How often do you find yourself feeling that your life is out of your control? Do you have the impression that your life got stuck out like a game of chess? It’s up to you make the next move. Let’s figure out how to take back control of your life!
Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do.
When I think about controlling my life, the first thing which comes to my mind is to control time I spend or waste on different activities. Whenever I get a bit of free time, I struggle with my thoughts on how to use it at best. Shall I write, shall I read, shall I clean my place, shall I go exercise, shall I learn something new, shall I watch something, shall I meet someone, shall I sleep more or shall I do nothing? Having limited free time and so many opportunities, I’m barely able to make a choice. And how do I know if I make the right choice? Sometimes, the result is that I don’t use this time at all.
From time to time, I realize: “You’re lucky to have got freedom of choosing what do you want to do with your free time and you should be grateful for that. Don’t take it for granted. Stop losing it“. But is it really freedom? Don’t we have too many options to choose from? Doesn’t it complicate simple things? I cannot imagine my grandparents having to choose what will they do with their free time. Simply because they didn’t have any. There was always something to do. But they didn’t seem unhappy because of not having the choice.
Today, I have a choice. Does it make me happier? I wouldn’t say so. It happens that the number of options overwhelms me as well as uncertainty if the option I choose is the most appropriate one. Do you use my time well or do I waste it? Someone rightly said that when you open one door you close hundreds of others forever. How do I know if I open the right door? What if I missed the best one? The clock is ticking and there’s no way back.
It seems more difficult to have a choice than to not have it. When you don’t have any choice, you take what’s given to you and you learn to appreciate it. Having too many alternatives may eventually drive you crazy.
We exist in a buzz of worry that we’re not doing what we’re meant to do, and the anxiety we feel, in turn, makes it difficult to get things done, creating a spiral of inaction.Anthony Rao and Paul Napper
I’m constantly experiencing a feeling that whatever I do, I’m losing something. When I’m at work I feel like I lose precious time I could spend with my family. When I’m with my family I feel like meanwhile other people work hard and achieve a lot. When I sleep I feel like wasting my time I could use for my personal development. When I stay late at night catching up with writing or other activities I feel like I sacrifice my health.
How to find the best wavelength and take back control over your life? I recommend three metods from a book Power of Agency.
1. Avoid overstimulation
What I’ve started to practice is disconnect from any kind of stimulation which is not related to the current activity. If I choose to write or read, or go for a walk I put my phone off. I give myself space to enjoy what I’m doing now and to find its deeper value. Being within reach mobile devices distract my attention not allowing me to fully focus on. They undermine the relevance of the chosen option trying to overflow me with a multitude of other options I could be doing at the same time. The result is that I start to do various things simultaneously and eventually I feel like I’ve done nothing.
The habit of holding incessantly my mobile with me ingrains a toxic feeling that I miss something else and other people use better their time. Putting my phone away for a while doesn’t make me lose the connectivity with the whole world. It gives me freedom to spend quality time doing what seems to be the most beneficial right now. I’m connected with selected people, with inner myself or with nature. Less means more.
The ability to concentrate on one thing without being interrupted may be a genuine blessing. You feel like you take the most of it. That your time is not wasted. Very soon you start seeing effects of your undivided attention.
2. Avoid getting affected by people’s negative emotions
The essential is to detach from, so-called, groupthink, especially if certain thought patterns or behaviors are against your values. If there’s someone particularly negative in your environment, it’s healthier to limit the number of interactions. Set boundaries with difficult people. Don’t let them affect your motivation and well-being.
Encircle yourself with positive people who encourage you to do better. People who help you discover your talents. Who motivate you to exceed your limits. When I watch Oscars or any other award ceremony, the winners are used to thank people without whose support they would have never achieved such a success. These people aren’t the ones who complain, doubt or discourage your ability to reach your full potential. These people are the ones who advocate for you until you get to your destination point.
It’s not always like you have got a bunch of friends cheering for you. You can engage into casual talks with your neighbours, grocers or local volunteers. Wherever you find a positive spirit, go for it. It’ll significantly improve your state of mind.
3. Avoid staying on the couch
I read about it everywhere: move. I hear about it everywhere: move. I watch about it everywhere: move. It seems like moving is the most frequently prescribed medicine for almost all disorders. No surprise, it helps to make the mind up.
Lying on the couch and thinking about the sense of your life will not move the mountains. Get up, put on your sport shoes and warm you up. Once the blood starts to circulate in your veins, you’ll feel a boost of dopamine. It doesn’t have to be something extreme. A simple stretching or a walk relief my mind from a burden of unnecessary thoughts.
What are your best practices to keep control of your life? I’ll gladly hear from you!
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