The word control might have some negative connotations, but many of us appreciate having at least some level of control over our lives. The world is a stressful and unpredictable place, and having a small amount of control over the things around us can make us feel more safe, secure, and peaceful. Exerting control over your life doesn’t have to mean that you maintain full jurisdiction over everything that happens to you, or around you. In fact, it’s impossible to live life without giving up control from time to time. But there are ways you can position yourself to feel more confident and stable as you move through the journey ahead of you. Here are some tips to help you move in the right direction.


Know Your Values and Priorities

The first step in cultivating control over your life is understanding what you actually want to achieve in your time on this earth. We’re constantly exposed to all kinds of messages about what we should want or pursue. The world tells us it’s normal to look for jobs that pay a high salary, create a family with someone we love, or buy a home of our own. However, the reality is that what really makes you happy might be very different to what society perceives to be the norm. Part of taking control means deciding for yourself what success means to you, and how you should evaluate your accomplishment. Take a moment to think about where you would ideally be five years from now. Paint a vision of your future, and what contributes to your happiness. This will give you direction when you’re deciding where you should be looking for opportunities to exert control.

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Recognize Your Limitations

Being able to control every aspect of your life might be a reassuring idea, but it’s not realistic. We’re constantly exposed to situations we can’t fully control. You might be overwhelmed by sudden debt because of a change in the marketplace that means you lose your job and have unexpected bills to pay. You might struggle to achieve your goals of building a family because your values and goals don’t align with anyone you’ve met up until now. These issues aren’t a reflection on you or your value as a person. Recognizing that means understanding that there things in this world you can’t dominate. Being forgiving of yourself, and understanding that all human beings have limitations, means you’ll be less likely to waste time and energy beating yourself up for things that are beyond your dominion.


Find Simple Ways to Exert Beneficial Control

Once you’ve identified the things you can’t control, such as the weather, the behavior and feelings of others, and the economic climate, you can start to see the things more clearly in your life that you can manipulate. Based on your goals and priorities, think about what kind of actions you can take to improve your life, by exerting control. For instance, one of your goals is to lose weight so you’re more physically healthy, and have better self-esteem, you can start looking into diet and exercise plans. If you want to feel more accomplished at work, you can start looking into training and development opportunities, or taking on additional professional responsibilities. Focus on one goal at a time. This can help to place less pressure on you and make it easier for you to monitor your progress over time.


Cultivate Financial Fitness

Although being financially fit and healthy doesn’t necessarily lead to success in all areas of life, it does make a huge difference to how out of control you’ll feel daily. Ultimately, money might not buy happiness, but it does make the world go around. If you feel like you’re constantly struggling with cash, you don’t know how to handle your budget, or you struggle to navigate financial concepts like loans, life insurance, and insurance, then you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed throughout your adult life. The best way to start rectifying this issue is to invest in your education. Tools like the Navient Marketplace blog can provide valuable insights into all aspects of financial health, covering topics like personal finances, banking, and savings, and even loan refinancing.


Recognize the Benefit of Support

Often, we make the mistake of thinking that being in control of our lives means being entirely independent, and handling every issue we might face on our own. While it is important to feel confident in your own ability to make decisions and changes in your life, it’s worth remembering that human beings often accomplish more when they have the support of others. Convincing yourself that you must do everything solo, whether it’s overcoming debt, or pursuing a new career, simply puts more pressure on yourself. On the other hand, being open to accepting forms of help and assistance can help you to reach your goals a lot faster. Open yourself up to the idea of sharing your goals with your loved ones and asking for their input from time to time. Explore the value of working with professionals from time to time too, whether it’s a financial advisor, a therapist, or a medical expert, they can all be valuable options.


Be Kind to Yourself

Finally, exerting control over your own life often means even when you are feeling bad about yourself you are taking personal responsibility for your present and future. This can be difficult when the decisions you make don’t always work out the way you expected. Sometimes you’ll make choices that lead you in the wrong direction, no matter how carefully you plan and assess your options. Remembering to be kind to yourself during these difficult periods is important. It’s crucial to remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Taking a growth mindset approach and looking at each failure as an opportunity to learn will help you grow as a person. What’s more, it should mean that you don’t hold yourself back from taking control of situations you can handle yourself in the future.