When life gets so busy that it can almost feel chaotic and out of control, we might sometimes feel as though we are existing in autopilot mode, simply going through the motions to get through the day. You might be feeling overwhelmed or struggling to make decisions, or maybe you feel as though you’re stuck in a rut without knowing how to get out.
It doesn’t have to be like this – your life is your own and you should be the one at the wheel. Taking back control of your life isn’t just about being more organized, it is about rediscovering your independence, indulging in things you enjoy and making decisions about what you want to do and when you want to do them.
Here are some simple ways to take back control of your life.
Identify the issues
The first step to taking back control is figuring out what that means to you – which areas of your life do you not feel you have a level of control over? This can often mean being prepared to face up to challenges and doing and saying things that you may find difficult.
Find your independence and have designated ‘me’ time
Being dependent on others often takes away a level of control in your own life. Are there areas in which you could start developing some independence and focusing on yourself a little more? Start taking care of yourself more, and make sure not to neglect your physical or mental health. Try cutting back on commitments where possible and continue to develop positive relationships with others.
Set some designated time in which you are focusing solely on yourself and doing something that you want to do without relying on others. Be insistent that this is time just for you and don’t allow interruptions or someone else to dictate what it is that you do.
Think positive and don’t sweat the small stuff
Being driven by negative emotions can be extremely detrimental, draining our energy levels and making it more difficult to be productive. By becoming more of a ‘glass half full’ person you will be more likely to take new opportunities, rather than listening to the pessimistic voice in your head. This isn’t an easy change to make (particularly if you have had a negative mindset for long periods of time) and will require daily reminders and choosing to be positive.
Similarly, it may be useful to look rationally at a situation and decide on whether it is actually important or not. Is it something you can change? If the answer is yes, decide what you can do about it and set something in place to tackle it at a time that suits you. If it’s no, then don’t worry about it.
Set boundaries and be comfortable with saying no
It’s always nice to help others, but sometimes other people exert more control over your life than they should, especially if they are used to making frequent demands from friends and family. If you are a people pleaser, start saying no more often, particularly to things that are inconvenient to your time and your wellbeing.
Set clear boundaries with those people and clarify what you feel is and is not acceptable and appropriate. Don’t offer explanations or compromises and use an authoritative tone without being aggressive, and stick to what you say. By having this clear line in the sand, you are effectively demanding respect and consideration show that you are willing to stand up for yourself.
Think and then act
Procrastinating, excessive worrying, obsessing over tiny details – these are all extremely common behaviours in people with low agency when faced with a decision. It can be very easy to either avoid thinking about the issue or come to a quick, impulsive decision. Instead, start weighing up your options, properly considering everything and then make the decision, once you have given time for the immediate negative first reactions to subside and your judgement is clear.
Taking back control of your life isn’t going to be easy but well worth the effort. Tackle one thing at a time and you will be spurred on to continue your path because you will feel empowered. It’s your life, live it the way you wish.