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Every person on the planet wants to feel in control of their life. Humans want to feel like they are steering the ship and that their destiny is firmly in hand. But unfortunately, it often feels like life is just happening to you instead of because of you. Like you’re just along for the ride and not really in charge of anything.
But the fact is that when it comes to your life, you do have a lot of control – if only you take responsibility for your life today. The wheel of your life belongs to you, and you alone. You need to recognize it and take steps toward taking control of your life.
You can take back the reins and start living a life you control. You can master your life and live it your way. Let’s explore five ways to take charge of your life and put yourself behind the control panel.
Evaluate Your Existing Control
Evaluating your existing control is the first step to mastering your life. First, take a good hard look at what you can and can’t control. There are many parts of life you can’t control, such as:
- The weather
- Other people’s actions
- Other people’s words
- The economy
- The stock markets
- Natural disasters
- Your age
- The past
Here is a list of things in your life you can control:
- Your thoughts
- Your attitude
- Your actions
- How you spend your time
- How you spend your money
- Who you spend your time with
- Your physical health (to a large extent)
- Your mental health (to a large extent)
- Your happiness
The areas of life you can control essentially boil down to your thoughts, emotions, and actions. You control the form your reaction takes to the things that happen to you. But you must take control to have control. When you take control of these areas of your life, you will discover that you can create the life you want.
Once you understand what’s in your purview of control, you can look at your goals, habits, emotions, and other aspects of your life, to clearly understand what you can and can’t control. Then, you can start working on making changes.
- It’s Your Choice – What you think matters. You have the power to focus on either the positive or negative aspects of every situation, and this will shape your reality. To see the best in others and yourself, choose to believe that you are capable of great things.
- You Choose How You Feel – You always have the power to control your emotions. You decide if you want to be happy or sad, grateful or angry, at peace or stressed. Whichever emotion you choose will more than likely determine how your day goes.
- You Choose How to Act – You can either move closer to your goals or stay where you are. You can take risks or play it safe. You can be honest and transparent or keep things hidden. The choice is yours.
You do have control of your life. You get to choose what you think, how to react to your emotions, and what actions you take. So, choose wisely and create the life that you want. Having said that, to be in control of your life, you need to start with yourself.
Take the time to evaluate your habits, emotions, values, and goals. Then determine what, if anything, you can change, what you’re doing right, what’s leading you down the wrong path, and what you need (resources and actions) to get what you want.
It is important to remember that you cannot control everything, so focus on the things you do control and let go of the things you cannot. When you are clear regarding what you can realistically control, you will empower yourself to make positive changes. Then, when you make the right changes, you will finally begin living the life you dream of living and, quite frankly, are meant to live.
Clarify Your Core Values
Knowing yourself is very important if you want to be in control of your life. It’s imperative to clarify your core values, beliefs, and internal motivations so that you are always acting congruently. When you understand yourself and what you believe in, it is easier to make choices representing your interests and values.
Below are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine your core values, beliefs, and internal motivations:
- What do I believe in?
- What is important to me?
- What do I stand for?
- What do I want to achieve?
- What motivates me?
Spend some time thinking about these things and writing them down. Whichever way that you choose to answer is the correct answer. Just be honest with yourself. You must be sincere when answering the questions and delve into your why for doing and being if you want this to work.
As you answer the questions, think about the following:
- Consider Your Past Experiences – What experiences have influenced your values and beliefs? What internal motivators have you identified in yourself?
- Look to the Future – What do you hope to achieve in life? What type of person are you? Who will you be in five years or ten years? What sort of impact do you want to make on the world? What goals have you set for yourself?
- Talk to Others – Talk to people who know you well and ask for their input. You may be surprised by what they have to say. This will help you determine if your beliefs and values are yours or what someone else thought.
- Reflect On Your Answers – Take some time to think about your answers to the questions above. What do they mean to you? How do they fit together?
- Challenge Yourself – Are your ideas based on reality and truth, or just how you wish they were? Taking action based on what you want instead of just wishing and dreaming will enable you to achieve your goals. Sometimes as you get to know yourself better, you realize your values are different from what you thought they were.
- Revise As Needed – Your core values, beliefs, and internal motivations are not set in stone. As you grow and change, so too will they. So be prepared to revise your understanding of them as needed. As you learn more, you will always grow and change. This is a good thing. Most people don’t stay the same person they were in the past.
Knowing who you are will help you make better decisions, stay true to yourself, and ultimately be happier. Plus, it will help you master your life by letting you control it. Once you know who you are, you’ll be in a much better position to decide what you want and need from your life and recognize your success.
Decide What You Need & Want from Life
Hopefully, you now know yourself better and have clarified your core values, beliefs, and internal motivations. Also, once you understand what’s within your control, it’s time to decide what you need and want from life. This process will help you craft the life you want instead of continuing to build the life someone else planned for you.
Knowing what you want from your life aids you in achieving your goals, making better decisions, and avoiding situations you don’t want to be in.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to:
- Assess – Evaluate your current position about where you want to be.
- Set goals – When you know where you start from, you can set goals.
- Plan – After you set your goals, you’ll want to start planning, scheduling, and organizing your action plan.
- Act – Open your schedule and do the actions that will eventually take you to success and the achievement of your goals.
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Accurately understanding where you stand requires you to assess your current situation periodically. Look at your finances, health, relationships, career, and personal development – every area of life that you want to improve. Once you clearly understand where you are, it’ll be easier to set goals and decide what you want from this life.
After assessing your current situation, setting your goals is next. This involves figuring out what you want to achieve in life. For example, do you want to get out of debt? Lose weight? Start your own business? It’s essential to be specific when setting goals so that you can create a plan to achieve them. Use the SMART goal acronym to help you create actionable goals.
Once you know your goals, the next step is to draft an action plan by figuring out what steps you need to take to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to get out of debt, your plan might involve creating a budget, making extra money, and cutting back on your spending.
After you’ve created a plan, the final step is to act. Acting involves doing. To put your plan into motion and take the steps necessary to achieve your goals, you’ll need to put the actions into your schedule. In this way, you do them promptly so you can experience success in mastering your life.
Set & Maintain Clear Boundaries
Boundaries are vital to your happiness and ability to accomplish all you want. Limits protect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. When you have healthy boundaries with yourself and others, you’re less likely to be taken advantage of, manipulated, or harmed by others – including yourself.
Boundaries are the lines you draw that define what you will and will not tolerate. They are the limits you set with other people and yourself to protect yourself from being hurt, taken advantage of, or used.
When setting boundaries in your life:
- Be Honest with Yourself – If you’re not honest with yourself, it won’t be easy to set healthy boundaries. So, take time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings and be honest about what you need and want.
- Know What You Want & Don’t Want – It may take some time to ensure that your value system matches your desires. But when you know what you want, it’ll be easier to go after it and set boundaries.
- Be Clear About What You Need & Can’t Tolerate – If it helps, make a list and compare what you write with your beliefs to ensure alignment with your value system.
- Be Assertive in Communicating Your Boundaries – Communicating your boundaries directly and firmly will take practice, but if you don’t make a stand, people may not realize they’re crossing your boundaries.
- Follow Through with Consequences – If you’ve communicated your boundaries but don’t follow through with consequences when they’re crossed, people will learn that they can get away with it.
- Be Consistent – If you let some folks cross your boundaries sometimes but not others, it will be confusing and frustrating for both you and them.
- Have Compassion For Yourself – Be patient with yourself and know that it takes time to change old patterns. Don’t beat yourself up when you aren’t perfect. Instead, learn and try to do better next time.
- Get Support – If you keep trying but feel like you are failing at setting boundaries, it’s not your fault. You may be suffering from an unknown trauma that a professional can help you with.
- Practice – The more you set boundaries and stick to them, the easier it will become. At first, it may feel funny and foreign, but as your mind gets used to the fact that you will protect yourself, it’ll become second nature.
When you have healthy boundaries, you’ll maintain a sense of self-respect and experience healthier relationships with others and yourself. Setting and maintaining clear boundaries is essential to having a happy and fulfilling life. By understanding your boundaries and how to set them, you can take control of your life and relationships and create the life you want.
Visualize Your Ideal Life
Visualizing your life the way you want it to be will motivate you to take action and make changes in your life that make your dreams a reality. When you see yourself living your dream life and feel the emotions associated with success, it will be easier to believe it is possible.
When you believe something is possible, you will likely take the action steps needed to make it so. Take a moment right now to consider what you want your life to look like. What are your goals and dreams? What lifestyle do you want to live? When you know what you want, start imagining it within your mind.
- See yourself achieving your goals and living the life you want.
- Picture yourself happy and fulfilled.
- Feel the emotions you will feel when it all comes to pass.
- Mentally touch, smell, and taste the things you want in your life.
The more clear and vivid the image, the more likely it is to become a reality. There are many ways to use visualization techniques, such as mental imaging, affirmations, and effective goal setting. You’ll want to use the method or methods that work best for you based on your needs and wants.
- Mental Imaging – Mental imaging is a powerful way to visualize your ideal life. See yourself achieving your goals. Picture yourself happy and fulfilled. The more vividly you imagine it, the better. For some people, creating a vision board is helpful.
- Affirmations – Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself. Reading and stating affirmations aloud will help program your mind for success. Try saying affirmations to yourself such as, “I am worthy of my ideal life” or even, “I can succeed.” When you’ve clarified what you want, you can be more specific. “I am an author.” “I am healthy.” “I walk five miles a day.”
- SMART Goal Setting – Goal setting is another effective way to visualize your life. Set goals that are specific, realistic, and achievable. Write them down and refer to them often. Then, as you work towards your goals, taking daily action according to your plan will remind you of what you are working towards.
Visualizing your ideal life is a powerful way to make it a reality. Start using visualization techniques for every goal you set. It really will make a massive difference in your life because what you focus on grows. You’ll be more likely to identify roadblocks, notice when your actions don’t match your values, and even react better to situations outside your control.
Last Word: Mastering Your Destiny
Once you take control of your life, start making the decisions about what you will or will not do, how you spend your time, and with whom you’ll finally begin to enjoy your life, because you will be living the life you are meant to live.
If you want to be the person in control of your life, start with these steps that focus on being truthful with yourself. Once you identify what is and isn’t within your control, you can better manage your time spent chasing after goals.
- Know what is within and outside your control
- Be brutally honest with yourself about where you are in life
- Clarify your core values
- Take responsibility for your own happiness
- Set boundaries with yourself and others
- Set goals for yourself and create a road map to success
- Schedule and perform the tasks needed to achieve your goals
- Make time for what’s important to you
To take control of your life, you need to make sure that you’re spending your time wisely by prioritizing the things that are important to you. No matter what’s important to you, make sure you’re making time for it. Otherwise, it will never become a priority.
Taking control of your life can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. When you take charge of your life, you’ll begin to live the dream life you want to live as the person you are meant to be.