As we grow up, we begin to develop our ambitions, and we set new goals for ourselves. While we are kids and teenagers, we only compromise between what our parents want us to do and what we want to do. Sometimes these plans align with each other, and sometimes they don’t. The point is that, during our development, we pursue goals set for us by our authority figures, and once we achieve them, or when we finish high school, all that is left is the pursuit of our own individual goals, and all we have is our internal motivation.
Achieving personal goals feels great. However, failing to achieve them can deal a massive blow to our egos. After all, this failure is personal, and it often makes us question our own convictions. Of course, every life is filled with failures: some are not too severe, and some are valuable lessons, but failures make us feel weak, powerless, and demotivated.
When things don’t go as we planned, we start to experience this lack of control, and that is truly depressing. It affects how we behave; it prevents us from being happy, and we feel stressed out as a result of all the self-doubt we are experiencing. Luckily, these problems are not beyond solution, and you can conquer this weakness one step at a time.
1. Learn to accept yourself and give yourself some more credit.
You need to know that every trait you possess can be viewed from both a negative and a positive perspective. If you consider yourself to be determined, and if you do not give up easily, other people might perceive this trait as stubbornness. If you are ambitious, others might call you greedy, whereas if you are humble, they might say that you lack ambition.
Also, if you are cautious, some might perceive that trait as minor paranoia or cowardice. Basically, it all depends on the context and situation in which you displayed your personal traits. It also depends on your environment, i.e. whether it is willing to reward those traits or to suppress them.
It’s a truth as old as humanity itself: we have our own vision of ourselves, while others have a different perception, and the truth is somewhere in between. In other words, do not take criticism too seriously, and do not be self-absorbed all the time; just learn to accept yourself, and only work on the flaws that you truly wish to eliminate.
Abandon the notion that you can become someone that everybody will admire, and focus on being someone you would admire. If you try to impress everyone, you’ll end up forsaking yourself and, as mentioned, these personal failures are far more disappointing.
2. Learn how to handle your finances.
Another reason why we might feel stressed out and powerless is when we have trouble handling our finances. When you start to live your own life, there are unexpected expenses that pop up each month, and since these expenses can easily lead to debt, you need to think ahead and save money for those occasions. Whether we want to admit it or not, money is also a form of power, and without it, we feel less secure and less confident.
If you are stressed out because of your finances, there are two solutions. You can see what you can do to earn more money; you can ask for a higher paycheck at work, and see what the requirements are; or, you can simply learn how to redistribute your spending budget. Sit down and calculate how much money you need to pay the bills, and then see how much money you have left and create your daily budget based on that number.
See how much you can spare on a daily basis, and come up with a tactic to do so. For example, there are tons of incentive programs that can help you save money, and you can get coupons or vouchers to trim down the price.
You can also get better prices if you shop online, or simply look for used items that don’t need to be brand new in order to properly function. Additionally, you can also sell your items online, or organize yard sales to get rid of what you are no longer using and to earn some extra money along the way.
Once you accumulate enough extra money this way, put it in a savings account so that it can grow. Again, do not put all of your money into a savings account because you’ll need some extra cash for unexpected house repairs if something starts to malfunction.
3. Know where you stand.
We are still on the subject of money here, and it goes without saying that your worth is not based on how much you earn. Also it’s wrong to assume that everyone will measure you based on how much you earn, but still, money is a form of reward system and something that serves as tangible proof of how much your skill and knowledge is valued. So, when you feel the lack of control, it’s good to focus on something that can be measured and that you can track in order to restore confidence.
This is not a very common practice, but I feel it can be very useful. You can now calculate your net worth, and know exactly where you stand on an average scale. Of course, this does not mean that you are more or less successful than someone else, since we know that people can be born into privilege and thereby already have an advantage on this scale.
However, when you know where you stand, you can have a starting point for yourself, and work on improving; it’s like advancing in a video game and gaining higher levels. Basically, you start to work on improving and increasing your net worth, and having a clear overview of your success rate can reward you with a sense of achievement.
If you feel bad for focusing so much on earning money, you can always donate and help those less fortunate. I am just saying that it is a good way to have tangible proof of the progress in a positive direction. So, you do not do this in order to compete with others, nor to prove to others how much you are worth; you simply do it to convince yourself that you have control over your progress.
It also doesn’t have to be connected to your net worth; if you love agriculture, you can look to improve the size of your fields or the quality of your plants. It just needs to be something that is valued globally.
4. Add more organization to your life.
When you feel a lack of control over your life, then you can combat it with a grain of OCD. Start to organize everything you can. It was already mentioned how you can organize your finances and how to earn money by selling things you don’t use. However, you can take this a step further and reorganize your home and daily schedule.
The main reasons why this is useful is because you’ll feel a lot better when you are in a well-organized environment, and unexpected problems and obligations are less likely to sneak up on you when you monitor things more adequately.
You can clear the bins and label your cabinets and jars; you can have a mail-organizing cabinet and a tool that can also organize your emails; you can use a work planner to write down everything important, or download an app that can do the same.
Basically, you keep track of your items and obligations more diligently, as that can provide you with the necessary serenity that can keep the stress at bay, and give you more control over your responsibilities. Besides, it feels really good when you are keeping track of your tasks, just crossing them off your list.
Of course, if trying to be too organized is just another source of stress, then simply tone it down. Don’t write down everything or don’t label everything; basically add the amount of control you feel comfortable with, and see how it works. If you find something unnecessary, then there’s no need to give it much attention.
One thing is certain though: you will feel so much better if your entire living space is neatly organized and if everything feels in its place. Plus, you’ll be motivated to maintain that order, since you worked hard on building it.
Exercise is useful for numerous reasons. First, it’s a good way to cope with stress. Second, your body will produce more energy as you advance, and the things that used to be stressful and tiring won’t seem so difficult. Third, it’s good for your health and mood. Fourth, it will help you build up your confidence, since you’ll look better and, again, progress and achievements are good positive boosts for our psyche.
The only problem with this is that you might not have enough time to seriously devote yourself to exercise. However, you are not trying to become a professional weight lifter, athlete or fighter; all you need is a moderate dose of physical workout in order to look good, feel good, and be satisfied with yourself.
There are quality workout regimes online that you can try out, and you can find a nutritionist to prescribe a good diet to boost the efficiency of your training. The best thing about this is that there are programs that do not require weights; you can exercise at home and still get satisfying results.
If you are unwilling to start exercising because it will leave you with a lot of pain for the next couple of days, then you can gradually add more physical activities into your schedule before you start working out. You can start with walking to work or riding a bike, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking more water, etc. You can also start with a 20-minute yoga session in the morning and before sleep, which should prepare you for your workout in the future.
6. Follow a healthier diet.
In addition to exercise, you’ll need to have a healthier diet. As mentioned, you can find a nutritionist to give you a diet, and you can start preparing your own food more frequently. It’s a sort of a self-improvement technique, where you start to learn to cook different meals. Additionally, when you prepare your own food, you will save more money, which is also a good thing. So, it’s not directly connected to gaining better control of your life like the previous tips, but it goes well with your lifestyle in general.
7. Work on self-improvement.
Self-improvement can imply a lot of things. It can mean a change in your governing philosophy, or acquiring new skills, or simply changing your lifestyle for the better. So far, everything mentioned here was a form of self-improvement, and all that remains is that you work on your competence. You can try and do better at work, or you can start to learn other skills that can help you with house maintenance.
You don’t need to spend money on this, since you can find online tutorials and start learning this way. As you improve, you will start to fix things on your own; you will start to feel that you have greater control of your life, and you will be proud of yourself. You can train yourself to become a good craftsman, which is fulfilling, and it can help you earn some extra cash on the side.
8. Learn to rely less on other people.
Lastly, the less you rely on others to solve your problems, the more powerful you will feel. It’s all right to ask for help, and you don’t have to do everything on your own, but if you aren’t able to solve problems without relying on others, then you will be frustrated.
This is why self-improvement is important, because when you are self-sufficient, you feel more liberated and less pressured. Furthermore, with more skills at your disposal, you can even help others, and people will start to appreciate you more. Besides, when you are helpful, you will feel better.
So, know that you are capable of many things, know that you do not need to rely on others, but also, do not refuse or shy away from asking for help. The whole point of this is to make your life easier and to gain more control over it — not to embrace unnecessary struggles.