Decisions – How to Take Charge of Your Life
Our life is made up of decisions. Each day we make 100’s of decisions – trivial and crucial. What do I wear? What do I eat? Do I go that meeting? Do I quit my job? Do I stop for gas before work or after? Do I plant daises or roses? Do I buy a new car? Do I move to a new house? Do I take the umbrella today?
And the list goes on and on and on.
Especially for women – who feel responsible for a husbands, children, friendships, and, increasingly, parents – the feeling of how many decisions go into everyday living can feel completely overwhelming.
It is important to recognize that in everything we do in life we are exercising a choice, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. While we can’t control exactly what is thrust upon us, we have a choice about both the framework and our response to these events.
We do, in fact, have control over how we respond to things in our lives; and it manifests itself in the choices we make and accepting the consequences of our choice.
So, how do we begin to take charge of our lives when there are so many decisions constantly pulling on us for a choice?
Language becomes an important component of taking charge of our choices, and, therefore, metering out our responses to events. We can either surrender to our circumstances – complaining “this is what happened to me,” or accept responsibility for our choices in response.
When we accept responsibility for our choices, it helps us feel more empowered. We feel like we are taking charge and not as severely affected by negative outcomes.
How to Talk to Yourself
Let’s look at some self-talk that will help us be more in control of our outcomes:
Language of Surrender Language of Responsibility
I can’t lose weight I am choosing to eat this cookie right now because it looks good and I want it
I can’t quit my job I am choosing to stay in my job because the money supports my dreams for the future
It is not my fault I am late I chose to sleep an extra 30 minutes rather than get here on time
I couldn’t finish that project I chose that going to visit my mother took priority over the project
You Choose Your Life’s Consequences
Every choice we make comes with a consequence. And yes, with the choices we make we are also choosing those consequences. Even when we decide not to make a choice about something, that itself, is a choice – the choice of inaction.
What happens in your life when you choose not to do something about your weight gain? What happens when you continue to accept a toxic friendship in your life? What is the outcome when you don’t speak up for how you really feel?
You are probably beginning to see that, like it or not, taking control of your life starts with taking control of yourself, and recognizing that the decisions you make 100 times a day come with the consequences you “choose.”
How can you make this work for you? Try to recognize over the next several days the choices that you make. Take an objective view to see where your self-talk was that of surrender vs. that of responsibility. If it was language of surrender change it to language of responsibility.
And now, excuse me while I chose to go eat a cookie while taking responsibility for my choice and being well aware of the consequences.
Read more on Saying No and Not Feeling Guilty to get more tips.
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Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourses.
I love this subject because we are all works in progress. Self-talk is so important and necessary in everyone’s lives. Wonderful post.
Thank you – and yes – we are all a work in progress – that is the wonderful thing about life – we can keep going and make efforts to improve
Amen! I believe in the power of language to transform reality. This is something I always need to keep in mind. Thanks for bringing it to my attention in a helpful way. I like the two-column list. That clarifies things!
The power of lanaguage has the power to transform so much – which is why it is so critical how we talk to ourselves and ohers. I am gald you found it helpful
Love this blog! You are so right that we have more control than we often think. Your How to Talk To Yourself tips are so helpful!
I appreciate the feedback – thank you
I agree with you, that choice in how we frame and manage each situation is key. The tricky part, at least for me, is redirecting when I don’t make a good choice. That one is “I choose not to judge myself, but just move on. “
Being kind with ourselves and just moving on when we don’t feel we made the best choice is an important part of self care
I’m always talking to myself! But seriously, you’ve made some great points here. It is all about choice.
Yes – when we recognize we have choice we can feel empowered
This post came at a perfect time for me. I need to reframe the way I’m looking at certain situations and realize that every action I take is a choice one way or the other. Thanks for the reminder.
I am so happy to hear that it was helpful to you
Love this! You are SO right about language! I often times ask my husband to consider his ‘language’ when framing an argument (not with me- in business). Debates where never won with people expressing only their emotions and not clear thought. It a game changer when you want to influence other’s choices.
Yes – I have always been struck with the power of language and how that provides a frame for everything.
I agree that we all make choices….but some things just happen. Seriously.
I totally agree – sometimes things just happen. I would like to believe that we do have a choice about how we react when things happen
Love this piece, the use of language, and particularly enjoyed: “And now, excuse me while I chose to go eat a cookie while taking responsibility for my choice and being well aware of the consequences.” 🙂
I remember when I first came across concept of self-talk many years ago, I saw it as one of the most powerful tools to use with clients, myself, day to day life. Great article, especially showing how to trasfer a negative into an empowering thought.
I really appreciate this reminder of choice and responsibility. We have become nation of non-responsibility (or blaming someone else for one’s actions) and I find it refreshing to read that it’s about time we turn this back to accepting responsibility for one’s one actions. (I could go into this in depth but it’s too early in the morning…suffice to say our legal system doesn’t help). The point is, each of us makes decisions that affect not only oneself but sometimes the ones around us (i.e., driving drunk might be a one-person decision but it affects other people if you hit someone and kill them) and it’s about time we accept the consequences for our actions. Now, like you, I’ll consciously go and eat that cookie!
We always have excuses for procrastinating or making the wrong choices. Some excuses are better than others…
It is great to hear this information since I sometimes have a hard time making decisions. I have learned that everything in life is a choice and know that it has made a big difference in my life when I realized that. Thanks for this blog post and looking forward for more!
I agree that self talk is very important. Most often we are harder on ourselves than we are on others and we forget that we need to have self love, understanding and acceptance. When we change our thought patterns to more loving one’s we become empowered.
Great post, we do choose how we react to what is happening around us. It is often easy to get carried up in the drama versus stepping back and deciding how we want to react and what it means to make different choices.
Certainly important to watch what comes out of our mouths. Words are seeds that grow in our garden of influence so we need to beware what kind of seeds we are sowing. Seeds, themselves – do not distinguish themselves from good or bad, they just know that they should grow….
I made a graphic post quoting this sentence from you blog “When we accept responsibility for our choices, it helps us feel more empowered.” Of course, I gave you credit for it. You can see it on my FB wall. Very good article on taking responsibility for your choices. Thank you.
Pat – Thank you so much for sharing my words and making that wonderful graphic.
Thanks Ines for this great post! When I read your post it really came to me just how many decisions we actually make in a days time. There are many days I make good decisions but unfortunately there are times I make bad ones that I know I will pay for in time to come. Like that candy bar that I ate but I didn’t need or something that I need to get done before the end of the day and thought I will do it tomorrow. There are always consequences for everything we do or don’t do. Thanks for sharing!
What a great post. (I really like the graphic too!) Taking responsibility for your life can be so hard at first because it is much easier to live by the language of surrender. I am reminded of a formula I saw from Jack Canfield – E(vent) + R(esponse) = O(utcome). It is all a choice. And as soon as we take on the language of responsibility the sooner we take our power back and become a creator of life rather than a responder. And now I, too, am craving a cookie! 🙂 Thanks for this post!
I like that formula E+R=O it speaks to us being in charge of our outcomes!
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