With so many responsibilities, it can feel like your life isn’t in your own hands. From juggling work to paying bills, a lot is expected of you. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any power. In this article, we highlight seven ways to help you become the agenda setter in your own life:
1. Set Clear Goals
What do you want? This is an important question and one you need to answer sooner rather than later. After all, the only way to be the agenda setter of your life is by knowing what you want out of life. What are your goals? Aspirations? Where do you want to be in five years? Use this information to guide your decisions and set clear boundaries that’ll help you achieve your goals.
For example, let’s say one of your goals is to start your own business before you have kids. You’ll want to take certain precautions, like using birth control to lower your risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Having an idea of how and when you want to have a family can help you map out a timeline for your business.
On the other hand, maybe you want to be a doctor in five years. That might mean spending more time studying right now than spending time with friends. Setting clear goals will help you create a plan for your life, which will help you stay in control.
2. Learn to Say ‘No’
A problem many of us have is we’re afraid to say “no.” We don’t want to disappoint our friends, co-workers, or family members, so we accept every request thrown at us. We say “yes” to dinner plans and to working an extra shift, even when we’re exhausted and would rather not.
Constantly saying “yes” might make you feel like a good person, but it can make your life difficult. Instead of having alone time, your schedule will consist of doing things for other people. And while that’s okay every now and then, it’s crucial to have time for yourself.
3. Pay Down Debt
According to a 2020 study, consumer debt in the United States reached almost $15 trillion dollars. It’s no secret the average American has struggled, or is currently struggling, with debt. Owing money makes your life complicated and stressful. But getting ahead of debt can help you take back control.
It takes time to pay down debt, as well as a lot of discipline. A good place to start is by tracking your finances. Spend a few minutes going over your income and expenses. We recommend grouping your expenses into categories so you can see exactly where your money is going. Or rather, where it’s not going.
For example, let’s say more of your money is going towards nonessentials (new clothes, takeout, etc.) than towards paying down your debt. You probably want to make some changes so you’re allocating money toward what’s most important.
4. Have a Routine
Getting a better handle on your life starts with your daily routine. You might not realize it, but having structure can actually help you feel more in control of your life. You don’t have to do anything drastic. In fact, you should start small.
For example, start by re-evaluating your sleep schedule. Instead of sleeping five hours one day and 10 hours the next, try to get an even amount of rest every single night. Keep in mind, that might mean going to bed a little earlier than usual and waking up before your first alarm.
If you have the time and interest, consider introducing other things into your routine. You could start walking a mile each day, making your bed before work, spending 20 minutes stretching, etc. The more you enjoy your daily routine, the more likely you are to stick with it.
5. Save Money
Some people see saving money as a luxury. The truth is, saving money is a necessity to help you feel more in control of your life. Having money set aside means you’re better prepared in the event of a rainy day. If you end up getting sick and bombarded with medical bills, you’ll have a way to pay those bills down. If you want to splurge and treat yourself to a vacation, you’ll have the money to do so.
A big part of life’s daily stress is money. And while saving money isn’t always easy, it’s always possible. For instance, putting aside as little as 1% of your monthly income doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up over time.
With that said, if there’s ever an opportunity to save more money, you should take it. Some people will even pick up a side hustle to earn a second income. They might babysit, drive for Uber or Lyft, or might even start their own business.
There are a lot of things in life you can’t control. That can feel overwhelming. But the truth is, there’s a lot in life you can control. Instead of stressing when things don’t go as planned, focus on what you can control.
Cook yourself dinner, take an exercise class, schedule a massage, or clean your home when things feel chaotic. While these tasks might seem small, they can help you feel more self-sufficient and in control of your life.
You’re constantly being pulled in different directions. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like your life is your own. Sound familiar? It’s easy to feel like an audience member in your own life, but you aren’t. You have the power to set your own agenda, and the tips above will help show you how.