Seven steps to take control of your life

Seven steps to take control of your life

Lost your way a little? Here’s how to get everything back on track.

Lost your way a little? Here’s how to get everything back on track.

There’s an element of truth in the old saying that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Much as we’d like to be in full control of our days, there are so many demands on our time alongside the need to fit in friends and family, that it can feel like we have no power over what’s going on.

The good news is that it’s not too difficult to regain some of that control. Try our tips and you’ll soon feel like you’re back in the driving seat.

1. Silence that ‘little voice’ in your head

You know the one, that little negative Nancy who lives in your brain and seems to take every opportunity to insist that you can’t do it or that you’re not good enough. She needs to go, but that’s easier said than done. It will take time, but teach yourself not to listen to her negativity.

When she pipes up, a good neutralising trick is to ask, “Would I say this to a friend?” We’re often much harsher on ourselves than we are on others, so if your inner critic is saying things you’d never say to a friend then you’ll know it needs to be ignored. Do that and you’ll feel much more in control.

2. Learn to say “no”

You’re looking forward to a quiet and relaxing weekend, but before you know it your diary is jam packed with babysitting the grandkids, picking up your sister from the airport, hosting a family lunch and going shopping with a friend who needs to find a frock for a wedding. You’re frazzled before it even begins.

If you find yourself agreeing to things you don’t really want to do, then feeling a lack of control is inevitable, particularly if people start taking advantage of your good nature.

So instead of giving in, or desperately coming up with excuses, simply say, “no, I’m afraid I can’t” and suggest another time to meet that’s easier for you. If you don’t give an excuse or explanation, you’ll soon teach yourself that you don’t actually need one.

3. Make a big deal of breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day, yet many of us are so busy that we end up skipping breakfast and that can make us grumpy and grouchy by mid-morning. Ensuring you eat it will help to keep your energy levels and mood on an even keel and give you a better sense of wellbeing.

Set yourself up for the day by eating breakfast within two hours of waking up. Porridge is a great choice as it will release energy slowly throughout the morning. Alternatively, eggs (poached or scrambled) on wholemeal toast will pack a powerful protein punch.

Sit down and eat it slowly, and use the opportunity to think positively about the day ahead. Starting off the day this way will encourage you to continue in the same vein.

4. Look after your health

Aches, pains and general niggles become more common as we get older, and we can feel out of sorts when our bodies aren’t behaving as they should. You might not want to disturb the GP, but don’t ignore things like that clicky knee or persistent cough. Take control, get it seen to and put your mind at rest.

5. Start fresh every Monday

It’s so easy to worry about past mistakes or dwell on decisions made that we’d like to change. But being wrapped up in the past makes it difficult to move forward with life. Don’t beat yourself up about how you would have done things differently; focus on the future instead.

If you struggle to let things go, then a useful trick to try is to start every new week like a new year. Wiping your slate clean and starting fresh every Monday will help you to forget old things you can’t change and be more positive about what is still to come in the future.

6. Look good to feel good

One thing you do have power over when it feels like the rest of your life is out of control is your appearance. It might sound trite, but when you’re looking your best you will feel happier and more confident – it’s hard to deny the power and poise you feel with a quick swipe of red lipstick. So when you’re feeling wobbly, put on your favourite outfit, do your hair and make-up and face the world with confidence.

7. Find your strength

Whether it’s strengthening your body with exercise or your mind with crossword puzzles and meditation, feeling strong in yourself will instantly make you feel more in control.

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What are your tips for regaining control of your life? Let us know in the comments below…

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