How to Exert Greater Ownership Over Your Life

woman on the top of a mountain

Have you ever found yourself caught up in an activity and wondering why you’re doing it, or feeling like you’re not doing anything worthwhile despite being extremely busy each day? This lack of happiness and a sense of purpose can be tied to a loss of control over our lives, and it’s something that can befall anybody. Here’s how you can start addressing this problem.

Why bother?

Some people believe that life simply happens to us. We have so little control over a multitude of factors and events around us that struggling to exert our limited influence is futile, bound to lead to frustration. But feeling powerless doesn’t make it so. It might help to think of your life as a home; if you don’t work on its upkeep or make necessary improvements, many things will invariably fall into disuse, and clutter will build up to unmanageable levels.

But our lives aren’t like homes when it comes to fixing things. For your home, you can always call on professional services to do the laundry, repair water well pumps, and do maintenance on the HVAC. If you don’t step up and start owning your life, is there anyone who’s always on standby to fix things for you at a moment’s notice?

Begin with self-discovery


We all have our unique backgrounds and current circumstances to deal with. Our relationships, past and present, have shaped our lives. In the process, other people may have exerted considerable influence in defining who we are. Plus, we have developed defensive mechanisms in response to criticism and perceived failure, which prevents us from truly understanding who we are and what we want out of life.

How much of what you’ve accomplished or are currently engaged in is truly you, as opposed to the expectations and impositions of others? No one sets out on the journey to regain control of their lives with a blank slate; thus, self-discovery is an essential first step we all need to take. Engage in daily reflective practice at home, or go on a long road trip and seek adventure in unfamiliar places where challenging situations can reveal more about you.

Take deliberate action

Armed with better knowledge of yourself and what you want to do in life, you can now take several constructive steps that will shape your life around those goals. Controlling the inputs and influences in your environment will help you regain balance while minimizing distractions. Regular exercise and proper nutrition boost motivation and help you take positive action. Simply removing your mobile phone or other devices from your presence will improve focus.

Also, making a conscious effort to avoid interactions with people who exert a negative influence or attempt to control your actions to serve their own purposes will free you to act in a manner that’s consistent with your goals and values. So, learn to say no to projects and requests, which will only prove burdensome. Embrace a growth mindset and become open to the possibilities of continuous learning.

Taking greater ownership of your life is not an easy task. There are many obstacles to overcome, but by making an effort to separate your identity from the influences of others, working to change what you can, and reinforce that with positivity, you’ll be able to exert control and chart a course towards what you truly desire.

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