Yes, there are things that happen in our life that we have no control over, like the flat tire you got last week. And yes, you cannot control others’ actions. But… you would be surprised at how much control you actually do have over your life. Here are some tips on how you can begin to gain that control.
Tip #1 Changing Your Thoughts
Changing your thoughts can truly change your life. It may be hard to believe and difficult to begin to put into practice but once you get going you will be amazed by how your life can transform. There are a lot of times that we think to ourselves or even say out loud “I can’t do that.” Stop right there. Who is to say you can’t? Have you tried? I used to be a preschool teacher and almost everyday I would hear “I can’t do that.” I would say to my kids “Well, did you try?” to which the response would usually be “No.” and I would say “Then how do you know you can’t?” And guess what, 9 out of 10 times they would then turn around and try and be able to do what ever it was they thought they couldn’t. And if it was that one time that they couldn’t do, well they tried and they are one step closer to being able to do it the next time.
As we get older it gets harder, I know. But think about the last time you said “I can’t.” Did you try? What do you think the outcome would have been if you did? So start changing your thought from “I can’t” to “I think I can. I’m going to try.”
Here are some other common thought patterns and how you can change them:
“What happens to me is out of my control.”
- New thought pattern: I create my reality. If I believe it, I can do it.
“I can’t go out with my friends/travel/etc. because I can’t spend money and I don’t have the
time because I am working.”
- New thought pattern: Money only plays a role to a certain extent. I can get more of it. What I cannot get more of is time.
“I know this job/relationship/situation/etc. is not good for me/my mental health but I need it
because I need the money/comfort/etc.”
- New thought pattern: This is not right for me and I need to switch my focus and energy to something that is. I will find a new job/relationship/etc. that is right for me.”
Tip #2 Starting Off On A Good Foot
Start every new beginning the right way. This means when you wake up in the morning start it out right. Don’t snooze your alarm, or groan about getting up. When your alarm goes off, think about how grateful you are to have another day. Lay in bed for a few minutes and mentally go over a some things that you are grateful to have today.
Whenever there is a new beginning in your life, welcome it with open arms. Think of the opportunities it will bring you, rather than what troubles may cause. When my last relationship ended I was devastated. I started thinking, “What am I going to do now? I’m never going to find someone that made me feel as safe as he did. I don’t know how to be on my own.” I quickly changed my thought pattern to “Wow, look at how many things I can do now. There are endless opportunities. I am going to travel and meet new people all over the world. I need to find out what it is like to be on my own. I will be ok. I am strong.” It may have been the end of one chapter of my life. But it was the beginning of the next and I knew I had to start this new chapter on a good foot.
Tip #3 Be Kind To Yourself
Often times we are our biggest critics. This is a routine that we need to break. Look in the mirror and list the things you like about yourself. “I like the color of my eyes.” or “Wow, my hair looks great today.” Take your focus away from the things that you wish you could change about yourself and start to focus more on the things that you love about yourself. Do this every morning. Make a habit of it. The kinder you are to yourself, the happier you will be and you will be able to spread positivity to others as well. You will start glowing and everyone will recognize it.
Tip #4 Take Care Of Yourself
Taking care of yourself is, by far, the most important steps to make in order to take control of your life. But what does it mean to take care of yourself? Well, there are a lot of ways we need to take care of ourselves. We need to clean ourselves, feed ourselves, make sure we get rest…but one thing that we often forget about is our mental health. There are always going to be times in our lives where we are struggling, stressed out or simply have to do something we wish we did not have. So to counteract these things, we need to make sure we fill out lives with things that we enjoy doing. Here are a few ways to make sure you are taking care of yourself:
- Fuel Your Body Right: Yes, we all need to eat. But how you are fueling your body depends on whether you are taking care of yourself or not. Take a look at your day to day eating habits. Be honest with yourself. Are you really taking care of yourself when it comes to what you put in your body? If not, this is one of the first changes you need to make. A mainly plant-based diet is the best way to fuel our bodies. Start by adding more fresh produce to your diet, and limiting the amount of processed foods and animals products that you eat.
- Personal Hygiene: Personal hygiene plays a huge role in how we perceives ourselves. This goes back to the idea of being kind to ourselves. Are you taking care of yourself in this way? Create a morning and night routine to make sure you are.
- Rest: There are so many illnesses linked to lack of rest. Unfortunately, we live in a society where rest is very underrated. If you do not think you are getting enough rest, start out by tracking how many hours of sleep you get on average each night. If you do not think you are getting enough sleep, talk to your doctor to find out how much sleep you should be getting each night. Then try to change your schedule around to make sure you are getting the amount you need. Cut out the things that you don’t NEED to do and the things that are not benefitting you (i.e. watching TV for an hour when you get home form work, sitting on your phone and scrolling through social media) and use that time to get more rest.
- Mental Health: Find something that you enjoy doing and make time for it. This can be something as simple as taking ten minutes to put some music on and dance before you head to work in the morning. Or find a hobby you enjoy and schedule time to do that.
Here are some other suggestions for taking control of your life:
- Start doing breathing exercises when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed. These will help to clear your head. Create or find a mantra or positive affirmation you can repeat to yourself throughout these times, such as “I am strong. I am enough.”
- Exercise more. Whether this means going for a 15 minute walk on your lunch break, getting a gym membership and making a promise to yourself to go at least twice a week, joining a yoga studio, etc. No matter what it is, just get your body moving more. It will make you feel happier, leading you to be more motivated and ready to take the reigns on your life.
- Start a gratitude journal. Before you go to bed each night or when you wake up in the morning, write down the things you are grateful for.
- Create a goals journal, board, etc. Write down your short term goals, your intentions for this week, for this month. Make them something small and something tangible, something that will lead to your bigger goal. What small steps do you need to make to get there? Write them down. Plan out how you’re going to get these things done. Refer back to it throughout the day.
- Listen to motivational podcasts in the car. Just surrounding yourself with positive motivation will help you to become motivated to make changes in your life.
- Most of all…Get up. Get out there. And get going. Only you can change your life. You need to make the steps. You can. You will.