How To Take Ownership of Your Life
Now that you’ve reviewed what SMART Goals are and thought about what you can do consistently each day, it’s time to think about ownership.
What are you not taking ownership of in your life?
In other words, where are you making excuses?
For example, the best lie I used to tell myself was, “I’ll get up early in the morning to do it.”
This is why I used to end up driving to an appointment late with the tank on empty… I haven’t been a "morning person" for two years. Yet it wasn’t until recently that I realized I need to take ownership of this lie and own the fact that I work a sort of "second shift.” This is the schedule I created that feels natural to my body. I work remotely from home as a freelancer—yet some part of me was still clinging to a false “I’m a morning person” story!
Guess what happens when you take ownership of something? EVERYTHING gets easier!
For example, I stopped putting guilt and pressure on myself to wake up at some mythical time I thought was the "right time" to wake up.
Let’s go a little deeper.
Let’s find the point that really hurts. Say you didn’t lose weight this year even though you promised yourself this was going to be the year you did it. It’s up to nobody but you to lose weight. No one else can do it for you. If you didn’t lose the weight, you have to take ownership of that. Why didn’t it happen? What made you stay stagnant (or gain more weight?)
Don’t blame your partner’s amazing cooking. Don’t say you didn’t have enough time. Don’t say you couldn’t get to the gym or eat right. You had an entire year. You wanted to do this thing. Take ownership of the fact that you didn’t lose weight. It’s on you!
Taking ownership (aka taking responsibility) actually helps you.
It makes you look at what didn’t work so you can regroup and try something new. But the next step in owning it is to make sure not to beat yourself up over it. Make sure you’re not creating a self-defeating story around it that’s made up of limiting beliefs!
Let’s use me as an example because I’m an excellent crash test dummy.
I wanted to lose weight in 2021. I caught La Cerveza Virus on January 25th and fought for my life. I had to take a ton of steroids to get well and took off work for four months. It was very stressful. My friends kept sending food and I needed it! I’ve worked my way up to being able to do 20 minutes of very light cardio every other day—without having to recover too long. I lost the 15 pounds I gained from all the steroids, food, and lack of activity. But I still weigh 10 pounds more than I did last year at this time!
Now, if I weren’t taking ownership of this and making a story about it, I could whine about how this just wasn’t the year to lose weight. I could play victim, feel sorry for myself, and just give an excuse for my weak lungs. I could talk about how frustrating it is, take diet pills, or engage in other unhealthy behaviors IF I assigned some meaning to it.
But I didn’t want to do that!
I took ownership instead. I tried to get as much physical activity as my body could withstand. I did a lot more yoga than cardio since my attempts at treadmill walking and aerobics make my chest hurt from exertion. I chose to make the story, “So I have limitations, duly noted.” I chose to make my story, “I’ll learn to prepare keto meals and stick to that diet by not eating sugar and unhealthy, simple carbs because I care about my body.”
I could go on. But my point is this: when we take ownership, we create a world of possibilities! When we make excuses or sit on our “pity pot” we shut down to the many options available to us.
Anything you want to change can be changed in your life. There is always a way. There is always support. (Within reason; don't tell me you want to change into a unicorn).
Taking ownership gives us our power back and keeps us in the flow of creating solutions each day.
To make up a story about "what a weight loss failure I was" after surviving covid would have been such an act of hate toward myself and my body. Instead, I chose to admire the fact that this meat sack in which I live somehow managed to support life on low oxygen! How about that!?
Yes, there are times we have to take ownership of bad decisions.
The purpose here is to prioritize learning over shaming, guilt, negativity, and inertia.
Take ownership, don’t make a story about it, release it, and move on! I know, sometimes it’s easier said than done. I have a lot of feelings about my weight! (Who doesn't?) But I can remind myself to be grateful that I’m still here, I made the best of a bad situation, and I make really good keto food now!
Need a gratitude list? Here’s one you can download for free.
The magic happens when you learn to make a habit of channeling what seems "bad" into something "helpful."
Change the excuse-making into change-making. Learn to stop side-stepping and avoiding because that's just procrastination. Procrastinating cheats you. Face your problems head-on instead. Don’t make up stories about anything. Own your shit.
Accept everything for what it is, how it is, and how you are today.
What Comes Next After Taking Ownership of Every Area of Your Life?
You reviewed your SMART Goals, you've thought about what you can do consistently each day (aka a habit), and now you're ready to forge ahead by taking ownership of your actions. Yay! What's the next step in taking your SMART Goals up a notch?