your consumer credit report and follow the progress you are making. Check in with your financial records every few months to make sure appropriate changes have been made and that your credit score is on the rise.

    Don’t let another month go by knowing you have unpaid or habitually late bills. A reasonable system to keep up with your bills is not very difficult to set up or maintain. It will be far easier to be proactive about your money matters than have to run scared from creditors for the next few years.

    How do you keep pace with your bills? Do you have a system or do you just wing it?

    How to get your life back in order

    In my life, September is the month I most look forward to. Always. I remember how much I loved going to buy school supplies. How exciting the thought that “Now I can start all over!” Somehow I always believed that “Things are different now.” Many times, they weren’t. Although I never had problems with grades, I always felt like an outsider. I was different from the rest. I wasn’t better or worse, simply different. Then, one day, something did change. People began entering my life who strengthened that notion, which had only been a feeling before, that I am fine the way I am.

    How to get your life back in order

    Perhaps you, too, have felt like an outsider. It’s good to know that it’s the best thing that can happen to you if you know how to put it to your advantage. Just think: The choice is in your hands. Will you play the passive role of victim, or take control of the situation? I took control. I couldn’t allow myself to believe that it was my fault just because I saw the world differently than others. I took a deep breath, took the leap of faith and moved on. I straightened out my life and established it the way it is now. Here are some things that can help.

    1. The big clear out!

    Maybe it’s time for a big cleaning-up. Since sorting out things in the spring, maybe you, too, have accumulated some clutter. All the things that you definitely won’t have use for. It’s time to unpack the cupboards and put your clothes and books in order. What have I read? What haven’t I? What do I need? What don’t I? What, say, are the next 5 books I want to read? And so on. If you find clothes you no longer wear, or books that you’re sure you won’t get to, give them to someone in need – for example, a village library.

    TIP: Have you lived too long in the same place? What about acquiring some small things to spruce up your home? A little fabric and a couple of pillows can work wonders!

    2. Get things in order

    Every Sunday morning I spend sorting out my emails. I answer everything I didn’t get to during the week. Then, I take out a notebook, collect all the week’s notes (on the laptop, on paper, on the telephone, iPad, etc.) and sum up my tasks for the coming week. Then, I write it all down, broken up into days – what must be done when – and I rank them according to how much time each will take. Finally, they all get a spot in Asana.

    TIP: Look through the list of incoming announcements. If there’s something you signed up for years ago, or which is no longer necessary, cancel it. Whenever I open my mailbox, I constantly erase these emails. Now I only get the ones that are actually important to me.

    3. New customs

    Now that you’ve put your immediate environment in order and made some room, it’s time to initiate a few new customs in your life. Write down a list of things that you’ve only just heard about (e.g., healthy eating, sports, meditation, etc.) and take tiny steps on the road to discovering them. That last point is important. Otherwise, you’ll have a heart attack looking at the list of things you’d like to achieve and fit into your week. Right away, you’ll find the old excuses: “I don’t have time for this” and the like.

    With new customs, it is very important to follow through with things that don’t take too much effort in the beginning – say, no more than 20 seconds.

    For example, if going to work out takes 2 hours with the traffic, then you’re certain not to do it. You must find a way around this. Find a gym in the area, or begin exercising at home. (There are several videos to choose from, and you can even ask a personal trainer to teach you how you can exercise at home alone.) Reduce the effort required, so you don’t just make promises, but actually follow through and face the challenges.

    TIP: Find someone to support you in this! Someone who works out alone who can join you, someone who can try out a new diet with you, etc.

    TIP: Make a list of things that you feel are sources of unnecessary stress in your life, so they can be eliminated. Ask for help from someone who is very good at the very thing that drains away at your energy (e.g.: what should I wear in the morning, what cream should I use on my face, where should I go to eat, where should I travel, how can I buy cheap airline tickets, how can I get over a heartbreak, how can I put my diet in order or my workout plan and so on. ) Hundreds of experts are at your disposal, but maybe it’s enough just to look through your circle of friends to get the help you need.

    4. Morning ritual

    When it comes to the topic of morning rituals, I always mention a friend. He does it religiously, always waking up early to have 1½ hours to himself. For him, reading and exercise are priorities, but you can plan your mornings however you like. You can what to do and for how many minutes , or you can be more flexible. Fill it with things that give you a boost – e.g., an episode of your favorite series, 20 minutes of reading, meditation, exercise, having a coffee, etc.

    What’s important for me: I don’t begin the day with my telephone or laptop. I used to keep them by my bed at night, but then you know what happens. As soon as I woke up, I checked my incoming messages. If you do this long enough, eventually you reach the point that I did. I hated opening g-mail, because I knew there’d be another million messages waiting for me. If I had been capable of separating the hours that I work from the hours that I live, everything would have been fine – but until I did that, work, private life and relaxation all ran together. Consequently, I wasn’t even in the mood to write anymore. Tips 4 and 5, though, put everything into place.

    5. Theme days

    Have activities that you can even devote a whole day to! In my life, for instance, there’s the Sunday coloring. I’m sure you’ve heard of coloring for adults (Secret Garden). I love it, because you can lose yourself completely in it. While you color, nothing runs through your mind. All you concentrate on is staying in the lines. It’s worth trying.

    As your own boss, it’s important to give yourself free time and opportunities to recharge. That is why I arrange my Saturdays and Sundays so that anything can happen and I can be anywhere. That way I can devote myself to things that I certainly wouldn’t have time for on the weekdays. On weekday mornings, I read books about blogging. On weekends, I color and spend time with my friends. We have lunch together. On weeknights, I write. On weekends, I catch up with my favorite series. I don’t bother with motivational content (be it in a video, a post or an article) on the weekends, only on weekdays. and so on. The end of the week is for resting, so if you can help it, don’t drag in work – or anything else that causes you stress.

    6. Erase!

    Finally, take a good look at your life and write down the habits you’d like to break, the relationships that are dragging you down, the activities that no longer work for you. You mustn’t fall back into the role of victim. On the contrary, if things aren’t working out, it’s best to leave them out of your life altogether. Whenever you find yourself in some negative spiral, keep in mind: You decide. You can decide to carry on, but just make sure it’s something that gives you strength. With that attitude, you’ll always be able to overwrite the negative.

    On Sale: 2020-02-11

    Price: $24.99

    How to get your life back in order

    • Book Overview
    • Author Info

    Book Summary

    A REFRESHINGLY SIMPLE GUIDE TO RECOVER YOUR LIFE!

    About the Book

    A REFRESHINGLY SIMPLE GUIDE TO RECOVER YOUR LIFE!

    In Get Your Life Back, New York Times bestselling author John Eldredge provides a practical, simple, and refreshing guide to taking your life back.

    By practicing a few wonder­fully simple practices—or what John calls “graces”—you can begin to recover your soul, disentangle from the tragedies of this broken world, and discover the restorative power of beauty.

    • Are you happy most of the time?
    • Do you feel deeply loved?
    • Are you excited about your future?
    • How often do you feel lighthearted?

    After reading this book you will…

    • Learn how to insert the One Minute Pause into your day
    • Begin practicing “benevolent detachment” and truly let it all go
    • Offer kindness toward yourself in the choices you make
    • Drink in the simple beauty available to you every day
    • Take realistic steps to unplug from technology overload

    These simple practices and others are ready for the taking. You don’t need to abandon your life to get it back. Begin restoring your life here and now. Your soul will thank you for it.

    Product Details

    • ISBN: 9781400208661
    • ISBN 10: 1400208661
    • Imprint: Thomas Nelson
    • On Sale: 2020-02-11
    • Pages: 256
    • List Price: $24.99
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
    • Publication Date: 2020-02-11
    • Trim Size: 150.000mm x 221.000mm x 22.000mm
    • Weight: 330.000gr
    • Category 1 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Personal Growth
    • Category 2 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
    • Category 3 : RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Counseling & Recovery
    • Category 4 : RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources

    John Eldredge

    Biography

    John Eldredge is a bestselling author, a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God’s love, and learn to live in God’s kingdom. John and his wife, Stasi, live near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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    Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

    How to get your life back in order

    Losing custody of your children is a heart-wrenching experience for any parent. It’s difficult to consider the idea that the court believes your children would be better off with someone else, whether that’s your ex-partner, your parents, or the foster care system.

    But, there are steps you can take to petition the court to have a custody decision reversed. Many people have won their custody rights back. While winning back custody of children is not easy, focus on being proactive to help the process along.

    How Did You Lose Custody?

    Custody requirements vary by state, but there are specific reasons why a parent may lose custody of a child.

    • Abuse or neglect
    • Drug or alcohol issues
    • Child abandonment
    • Loss of contact with the child

    Evaluate What Went Wrong

    Judges have an obligation to act in the best interest of the child. With this in mind, consider why the judge made the decision to award custody to someone else. Did you violate an order? Have you been wrongly accused of child abuse or neglect? It’s important to aside emotions and be honest about the circumstances surrounding your custody case.

    The “best interests of the child” principle has variations in each state, but there are some common factors a judge will consider. For example, in the New York State Unified Court System, a judge will observe parenting skills, a parent’s health, how the parents cooperate together, and provision for any special needs of the child, among other variables.

    By assessing what factors may have contributed to the judge’s decision in your case, you can then begin to address any modifications you need to make to potentially reverse it. Proof of a substantial change in circumstance may help your efforts. When you begin to work with a lawyer, discuss whether supports like parenting classes or addiction programs could be helpful for your case. Perhaps you’ll need to make physical fixes to your home. It all depends on the details of your case.

    Having an idea of why the decision was made can help you take steps to rectify the situation.

    Seek Legal Counsel

    In order to win back custody of your children, you will most likely need to work with an attorney who has experience winning similar family law cases. To find a good child custody lawyer, start by asking friends and relatives for referrals. You can also contact your local chapter of The American Bar Association or The Legal Aid Society for assistance.

    A lawyer can help you process any required motions, which vary by state. For example, in New York, a parent seeking child custody would file against the other parent, whereas a non-parent would file against both parents.

    Additionally, a lawyer may be able to tell you what to document when interacting with your children, as well as whether you could benefit from an updated home inspection or evaluation.

    Find your custody laws by visiting your state’s court websites. The National Center for State Courts has a resource list of state court websites that could be useful.

    If you do not have access to a lawyer, you can still attempt to regain custody of your children by filing pro se.

    Explore Contingencies

    Find out whether reinstatement of custody is contingent on any special actions. For example, are you required to seek counseling, drug or alcohol treatment, or attend mediation? Making these moves to change a custody arrangement may be hard, but they’ll ultimately increase your chances of getting your kids back.

    If the court has placed any stipulations on your ability to recover custody, go ahead and take steps toward completing those requirements, rather than arguing over their validity. Fast, thorough compliance will reflect favorably on you in front of the court.

    Request an Evaluation

    Once you’ve begun working with a lawyer and completing any steps the court has required, ask the judge for an in-home child custody evaluation. This evaluation will provide the courts with an up-to-date assessment of your home, which could help you win back custody. You also have the right to appeal the hearing.

    An evaluation will likely be conducted by a psychologist. This person may focus on different areas of interest depending on your state’s child custody laws and the details of your case. They will conduct psychological testing and interviews with parents and children.

    Evaluators will observe the parent and child, along with other siblings and adults in residence. Your lawyer can help you with what to expect at an in-home evaluation.

    Prepare by presenting a clean home and having school and medical records at the ready. Create a list of questions you want to ask the evaluator and take notes. Be honest and cooperative.

    Follow Court Orders

    Don’t overlook anything the court is asking you to do. Be present at every hearing, and try not to reschedule appointments with your child’s guardian ad litem or a court-ordered mediator.

    Follow the rules set in place for visitation. Stick to the court-ordered schedule. On your scheduled days, show up on time for pickups and drop-offs. If visits are to be conducted in a designated area and/or with supervision, make sure you comply.

    While the situation may feel very frustrating, keep in mind the court is trying to do what is best for your child. Your cooperation within the court system demonstrates that you want the same thing.

    Be Patient and Compliant

    While you’re waiting for your child custody arrangement to be re-evaluated, make sure that you exercise your full right to visitation and parenting time. When you are in their presence, instead of arguing with your child’s current custodian, maintain perspective. Do nothing to aggravate the situation.

    Make every effort to be polite and courteous when picking your kids up for visits. Recognize that there is the potential for positive change on the horizon. A genuine assessment of your strengths and weaknesses will go a long way. Even if it is not ideal, demonstrate your willingness to cooperate.

    Consider Alternative Arrangements

    Finally, use this time to re-evaluate your own desires. You may have wanted full custody originally, but now that you’ve lost custody, ask yourself whether you would consider agreeing to shared custody. If that’s an option for you, work with your ex (or whoever you would be sharing custody with) to explore that possibility.

    When making the decision, think of your child and how it will affect them. It’s normal to feel guilt as a side effect of the situation, but if shared custody could be the best outcome, then you are truly putting your child’s needs above your own.

    A Word From Verywell

    Custody is changeable. It makes sense that losing custody of your children brings with it stress and sadness. By working on yourself and your situation with the help of a lawyer, therapist, or another support system, you’ll be in the best position to care for your kids.

    “I want to write my life story, but I don’t know where to start.”

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this statement. Many people have a story to tell. It doesn’t matter if that story will never be on the New York Times best seller list. Maybe it’s a story that is only to be shared with family and friends, but it is important to the author just the same. If you are one of those people that wants to write your life’s story, but don’t know where to begin, keep reading to learn some tips on how to go about it.

    1. Think about who is going to read your story

    If you are just writing for your family, that story might be different than if you were writing your story to be read by the general public. Think about whether or not you want to change people’s names. If your life was a harsh one you may not want to include the real names of the people involved. You may also want to consider whether your life story could be written as fiction. There’s an old adage that “real life is better than fiction.” Maybe your true story could be written in fiction form making it more saleable for mass market.

    2. Just start writing

    Write down everything you can think of that you want to include in your life story. At this point the order doesn’t necessarily matter; getting the memories and the information down does.

    3. Write the Scenes of Your Life

    Write scenes of your life that you want to include in your story on different sheets of paper or index cards. This is one place I recommend using the old-fashioned way of writing by using pen and paper. Since all of your scenes are written out separately, you can later rearrange them into an order that that is appropriate for your book.

    4. Decide How to Organize Your Story

    Do you want to tell it in chronological order? Do you want to focus on one aspect of your life? Do you want to go back and forth between “the old days” and the present time? Once you decide on your order, then you can go back and rearrange what you have already written.

    5. Choose a Theme

    Is there something you want to enlighten people about? Perhaps your family owned a farm or a restaurant and you want to share your experiences through that.

    6. Use Friends and Family

    While you might not remember every detail about a certain event, I guarantee someone who was there does remember. Asking family and friends for ideas or details of a certain situation can give you a completely different perspective of the event or time in your life. That perspective might prove to be invaluable in your writing. Be prepared; once you get a group of family and friends together to reminisce, you will be shocked at how quickly the ideas come and how one idea can spark another and another and another.

    7. Use Photos to Jog Your Memories

    Sort through old pictures. These can help you remember little vignettes in your life or help to provide details about both people and settings.

    8. Add a Range of Emotions

    Don’t let your entire story be depressing. Even if your story was not a fairy tale, make sure to include some bright spots of hope or humor.

    9. Use Audio or Video to Record Your Memories

    Not necessarily a writer, but still want to record your story somehow? Don’t think that there’s no hope for you. Consider making audio or video recordings. Audio recordings can be especially helpful. You can take audio recordings to a writer/transcriptionist who can then type out your story in a logical order. Working closely with a writer as you verbally record your stories can be an alternative when you feel you are too close to the story.

    10. Enjoy Therapeutic Writing

    It’s possible that writing your life story could be therapeutic, offering closure on some not so bright spots of your personal history along with emotional and psychological healing. Maybe your life was just a circus act from the beginning and is funny. If writing your life story touches you while you are writing it, think about all the people you can touch when they read it.