Have you ever told yourself (or heard) these phrases?
“I don’t have time — I work, have kids, and my family needs me to run around after them.”
“My entire family is overweight — it’s in my genes, and it’s just the way I am.”
“My boss hates me, I’ll never get promoted.”
“It’s too hot/cold/rainy/windy to exercise, and besides, I have no energy left after work.”
“I’ll never find someone because all the good ones are taken.”
“I can’t afford it — not in this economic climate.”
I’ve heard myself say a few of these excuses, so if you recognize yourself in any of them, trust me, you’re not alone.
Ownership is such a powerful word.
It means we take responsibility for whatever it is that’s going on in our lives. We stop waiting for other people and other things to change it for us. This means taking the necessary actions for whatever you want in life.
As a society, we look for happiness and fulfillment in all the wrong places. We’re always looking for a quick fix, the ONE THING, the magic pill, that makes it all work. But when that ‘one thing’ doesn’t work out, we’re left disappointed. And even worse, sometimes we do get ‘the thing’, and then we’re still left feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.
Ultimately, this way of thinking and behaving is a habit. Over time, we’ve become used to blaming external factors for our circumstances, and it has turned into an automatic response.
Further embedding this habit, we’ve also been told that it’s not our fault that our lives aren’t perfect — it’s due to macro-level factors like the economy, government, globalization, corporations. Or, on a micro-level, it’s the fault of our bosses, coworkers, parents, DNA, partners, etc.
In reality, we have more control over our lives than we think we do. And the more we shift the blame outward, the less likely we’ll enjoy a healthy, engaged, and fulfilling life. Not only can our physical health be negatively affected by our lack of personal responsibility, but our mental and emotional health can also be at risk.
Thankfully, like all bad habits, this unhelpful way of thinking can be broken, and you can regain ownership (and control) over your life.
The first step is to notice your blaming tendencies. Self-awareness is huge! If you can master this first step — girl, you’re well on your way!
If you hear yourself complaining, pause and reassess by asking: “What can I learn from this? What’s the bigger picture?”
Next, focus on solutions. The next time you’re faced with 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?”
Third: Practise your power of choice. When we lack ownership, we tend to fall into the passive trap of saying “I don’t have a choice.”
For example, at the end of a long day, you tell yourself you’re too tired to workout. Try re-framing that language to signify your active choice, i.e. “I choose not to workout tonight.” By saying those words out loud, your gut will tell you whether those words are a valid, responsible reason — or if you’re blaming external circumstances via an excuse.
And finally: Pour love all over yourself
When I focus on myself, I redirect my energy toward positive change.
My self-care rituals are pretty simple. I do a guided meditation for 10 mins, take my dog for an extra long walk once a day and dedicate a solid 10 minutes to my Korean skin-care routine every night.
Focusing on ourselves reminds us that we control our desires, our actions, and our feelings. We can choose how to respond to others. We work on ourselves. We fill ourselves up without expecting others to fill in our empty spaces.
In the 4 Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss, he advises an exercise where you take a piece of paper and write down: every day, every other day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year. You then write down the things you’d like to do in those frequencies. They could be ‘go for a walk’ every day. ‘Have a meal with friends’ every week, ‘go to Disneyland’ every year. Anything you like!
Try it out – write them all down and use that piece of paper as a blueprint for living a life full of your favourite things.
Only you have the power and inclination to control your own happiness. No external factors should penetrate your inner core. No one can make you feel anything you don't want to feel. You’ve got this and we LOVE everything you’re doing!