Take Responsibility, and Change Your Life

take responsibility

Have you ever wished that some aspect of your life would just change, overnight?

We often want change – but it can be hard to accept that it’s even possible. Do any of these look familiar?

  • All my family are overweight, so it’s no surprise I’m fat…
  • I’ve never been any good with money…
  • I just don’t have any willpower…
  • I hate exercise…

All too often, we rule out possibilities. We adopt a fixed rather than a growth mindset, convincing ourselves that hey, this is just the way we are, and we can’t change.

But I don’t believe that’s true. I believe that whatever your circumstances, whatever your bad habits and struggles, you can work towards the life that you really want.

First, you need to…

Get Out of the Victim Mindset

I came across the idea of the victim mindset in a writing course by author Holly Lisle (How to Think Sideways). She was using this concept primarily to encourage writers to stand up and take responsibility – but, of course, it applies to any area of your life.

When you think of yourself as a victim, you’re giving up the power that you have over your own destiny. You end up:

  • Blaming other people for your problems (the government, your parents, your boss…)
  • Creating limits where there really aren’t any (“I could never run five kilometers”)
  • Feeling helpless and despondent about your chances of change

I’ve been lucky in my life – I’ve had a supportive family, good health, and a great education. I have a huge amount of sympathy for those who’ve not been so lucky, and I know that many people genuinely are victims of injustice, ill-health, or other problems outside their control.

But … whatever you’ve been through, don’t let those experiences sap your power. Unless you’re currently in a life-threatening situation, you do have the ability to change things for yourself.

So now, I’m hoping you can…

Recognize the Possibility of Change

Instead of hoping to win the lottery, or wishing you had a magic genie, look for the ways in which you could change your own life.

Get a piece of paper and jot down some ideas. They can be as tiny or as huge as you want – you’re not committing to anything, you’re just trying to open yourself up to possibilities.

Challenge yourself a little bit here. Any time you think “no, I can’t do that,” ask yourself whether this is really true. Some items on your list will sound incredibly difficult, but most will be possible.

Here are a few popular examples:

Take Back Responsibility for Your Life

Now, it’s time to take back responsibility.

Pick something on your list of ideas – something that really would change your life for the better. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself “I can’t” for years … it’s time to change that to “I can”.

Let’s say your finances are in disarray. You’re in debt, you struggle to control your spending, and you don’t know where to begin. Look for things you can change, things that are within your control:

  • You can’t change the amount of tax you pay, but you can move to a smaller apartment and pay less rent.
  • You can’t rely on getting a promotion at work, but you can find a Saturday job.
  • You can’t stop paying the electric bill, but you can cancel your cable TV.

Now, you might not want to do some of these things – but you can do them. Often, the first step is simply to get educated: to find out more about whatever you’re struggling with. For personal finance advice I recommend The Simple Dollar.)

It’s your life: you can choose to change. It might not be easy – but it will be worth it.

Are you feeling stuck in any areas of your life? What do you wish you could change – and how could you start going about that? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo by Uqbar is back

17 thoughts on “Take Responsibility, and Change Your Life”

  1. Hey Ali,
    It seems like the “victim” mentality is encouraged in our society. I have learned though that this does zap away our power keeping us in a state of weakness.

    Some things in life are out of our hands but we must focus on what we can control, change and influence.

    1. It’s a shame, but I think you’re right, Justin: it’s often encouraged. In the course I’m taking by Holly Lisle, she suggests that there are quite a lot of groups (e.g. advertisers) who can benefit from making us see ourselves as “victims” (e.g. we need to buy something to fix our problems).

  2. Hi Ali,

    You touched on so many important things here! I remind myself as well of the power of a growth mindset. It is the key to breaking through limitations and opening up possibilities.

    I also love what you wrote about excuses. I try not to (although I still do) but excuses lead to limitations. Where as if you take accountability bypasses them. No excuses means no limitations! This was a great read Ali.


  3. Hi Ali

    THis is a great post for many reasons, but I will choose my favorite: we are responsible for ourselves.

    The excuses all have the same theme, we try to find someone or something to take the responsibility of our feelings or emotions. Great call to action for taking responsibility.
    Thanks Ali for the reminder, have a great weekend.

  4. Great Post Ali
    certainly living with the victim mindset can ruin ones life and getting over it can make all the difference in the world
    keep it up :)

  5. Ali, you nailed it on the head in your first couple sentences. While we all come up with excuses for our inaction, that line — that excuse for inaction, for sinking in the quicksand of apathy — that claims, “That’s just who I am,” is the most defeatest attitude one can have. It is not only self-defeating, it is an outright ugly statement. It bespeaks a lazy self-indulgence that is so frustrating. If just that one excuse could be yanked like a foul tooth from the mouth and heart, there would be so much more freedom for people to grow and begin to truly experience life the way it was meant to be lived … with joy and passion and happiness. “That’s just the way I am,” limits and shackles and burries one in a life of moral mud.

  6. I love Stephen Coveys phrase “Respons-able” we have the ability to chose how we will react, either you can be a victim or a champion. It is up to you and you can make the change if you want.

  7. The power of change is amazing. We all have the power to change our lives, for the better if we so choose. No one can prevent you from achieving your goals, or from making permanent changes that improve the quality of your life. Only you can impose limits on your ability to fulfill your own expectations for life. Only you can remove those same limitations! Challenge yourself to do things differently, even subtle changes can add up and transform who you are and what you experience every day. I believe that we all have the power within us to make substantive changes and to take action rather than be a victim of circumstances. After all, there really are just two types of people in this world, those that make things happen,,, and those that say “what happened?”… which one are you?

  8. I guess it’s just so much easier to find reasons for why we can’t to something. That’s why this attitude spreads through society like a virus.

    I find it helpful to listen to other people doing this sometimes because it is usually easier to spot self-imposed limits when it comes to other people than when it comes to ourselves.

    Then, when I see what kind of excuses someone else is making, I often discover that I make similar excuses myself when it comes to other topics.

  9. I wish people would take responsibility for their lives. It’s not easy to look in the mirror and say, “Yeah, I did this. I created my life the way it is thus far.” I think some people would rather stay stuck in the victim or martyr pattern because they get something out of it. We all have the power to change. I like what Debbie Ford says, “What we resist persists.” Those words work me up.

  10. Dear Ali,
    Thank you for your post!
    I find it extremely useful for me!
    I’ve recently started a lifestyle blog. And this post keeps me motivated to follow my calling.
    Best wishes to you!

  11. Hi Ali,

    Your post is good one. You are correct, after all we are the ones living our own life and hence we have the choice to make right decision.
    All the Best!!!!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *