How can I get out of the same tired cycle?

Moving forward is something that I’m seeming to have an issue with. I use to be so goal oriented and focused back when I was 15 but after my first relationship, family issues, and poor decision making, I seem to be stuck in the same habitual cycle. It starts with me being super depressed about my life and where I’m at (what’s even more frustrating is I know why I do some of the things I do, just not how to fix it), then I get to such a low point that I finally snap out of it and decide to change for the better. I make lists, plans, and get super excited, the thought of changing is almost euphoric. I have at it for a week, two tops and then I fall of the wagon. After that I get complacent, I settle and I do that for 2 - 3 weeks. After the third week I start thinking about how unhappy I am with my situation, I get super depressed and down (to the point where I almost feel hopeless) and the cycle starts again. I don’t know what to do.
Asked by Salem


This cycle is common and it seems there are a few factors keeping you in the cycle: 1. How you set goals and 2. Depression.


I will start with depression first - if you have been feeling depressed for quite some time, it might be time to seek some help either through counseling, talking to your doctor about potentially trying some medication or both! Research shows both getting on medication and talking to someone has the best rate of success. Things that can help with depression are: talk therapy, exercise, getting proper sleep, making sure you're eating and staying hydrated, and not isolating (aka: use your supports, see your friends, it's okay to be vulnerable. Those who love you want to support you). It also sounds like you had some difficult life events which are where it started, so some self-reflection might be helpful through journaling! Pinterest has some wonderful journal prompts (just search "journal prompts for self-growth" or "journal prompts for self-love" etc) if you struggle with knowing where to begin. Also, I do have a website (all free resources) that has tons of blog articles that might be helpful - . There are many articles and journal prompts on there that may be helpful. 


Next, let's address how you set goals! I work with my clients on: SIMPLIFYING their goals. For example, many of my clients have the "goal" of exercising daily. But... they also work full-time jobs and have full-time lives! Then, if they miss a day, they feel they haven't reached their goal, so they call it quits. Just like you, they start out very excited and ready to go, but after a few weeks, they fall off. So, we start with setting the goal of exercising 2-3x a week. What this does is it makes it more manageable and allows for life to happen, without ruining the goal. And guess what? It's those small things that add up over time.

Have you ever heard of SMART goals? Basically, the acronym goes like this:

S - simple

M - measurable

A - achievable

R - realistic

T - timely

All that to say: are the goals you are setting simple and achievable? Or are they big-picture goals? Having a big picture in your mind is certainly helpful, but even the big picture needs to be broken down because big picture goals often aren't realistic in a timely manner. Expecting to become a "new you" overnight isn't realistic. In fact - what's wrong with who you are now? You don't need a "new year new me" mindset. Who you are is enough. An "I've got my back, how can I make sure I have my back?" mindset is going to feel a lot better. So, break your goals down super simply. 

If you are wanting a change in career paths, my first recommendation is: get on Linkd In, update your profile, and simply just start searching for what's out there. Then, update your resume. Then, if you ever see a job you'd be interested in reach out and apply or turn your job availability on links in. Super simple and it gets the ball rolling! Not knowing what direction to take your career? That's okay too - just see what's out there, what may be interesting to you. Google and Linkd are your best friends! 

This is just an example. What I'm seeing from you is: you're ready to break the cycle. So, we need to change the method by which you approach it. And the first thing is first: you deserve to feel better than you are feeling right now. So, if you are feeling depressed then there are tons of resources available to you such as Betterhelp, going through your insurance to find a provider in your area, talking to your doctor, etc. 


I wish you the best of luck and I hope this was helpful!