Everyone wants to live their best life, yet most people aren’t. If you were to ask many adults today, even ones that on the outside seem to have it all – many are actually disappointed and unsatisfied.

If you find yourself in a place where you are discouraged with your life and feel that everything is going wrong, know that you are not alone. For all of us, there will be periods of time when we feel stuck.

In order to change the trajectory of your life, you need to pause and reflect on what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. There is power in this, reflection can help you gain clarity on what really needs to change in your life.

Here are three steps to help you get unstuck and back on track to the life you dream of living:

1. Make the Time for Reflection

The first thing you need to do is find the time to reflect. At the end of each year I take time out to reflect and set new goals for my life. For many of us, our calendars are so full that there is no empty space to be able to reflect on your last year.

Realize how important it is to take time for yourself to reflect on what is working and what is not. We must take the time to take care of ourselves and improve our own lives before we are any good to anyone else. Take out your calendar and block out time for yourself. I would suggest that you set at least a half a day, ideally a full day in your calendar where you can spend time alone to think about and plan for your new year. Keep in mind this practice can be done at any time throughout the year.

2. Take Inventory

The purpose of reflection is to look back on your previous year and take inventory. Reflect on the last year and evaluate your accomplishments and disappointments. What went well, what didn’t?

It can be helpful as you do your reflection to key in on the seven main areas of life. Bringing these together will help you to grow and reach your maximum potential.

The seven main areas are:

  1. Physical – How is your health? What do you need to do to feel healthy and alive?
  2. Mental – Look at your personal growth, how is your mindset? Are you focused on the positive or negative in your life?
  3. Spiritual – What are your core values?
  4. Family and Friends – Ask yourself, are your personal relationships healthy and thriving?
  5. Career/Business – Is your professional life fulfilling?
  6. Financial – What are your financial goals?
  7. Fun and Recreation – Is your life balanced? Do you have time for your hobbies? What are your hobbies?

3. Evaluate What You Want to Be Different

I like to use my journal, though any notepad will do – somewhere you can “brain dump” your thoughts on paper. I start with asking myself the question, “What did I achieve that brought me joy this last year?” With an open mind and blank sheet, I begin to write down all the significant positive achievements and experiences that I can think of.

Similarly, on another blank sheet, make a list of the stressors of the previous year. Ask yourself what circumstances happened, or events were you a part of, that caused you pain or extreme stress.

The first step to positive change in your life is to be aware of and recognize what needs to change. There is such power in reflection as it provides you the tools to take back control of your life and begin moving in a positive direction.

Originally published on Quora.


  • Janelle Bruland

    Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Co-Founder of Legacy Leader

    Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.
    Janelle is a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, Washington and is married with five children. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf, as well as keeping fit through various sports and activities.