It is time to take ownership of your life!
Taking responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and life can feel challenging, and it requires a willingness to learn from your mistakes, own your successes and failures, and stop blaming others for your circumstances.
But taking ownership of your life also builds character, grit, and self-respect. It allows you to proactively create a fulfilling, meaningful, and healthy life where you decide how to respond to your circumstances with accountability and fortitude. Once we understand the quality of our life, it influences our mindset, focus, and actions, and we have the freedom to choose our response.
“Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have.”
Once people stop making excuses, stop blaming others, and take ownership of everything in our lives, we take action to solve our problems. Do not blame others for how you feel or what happens in your life. There are no friendly people, but your responsibility is to make you think and react in certain situations. It does not mean that everything that happens to you is your fault. You must set boundaries for others, but it is your job to clarify them. It is about constantly thinking: “what can I do to improve?” instead of thinking, “the others are stupid.”
Be responsible for yourself. Accept responsibility for your actions. Be accountable for your results. Take ownership of your mistakes. It is okay to “fail,” it is okay to make mistakes… nobody is perfect. And only by “failing” and making mistakes can you learn and improve.
So, if that happens next time, do not think, “oh, I can’t do this,” -> think, “Okay, what can I do better next time, and how can I fix this now” instead. Accept the mistake and move on.
Start building personal ownership with these tips:
Our tendency to blame others for our circumstances is often a knee-jerk reaction. Therefore, the first step in building ownership is to notice this initial response and acknowledge our part in the situation. The next time things don’t go your way or an unfortunate situation arises, take a moment to assess your contribution by asking: “What is my role in this?”
Similarly, our tendency to complain is often an automatic response, and it is also reactive and passive and further embeds a victim mentality. If you hear yourself complaining, pause and reassess by asking: “What can I learn from this? What’s the bigger picture?”
Humans are ingenious at developing creative solutions when we need to. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention. So, if something is important to you — your health, fitness, relationship, career, education, or happiness — you will find a way despite the obstacles.
So, next time you face a challenging situation, rather than taking a defeatist stance and shutting down your options by saying, “I can’t,” try flipping the self-talk by asking yourself, “How can I?”
An excellent exercise to help with this mindset switch is to write down all possible options for resolving your challenging situation. Let go of logic and allow yourself to write down wild and crazy ideas. The purpose is not to come up with a perfect solution straight away. Instead, brainstorming can lead to creative thinking, problem-solving, a plan of action, and a sense of control over your outcomes.
When we lack ownership, we tend to fall into the passive trap of saying, “I don’t have a choice.” We always have a choice — even when we do not actively choose, we still select by default. By acknowledging our options, we ingrain a sense of personal responsibility and develop conscious decision-making.
For example, perhaps you tell yourself you are too tired to go to the gym at the end of a long day. Try re-framing that language to signify your active choice, i.e., “I choose not to go to the gym tonight.” By saying those words out loud, your gut will tell you whether those words are a valid, responsible reason — or if you are blaming external circumstances via an excuse.
Begin to use intentional language around your everyday choices to build a sense of ownership for those decisions:
- “I choose to play with my kids after school.”
- “I choose to go to the gym in the morning.”
- “I choose to eat nourishing food.”
- “I choose to walk to work.”
- “I choose to read instead of watching TV.”
This positive reinforcement of choice will help develop your internal locus of control.
When you hold yourself accountable to others, you are more likely to take ownership of your actions. In turn, it will build a sense of accountability for yourself. Being responsible to others can also provide additional support during challenging situations by ensuring you don’t fall back into previous behavior patterns.
That is why a structure such as the Whole Life Challenge is essential when developing self-responsibility. The accountability of the challenge’s daily scoring provides an opportunity to consider your behavior, reflect on your choices, and make decisions for the following day.
The accumulation of choices and decisions has a tangible and measurable effect on results at the end of the challenge. You are, ultimately, responsible for your challenge experience. Joining a team during the challenge provides extra accountability and support when making your daily choices.
4) New Experience
Blaming external forces for your circumstances means never having to live outside your comfort zone. While comfort zones may feel safe, change never happens there. To grow, develop, and create a fulfilling life, we need to step outside our comfort zone and build a sense of responsibility for our outcomes.
Like any beginner, the first time we try something new, we are likely to fail a few times. And that is okay. Failure is nothing to be afraid of — it is one of the most effective ways to learn and indicates that you influence your outcomes. Failing, learning, and practicing are the keys to progress, and they help you identify a gap, develop a plan, and move forward.
Again, this ties in with the Whole Life Challenge philosophy of progress, not perfection. Being willing to make mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and creating sustainable (imperfect) progress help develop a sense of control, direction, and responsibility.
So, take ownership of your life — own your decisions, be willing to fail, and become the change you wish to see.
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