Strategies to Gain Control Over Your Life

Does it seem like you’re on auto-pilot? Like you don’t have a choice in how you show up in the world? Like the world and people in it are controlling your life? As if all that is wrong in your life is someone or something else’s fault?

The truth is, you can be in the ‘driver’s seat’ of your life, your happiness and your destiny if you are ready to do the work and take responsibility for the decisions in your life, regardless of the outside circumstances. For example you have control over:

  • What you think about, and what you make what you think mean

  • The perspective you put on the world, and the people in it

  • The kindness you give to those around you

  • What you make a priority in your life

  • The things you choose to believe

  • How you react to things (personally)

  • How hard you try (at anything you decide to do)

  • How much priority you give yourself and your life

  • Taking responsibility for your actions versus blaming outside circumstances

  • How open minded you are

When we have the thought or feeling that we don’t have control over things and people in our life, what we are really experiencing is a subconscious thought pattern or habit that is so deeply rooted in our ancient brain that our reactions, thoughts, feelings and actions are on auto-pilot and often our reactions are so fast that we’re not even aware or conscious of them. The result of this lack of awareness means we are reacting to life and struggle to accept that we did have a part to play in the outcome (whether it is a conflict with a co-worker, not doing well in a class, failing to show up, and the list goes on).

Deciding to be in the ‘driver seat’ of your life requires change - and this requires becoming self-aware and conscious of our choices. Many struggling with ‘failure to launch’ or that have ASD, find this change to be a greater challenge than most, as decisions have been made for them or they have deferred their decision making power to others for most of their life. The good news is, that all are capable of finding happiness, and have the ability to create the best life possible. The key is learning to let go of reactions, thoughts and feelings that are not serving you and to create the circumstances you are given, into a life that you want.

The staff at StarPointe work with clients on creating a set of habits that guide them to change – teaching skills needed to develop self-awareness and a consciousness on how thoughts and feelings create the results in life. Following is a snapshot of this mind-wellbeing exercise:

Step One: Thought awareness

Becoming aware of our negative self-talk. Our ancient brain is efficient at attaching our negative self-talk to actions that we find difficult to accomplish - effectively, giving us thoughts to justify not doing the hard work to change. An example would be: You’ve decided to stop spending so much time playing video games, and to start getting out and meeting with friends. The ancient brain wants to do what is pleasurable and avoid things that are hard or painful (physically or mentally), for many arranging a meet up with friends, takes effort and it many not be natural - it is painful to do. What’s going to win (arranging a meet up or the video game)? Without having the skills for self-awareness and being conscious of how our mind works - the ancient brain takes control and goal to get out more, is now set aside and we reinforce that we are not good at developing friends and so, I will play with my “on-line” friends - it requires less change and pain from me. Everyone can make the conscious effort to start taking and creating new actions with a self-awareness of what they will create in your life.

Step Two: You Are Always Deciding

Every thought, feeling, action, and result are all choices we make every minute of each day - whether we realize we’re making them or not, they are happening and they are usually just our ancient brain acting on embedded neuro-pathways created by our habits, rather than through our ‘human’ brain where we are utilizing our pre-frontal cortex in order to react out of rational, conscious thoughts and decisions. When we are in the habit of being more aware of our choices, we are able to consciously decide to choose with compassion. Choices that lead to a more satisfying life with greater possibilities.

Step Three: Deeper Development of Self-Awareness

Developing a greater awareness and consciousness of how your mind works, allows you to have more control over your thinking process and your feelings - which control your outcomes. Learning the skills involved in self-awareness builds resilience so that when things you can’t control come along, you have the ability to work through them and learn the lessons they bring. Being open to new experiences and lessons in your life is still in your control. There will always be unfortunate circumstances, bad drivers, surly managers, unfriendly co-workers -but, remaining open and being aware of your thinking process, allow you to move through it without creating negative thoughts, which can create barriers in your life.

Whether it’s what time you decide to get up in the morning, or how heavily you let the opinions of others affect you, everything you do in your life is a choice. With every decision, you can choose the path that brings you closer to your best life, or keeps you ‘stuck’ in your current one. No one can make the choice for you. You have to be the one wiling to be uncomfortable and do the hard work in order to develop these skills and ultimately take control and responsibility for your choices and decisions.

To learn more about how you can develop skills for self-awareness and how your mind works reach out to the staff at StarPointe Consulting for more information.