Updated: Aug 21
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
If you feel you are going through life without control, you are not alone. Most of us fill our time with things we must do, while we put behind our dreams, never getting achieved.
Often our behaviour becomes control by our social and financial commitments.
Life doesn’t have to be a series of things that happen to you. It is time for you to conquer your fear and remove the obstacles keeping you back. Take control of your life. It is your life after all!
Here are six ways to do this:
1. Make a List About What You Want in Life
If you want to take control of your life, you first need to know–what you want in your life and how you will achieve them. The best way to do this is by writing a goal list.
A goal list is a ‘list’ of long-term personal goals that want to achieve over the next five to ten years. Spend a reasonable length of time analysing the goals that will give the most value to your life, then write them down.
As you write your goal list, there is only one rule to remember that is “Don’t limit yourself”.
Set your fears aside. Go with your initial ideas as often these are the ones that matter to you.
Try answering these questions to help you decide on your goal list:
What are the things that you want to achieve out of life?
What are the goals that will give you fulfilment?
What would you like to accomplish?
What result are you trying to achieve?
What outcome would be ideal?
What do you want to change?
Why are you hoping to achieve this goal?
From the questions above–is there a common interest or theme for you? Does something stand out?
This list is your starting point you, however, all goals need an end date. Beside each of the goals you have identified – write an end date beside them. (See point 6 - On having a plan)
Keep in mind that fear is responsible for holding you back. If fear wants to enter your goal list, just push it away and think it is just a list.
2. Make Time for Yourself
Take the time to do the things that make you feel great. Taking “me” time is essential to recharge your energy and enthusiasm.
It is the positive boost your life needs to keep going. It is important to be disciplined about your “me” time. Spend at least 30 minutes on yourself every day.
What are the things you enjoy doing?
What is the best time of the day for you to put 30 minutes aside for yourself?
How will you spend this time?
What skills or hobbies would you like to develop?
Limit distractions. Learn how to delegate some of your responsibility or cut-out what is unnecessary to clear your schedule. You can do this by asking family members to help you with tasks or if you are busy at work find someone that can assist you.
Learn to say no without feeling guilty. Remember, you can’t keep taking endless tasks; your mental health will suffer!
3. Do One Thing at a Time
With so much coming at you, it is easy to get caught in the trap of doing everything at once. However, this is not good practice as you are always paying attention to what is urgent and not necessarily the most important.
Step back and analyse what really needs to be done.
How much do you achieve when you are swinging your attention from one thing to another?
In fact, you are increasing the time taken to finish the first task by 25%. So, it is important to concentrate and do one thing at a time!
Click on the Action-Priority matrix button. The matrix which can help you identify, what you need to do now, and what things can wait for later.
4. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
As I mentioned before, fear holds you back from doing what you want to do in life.
You need to create the habit of facing your fears, to start taking control of your life.
So what things can you do to get out of your comfort zone?
Try a new style of clothing - wear a hat, a new colour, tailored suit etc.
Go for lunch or the cinema by yourself
Write a blog
Cook a new recipe
Learn a new skill
Take on some volunteering work
Try to make new friends
Try a new physical activity–yoga, running, rock climbing and do it regularly.
Confront the person who annoys you–be assertive and get it sorted
Get in your car and drive somewhere new
Book a weekend break just for yourself and go sightseeing.
Apply for jobs that you want rather than ones that you can do
Take on a new task at work
Join a walking group
Publish a novel
Ask for a pay rise
Break free of the self-imposed limitations that fear creates. So make sure to do at least one thing that gets you out of your comfort zone once a week.
5. Learn Your Lesson
Everyone at some point hits a breaking point, but instead of resisting it, embrace it. These moments (very often) show you what you are missing in your life, and what you really want.
Like many, I too get frustrated on how long some of my goals seem to take. However, when I do achieve them, I consider at the hurdles I had to overcome and the maturity I need to fully appreciate what I have achieved.
Experience creates knowledge which in turns creates maturity. This maturity allows you to face future issues with a better sense of judgement and clarity.
What was missing in your life at this point?
What did you learn from this lesson?
How have you been able to apply this knowledge in your recent choices?
What decisions can you now make in your life from this experience?
What subsequent changes you now made/applied to further your life (from that breaking point)?
When your mind and heart are open to learning the lessons, your new paths become clearer and more accessible. Resting points are great life teachers if you let them.
6. Have a Plan
To take control of your life, it is important to plan your strategies for making your life the way you always want it to be.
Glance back on your goal list (Point 1)–what are goals that you most WANT to achieve?
Once you have decided on these, break each of them down into 5 or 6 bitesize/micro targets. It is far better to breakdown your overall goal into manageable bite-size targets that are achievable.
For example, a goal could look for a new job (this is a big goal)
To get a job, you will need to do at least six of these things on a weekly basis:
Bitesize target 1: Check at least three different job boards every week
Bitesize target 2: Apply for at least 6 jobs each week
Bitesize target 3: On the LinkedIn website, look for new connections at companies that I am interested in. Talk to people on LinkedIn and ask for help in your job search, engage in sharing your professional knowledge in groups or newsfeeds.
Bitesize target 4: Read the business section of local online newspapers. Note any new developments within my professional sector.
Bitesize target 5: Research and practice interview questions every week (record yourself, practice in front of a mirror or ask a family member to ask you questions)
Bitesize target 6: Make at least one speculative application to an employer each week. Find out the name of the recruiter and Post your CV/Resume and cover letter directly to them.
After you have done this, get a diary or a calendar and start entering these bite-size targets.
I prefer to use a calendar which is visible and hung on a wall. Why you may ask? Well diaries get closed over (shut) but a calendar remains open and visual – you see it every day, a constant reminder for when you have to complete your bite-size target by.