3 Helpful Strategies to Take Back Control of Your Life
We can all get sucked into the daily grind of life, and sometimes it seems we’re just going through the motions. Work, family responsibilities, basic necessities… All these things need dedicated amounts of time and energy. It’s easy to lose yourself in that routine and not focus on who you are and what you want to accomplish in life.
Don’t lose yourself and your dreams! You have to make a conscious effort to create a vision for your life and take regular action to move towards it. You have to live on purpose! Here are 3 strategies to help you take control of your life and live on purpose.
1. Notice Your Thoughts And Emotions
We all have thousands of thoughts running through our minds each day. Thoughts have a profound impact on how we show up in the world. Because our thoughts are the drivers of our emotions and our actions.
Our thoughts can place us in an imaginary box which feels real to us. Many thoughts that hold us back are not exactly true, and we can choose to think otherwise!
If you walk around thinking that you’re not good enough, where did that thought come from? Is it true? Maybe some people in your life made you think and feel that way, but do you have to accept it? No! You can choose to accept the thought that YOU ARE good enough. Why not?
Sometimes we don’t recognize the thoughts that drive. Why? Because they’re so engrained, so I also suggest you watch your emotions. We all know when we’re sad, mad, frustrated, etc. Step back when you’re hit by an undesirable emotion to find out what thought caused that reaction.
A big example of this for me occurred when I was in life coach training. I was being coached and asked about current life issues. I talked about how I’d been upset the previous night due to staying up late to help my son with homework. My coach asked me why I was upset. I rambled and then pinpointed that I was upset because I wanted to go to sleep.
At that point, my coach asked me why I hadn’t gone to sleep. I immediately launched into a line about being his mother and how I had to help him with his work. This was followed by a series of “whys” from my coach and “because” from me… Because I had to make sure he finished, because I need to make sure he gets a good grade, etc.
By the end, I realized that I didn’t HAVE to do any of that. I thought I did because of my deeply ingrained beliefs on parenting. What’s the worst that would have happened if I had gone to bed as I wanted? Maybe he wouldn’t finish the assignment or wouldn’t do well on it – is that a reflection on me or a lesson learned for him?
I now make a conscious effort to question my thoughts and emotions. As things come up, I ask “why do I think that” or “where did that come from.” As I ask the questions, I’m able to uncover beliefs and paradigms that shackle me. Bringing them to the surface helps loosen and release me from them. Next time you feel a “negative” thought or emotion, take a step back and ask yourself what’s making you think or feel that way and examine the root cause. It may reveal more than you think.
2. Remember That You Have a Choice
You always have a choice in how you react to things in your life. It may not seem that way because often our reactions are knee-jerk responses guided by our subconscious thoughts and beliefs. But we can actively work to uncover those thoughts and beliefs so we recognize them (see #1).
We can choice to be happy, grateful and peaceful in all situations. I know this can be easier said than done, but it‘s always our choice. There’s always something to be grateful for even if it’s the fact you’re still breathing. From the place of gratitude, it’s easier to identify and choose to align with positive thoughts and emotions.
When my grandmother passed in 2014, of course, I was sad and cried buckets. But I was grateful to have made it to her bedside before she passed and grateful for the many years that I was blessed to have her in my life. I chose to celebrate her life and move forward with mine in a way that would make her proud.
You too can choose how you show up in every situation you encounter. You can’t always control external circumstances, but you can control how you receive and respond to them. Take control of your inner state and choose positive states of being.
3. Dare to Dream
How can you reach your destination if you don’t know what it is? You don’t just jump in the car and drive aimlessly. You decide where you’re going and then you map a route to get there. You have to do the same thing with your life!
How can you expect to reach a dream that you haven’t defined?
And the beauty is, your dream is yours to create! It’s not to be dictated to you although some may try to do just that. But you aren’t held to the dreams others make for you… you are free to design your own.
I took the time to consciously design my dream life, and I’m actively working towards it each day. I don’t know all the steps to get there, but I can figure that out along the way. First, I had to get clear on where I want to go. I have a destination.
Dreaming is something we’re all capable of doing but many of us don’t. Open up and allow yourself to dream. Don’t worry… you’re free to change your dream as little or often as you want. It’s up to you. Just don’t neglect to always have a vision of want you want. The more detail and focus you put on your dream, the clearer the steps to get there will unfold for you.