self improvement

4 Steps to Reclaim Your Life

It is ridiculously easy to forfeit control of your life. Whether you give your power away to friends, family, a job, depression, or any other life circumstance, it’s a very common human situation. Once you realize you’ve done it, how do you get that power back?

1. Forgive yourself.

This is an incredibly common situation to find yourself in. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, so cut yourself some slack. Contrary to popular belief, insults and chastisement do not work well as motivation. Instead, they make you less likely to change. If you want to adjust your behavior, the best way to do it is through praise, positive reinforcement, and seeking out evidence of your own awesomeness. Give it a try.

2. Do something.

It almost doesn’t matter what you decide to do — the important thing is to decide to do something, and then to follow through on it. When you’ve given away your power, you stop taking control over your circumstances and start drifting. Once you take a stand and take an action, no matter how small, you send yourself the message that you are capable of doing things. That is a critical lesson to start teaching yourself.

3. Question your thoughts.

Right now, you have a battilion of voices in your head, all telling you how you’ve screwed up in the past, you’re bound to screw up in the future, and you probably don’t deserve to have control over your life, anyway. These voices are not going away anytime soon, so it’s best to learn how to live with them. Listen to what they have to say with curiosity and compassion — they are actually trying to protect you from getting hurt; they’re just going about it in a truly terrible fashion. But just because they aren’t malicious doesn’t mean you have to believe them. Ask yourself if what those voices are saying is the entire truth, or if they’re spinning it to look worse than it is (hint: they totally are).

4. Take time off.

Part of the point of reclaiming your life is to get to enjoy yourself more. Trading one harsh master for another (namely, you) is pointless. If you’re feeling compelled to overbook yourself, skimp on sleep, and generally ignore the things that you genuinely enjoy, ask yourself who you’re trying to impress. Tell me where I’m wrong, but it’s probably a parent, teacher, boss, or some other authority figure who may or may not have known what is best for you. Set aside some time every day for things you enjoy. Even if you can’t eke out a ton of time, if you can find the time to read self-help blogs, you can find 15 minutes to read a book, dance, listen to music, bake, go for a walk, or do whatever else truly lights you up.

People talk about taking responsibility for your life as if were a punishment or a bad thing, but it really isn’t. It just means recognizing that you are ultimately the only person who can give you the life experience you want. Other people and outside influences are factors, but you always have the ability to decide how you will handle what life throws at you.

Once you’ve followed these steps, you will be well on your way to reclaiming that ultimate control over your own destiny. I’d love to hear how it feels for you!

Joanna helps women with a history of depression reconnect to what truly nourishes them (whatever that may be!). She shows them how to see through the lies of depression, into their own worth and brilliance. Find out more at and claim your free Antidepression Session!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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