When you take responsibility for your life, you experience joy and control of circumstances. You are able to make choices because you understand that you are responsible for your choices.
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
“If you own this story you get to write the ending.”
― Brené Brown
I am responsible for myself, my words, actions etc. whether I like it or not. What I do with my life and what I have done already is up to me.
You are totally responsible for your life. This is the foundational principle you must embrace if you plan for happiness and success in life and work.
For many people, everything is someone else’s fault. Every problem can be explained away with reasons why they can’t affect the situation or the outcome, especially at work.
This was me. Everybody else but me was the problem. I always had an excuse, a reason, a complaint about everything and I rarely or sometimes never accepted the blame or responsibility for anything that happened in my life.
I have discovered that we can’t grow this way. Because if you don’t take responsibility for your life, you’re all the more likely to look at your life as a failure because you allowed any passing wind to blow you around, all the while blaming the wind for how things turned out.
Taking responsibility simply means the realization that you are the creator of your life through your thoughts, your actions, inactions and your decisions.
Failing to take responsibility for your life and actions may work to our advantage on occasion or in the short term. For example, we might get away with keeping our mouth shut about something that we’ve done, or even blaming someone else for our misdeeds. We might not face consequences for our wrong actions…at the time.
However – make no mistake about this – eventually, this poor choice will definitely catch up with us and, it’ll typically cause more pain for us down the road than if we’d stepped up to the situation, took responsibility for it and honestly said, “We did it”.
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”
Why Take Responsibility For Your Life?
The big deal about taking responsibility for your life and actions is that it moves you from victim to victor of your life.
It puts you at cause and not at effect, meaning that you accept that you create your life and not just reacting to it. You appreciate that things happen for you and not to you.
Taking responsibility puts you at choice and that allows you to choose how to respond to life’s challenges. You move into the driver seat of your life’s journey.
Most of all, taking 100% responsibility changes your energy and the practices described here put you in higher vibrating mind-body states.
When you take responsibility for your life, what happens is that you are taking control of your life too.
One of the best books that explained this principle is none other than Jack Canfield’s best-selling book, The Success Principles. (I strongly recommend you read the book)
In fact, Jack Canfield dedicated an entire chapter just to talk about “taking responsibility for your life”.
He said it in the book that none of the success principles he shared will work unless you follow the first rule, which is to take 100% responsibility for your life.
It pays to take responsibility for your life. Do you agree?
11 Ways To Take Responsibility For Your Life:
1. Realize that You Are the One Creating Your Outcome
The first thing you need to do when it comes to taking responsibility is to realize that you are the one who creates the results in your life.
It is the Law of Cause and Effect at work.
Imagine you receive a gift of $300. What do you do with the money?
You can spend the money on something you like. Or you can choose to invest the money in your portfolio to increase your net worth.
Whatever you do is totally up to you, but realize that you are in control of the outcome.
When you spend the money, you don’t have it anymore. You end up broke. That’s the result you get.
On the other hand, if you choose to invest the money, you will have an increased net worth.
The event is the same, but what you do or how you respond to it makes all the difference.
There is a cause for everything in life. And you get to decide how you want the results to be.
You may be born in a poor family, but that doesn’t mean that you should choose to be living in poverty for the rest of your life.
You can take responsibility for your life and make a change. This is your life and you get to live how you want to. You are always in charge, my friend.
2. Accept That What is Done is Done
People make mistakes. Sometimes very serious ones. Most times mistakes are not always deliberate or personal. Sometimes people just don’t know what they are doing. If people hurt or abused you in the past, behaved badly towards you, it wasn’t necessarily because they meant to be horrid, but because they were as naive, foolish, and as human as the rest of us.
They made mistakes in the way they raised you or ended a relationship or whatever, not because they wanted to, but because they didn’t know any better.
However, your response to whatever was done to you is totally your responsibility. Accept that the mistake was made. Let go of anger, resentment etc. Embrace the experience as character-forming. And keep moving forward.
Accept yourself for who you are– the result of everything that has happened.
We are all humans. This means that we are complex. We come fully loaded with desires, anguish, sins, pettiness, mistakes, ill temper, deviation, hesitation, repetition, and all the things that make us human. None of us can ever be perfect.
We can make improvements daily to build the kind of life we dream of. But whether we focus on our mistakes and humanness and use it as an excuse for being ineffective, unkind etc or not is completely our responsibility.
Stop picking faults with yourself, or giving yourself a hard time, stop beating yourself up over everything, stop pushing blames. Take responsibility for who you are and who you are becoming.
3. Stop Making Excuses
Excuses for failure, excuses about your choices and decisions, excuses about everything or anything at all fuel dysfunctional thinking and consequently undesirable actions and behaviours.
Making excuses instead of taking 100% responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and your goals are the hallmark of people who fail to succeed both in their professional lives and personal lives.
When you spend your thinking time on success and goal accomplishment, instead of on making excuses, you free up the emotional space formerly inhabited by negativity.
When you make excuses, you don’t give yourself an opportunity to learn from your mistakes.
After all, no failure or mishap is your fault. It’s always something else.
When there’s no personal accountability, there’s no way to grow. You’ll be stuck in the same place complaining and dwelling on negativity without ever moving forward.
When you take responsibility for your life and stop making excuses, you silence the negativity.
4. Stop The Blame Game
If the blame track or the excuse track plays repeatedly in your mind, you are shifting responsibility for your decisions and life to others.
We can’t keep pushing blames. Blaming others for everything good or bad that has happened. Life happens.
Really terrible things do happen, people get hurt, abused, disappointed, defrauded, etc.
But we still have the power over how we respond to those circumstances.
How we respond to the things happening in and around us is entirely our responsibility and choice.
Life is unfair. Some people have it worse than others. And in some cases, you are the victim.
But even if that’s true, what does blaming get you?
The victim card? An illusory advantage of preaching victimhood? Justification for life’s unsatisfactory conditions?
In reality, blaming only results in bitterness, resentment, and powerlessness.
The people who you target with blame probably don’t care about how you feel, or they have no idea anyway.
The bottom line is this:
Those feelings and thoughts may be justified, but it won’t help you become successful or happy.
Letting go of blame doesn’t justify other people’s unfair actions. It doesn’t ignore life’s hardships.
But the truth is this:
Your life is not about them. It’s about you.
Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for your life.
5. Apply the Formula: E + R = O
I learned this formula from Jack Canfield. He said that Event (E) + Response (R) = Outcome (O).
It doesn’t matter what happens, the key is in how you react. Your response is what makes all the difference.
Basically, there are only 2 choices you make in life:
- You choose to blame the event for your lack of result. You can blame the economy, the weather, your lack of education, your parents, your government, your colleagues, your company, etc. But if you do that, you will lose all the control you have.
- Change your response to the event. This is what successful people choose to do. Successful people say, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can change my sail to reach my destination.”
If you don’t like what you get in your life right now, just change your responses. You can make a difference by changing yourself.
You will never become successful as long as you continue to choose to blame, make excuses, and complain.
Until you change your responses and your actions, everything is going to stay the same.
Remember this: it is you who took the actions, thought the thoughts, created the feelings, and made the choices that got you to where you now are. It was you!
In short, you thought the thoughts, you created the feelings, you made the choice, you said the words, and that is why you are where you are now.
When you understand the formula of E + R = O, you know that the control is in you.
You can change the outcomes, the results, and ultimately, your life by changing the way you think and act.
6. Stop complaining
Complaining is another form of blaming and playing victim as if you have no choice. It also shows that you focus on lack, things going wrong, things happening to you. In everything not going according to plan, there is a gift, there is a bigger picture.
Ask yourself, “What is the gift here? What can I learn from this?”
7. What does your day look like?
A crucial way to take responsibility for your life is with your daily habits.
Are you improving your life? Are you growing?
Are you taking care of your body, your mind, and your needs?
Here are all the ways that you could be taking responsibility for your mind and body:
- Sleeping properly
- Eating healthy
- Giving yourself time and space to understand your spirituality
- Exercising regularly
- Thanking yourself and those around you
- Playing when you need it
- Avoiding vices and toxic influences
- Reflecting and meditating
Taking responsibility and loving yourself is more than just a state of mind – it’s about actions and habits that you do every single day.
You have to take responsibility for life, from the beginning of your day to the end.
8. Hang out with people who don’t bring you down
A huge part of who you become is who you spend most of your time with.
Here’s a great quote from Tim Ferriss:
“But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”
It’s your responsibility to choose people that will add to your life. People that encourage you to grow.
If you continually hang around toxic people who are always complaining and blaming, you’ll eventually do the same.
Choose to spend time with people who are mature, responsible and want to live a productive life.
Not only is hanging out with the right people crucial for your mindset, but it may also be a massive predictor for your happiness as well.
According to a 75-year Harvard study, our closest relationships could be the number one influence on our overall happiness in life.
9. Understand that You Always Have a Choice
Yes, you always have a choice. You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.
People often think that they don’t have a choice and that they are destined to be poor or to work in the company. But the fact is far from the truth.
You can be born in a poor family but that doesn’t mean that you should continue to live in poverty. You can take charge of your life and make something out of your life.
When life gives you lemons, you can choose to make lemonade.
You are not stuck. You just fail to see the better options and solutions that are currently available to you.
So choose to make a change, for the better. Plus, things may not always stay the same. Things will change. Life will change.
And guess what, you too, can make a change if you want to. But first, you must realize that you have the ability to choose.
You are given with choices. And how you make the choices are how your life will be.
10. Stop chasing happiness with outside attachments
This is something that isn’t easy to realize.
After all, many of us may think that happiness means obtaining a shiny new iPhone or getting a higher promotion at work for more money. It’s what society tells us every day! Advertising is everywhere.
But we need to realize that happiness only exists inside ourselves.
Outside attachments give us temporary happiness – but when the feeling of excitement and happiness is over, we go back to the cycle of wanting that high again.
An extreme example highlighting the problems with this is a drug addict. They’re happy when they’re taking drugs, but miserable and angry when they’re not. It’s a cycle that no one wants to be lost in.
True happiness can only come from within.
It’s time to take power back and realize that we create happiness and inner peace inside ourselves.
11. Do what you’ll say you’ll do
There couldn’t be a better phrase for taking responsibility for your life than to do what you’ll say you’ll do.
Part of getting your act together and taking responsibility for your life means being trustworthy, living your life with integrity and earning credibility with yourself.
I mean, how do you feel when someone says they’ll do something and they fail to do it? In my eyes, they lose instant credibility.
Don’t do the same and lose credibility with yourself.
The bottom line is this: You can’t take responsibility for your life if you won’t even do what you’ll say you’ll do.
So, the question is: How can you make sure to follow up with actions on what you say:
Follow these principles:
- Never agree to or promise anything unless you are 100% sure you can do it. Treat “yes” as a contract.
- Have a schedule: Every time you say “yes” to someone, or even yourself, put it in a calendar.
- Don’t make excuses: Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. If you’re forced to break a commitment, don’t make excuses. Own it, and try to make things right in the future.
- Be honest: The truth isn’t always easy to say, but if you’re not rude about it, it will help everyone out in the long run. Be impeccable with your word means you’re honest with yourself and with others. You’ll become that guy or girl that people can rely on, and most importantly you will become the person you can rely on.
- Be consistent in your character and approach, and disciplined enough to keep your promise to yourself.
Taking responsibility for your life is crucial if you want to get your act together.
The good news is, we’re all capable of taking responsibility and living the best life we possibly can.
The trick is to stop blaming other people and to focus on what we can control: our actions.
No one really achieves anything great by constantly blaming others or complaining about everything that there is.
You must learn to accept the responsibility for your actions, be accountable for your results, and take ownership of your mistakes and failures.
The moment you take responsibility for your life and everything in it is the moment you can change anything in your life. It will also be the moment that you discover you are unstoppable.
Take Responsibility for your life. To begin, Grab a copy of my free eBook: The Complete Beginners Guide To Personal Development and Sign Up For My Free Email Course