Rock bottom is different for everyone. You can feel it when you can’t get out of bed and face the world, or when you rely on substances to get you through each day. Perhaps you’ve lost sight of what was important to you; you’re always stressed, exhausted, and irritable.
Regardless of the specifics, being in a rut can make it hard to imagine how to bounce back. But there are steps you can take to regain your footing and get back on track. So, where do you start? Here are six steps you can follow:
Step 1: Recognize That You’re at Rock Bottom
When people think of rock bottom, they often picture a person living on the streets or someone who has suffered from abuse. While those scenarios do fit the bill for being among those who have hit rock bottom, it’s important to recognize that you can feel like you’ve reached rock bottom in many different ways.
For instance, maybe you’ve grown dependent on substances to get you through the day. Or maybe you find yourself dwelling on the mistakes of your past or struggling to keep up with day-to-day tasks. In reality, there is a whole slew of problems that can keep you from feeling like your old self and experiencing happiness.
Step 2: Get Realistic About Your Goals
Setting lofty goals when you’re at rock bottom is unhelpful because it will only serve as a reminder that you aren’t achieving them. Instead, take stock of what works well for you and what doesn’t because this is how you can figure out what you need to change.
An excellent example of this is making it a goal to seek professional help if you have a substance abuse problem. You can include it in your long-term goals to receive rehab treatment for your heroin addiction, but keep in mind it doesn’t have to be immediate.
If you’re not comfortable receiving treatment from the get-go, you can take baby steps by attending a support group first. Then, you can work your way toward the bigger goal of receiving treatment. When you’re at rock bottom, you have the chance to reevaluate what’s important to you and how it can be achieved, so take your time because healing is non-linear.
Step 3: Work on Your Goals One at a Time
At rock bottom, you are more likely to burn yourself out by trying to accomplish too many things at once. It’s better to work on one goal at a time so that you can focus your energy on it.
For instance, if one of your goals is to go back to school and get a full-time job at the same time, you are less likely to get either accomplished. But if you take things slowly and enroll in night classes while working part-time, achieving both goals will become much easier.
Step 4: Set a Deadline for Your Goals
To make your goal feel more realistic, set a deadline for when you want to do it. This should be within the next few weeks or months because that gives you enough time to work toward it while not feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s take the example of pursuing part-time employment after attending night classes at a community college. You find the right job, and the classes will start in a month. Your deadline for finishing your studies might be six months away, giving you plenty of time to work toward both goals at once.
Step 5: Deal with Obstacles Head-on
Life is full of obstacles, and they’re inevitably going to get in your way when you’re trying to reach your goals. That’s why it’s important to deal with them head-on when they arise. This can be done by recognizing that an obstacle isn’t the end of the world and taking steps to move past it.
For example, you might have trouble balancing school and work halfway through your first semester because your job is getting in the way of you finishing assignments on time. Instead of quitting the job to focus solely on school, consider writing down homework due dates on a calendar or talking with your professors about what could be done differently so that you can manage both tasks at once.
Step 6: Learn How to Bounce Back from Failure
Even after you’ve set realistic goals and dealt with any obstacles that have come your way, the possibility of failure still exists. This is why it’s important to learn how to bounce back from failure so that things don’t feel hopeless.
You might feel like giving up after realizing that you won’t be able to balance school and work successfully, for instance. But you can try reaching out to your professors or classmates before throwing in the towel. You might be surprised at how much support is available when you need it most.
Success doesn’t come easily, nor does it happen overnight. But with time, you can push yourself to overcome the obstacles that have held you back. When you feel like every effort is one step closer to success, difficult moments won’t seem as bad or overwhelming because you know they will lead up to something better. After all, since you’re already at rock bottom, the only way left to go is up.