Modern life can be overwhelming. There’s so much to do, so many demands on our time and energy, so much information to take in, and so on. A lot of people today feel as if they’ve lost control of their lives.
However, there’s a simple way to take back control of your life. How? By giving yourself a challenge. Below you’ll discover how giving yourself a challenge will allow you to take back control of your life.
Your Circle of Influence and Your Circle of Concern
We’re all familiar with Stephen’s Covey’s Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence. Look at the image below:
Your Circle of Concern encompasses everything that you’re concerned about, including your health, the economy, your job, the environment, your children’s welfare, and so on. There are lots of things within your Circle of Concern that are outside of your control: that is, there’s nothing you can do to affect those things.
Within your Circle of Concern there’s a much smaller circle which is your Circle of Influence. Your Circle of Influence encompasses all those things which you can do something about. They’re concerns that you have at least some control over.
There are many implications which can be derived from Covey’s Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence, including the following:
- Focusing on those things that are within your Circle of Concern but outside of your Circle of Influence is a waste of time. By thinking of these things you’re simply worrying about things over which you have no control.
- By focusing on the things that are within your Circle of Influence, and taking action within that circle, you can make that circle grow. When your Circle of Influence grows, more things within your Circle of Concern will be within your Circle of Influence. That is, more things will be within your control.
Give Yourself a Challenge
As stated above, one way to gain greater control over your life is by making your Circle of Influence grow. In addition, you can make your Circle of Influence grow by giving yourself a challenge. Choosing an area within your Circle of Influence, and giving yourself a challenge within that area, will do the following:
- It focuses your energy and attention on your Circle of Influence.
- It gives you a specific goal to work toward in order to increase your Circle of Influence.
- It forces you to come up with a plan, including specific actions that you’ll take, in order to meet the challenge and, therefore, make your Circle of Influence grow.
You can set a challenge in any life area. Here are three examples:
- Fitness: Give yourself the challenge of losing twelve pounds.
- Finances: Give yourself the challenge of setting up a six month emergency fund.
- Personal Development: Give yourself the challenge of dropping one negative habit.
One of the best areas in which you can set a challenge is the area of fitness. For example, give yourself the challenge of losing twelve pounds in the next three months. There are literally hundreds of things in the area of fitness that are within your control. Here are some examples:
- Get up ten minutes earlier each morning and walk a couple of times around the block.
- Start eating whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
- Put one spoonful of sugar in your coffee instead of two.
- Take the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
- Ride your bike to work.
- Get a pedometer and make sure that you take 10,000 steps throughout the day.
In addition, achieving the challenge of losing twelve pounds in three months will have a positive “spillover” affect in every other area of your life. Here are four examples:
- Psychologists have concluded that willpower is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. By getting up every morning ten minutes earlier and walking around the block you’re strengthening your willpower. You will then have more willpower which you can apply to your next challenge.
- Losing weight will give you more energy; you can then apply this increase in energy to your next challenge.
- Positive psychologists have concluded that feeling in control makes us happy. By setting a challenge for yourself and achieving it you’ll begin to feel a greater sense of control over your life. And you’ll be increasing your happiness.
- Taking and achieving the challenge of losing twelve pounds in three months will make you feel more powerful and capable. Feeling that you’re capable of taking on life’s challenges is one of the key components of confidence. You’ll then be ready to face your next challenge with increased confidence.
There you have it: in order to take back control of your life, start giving yourself challenges within your Circle of Influence. You’ll soon discover that with each challenge that you achieve, your Circle of Influence will grow. And as your Circle of Influence grows, you’ll have more and more control over your life.
Live your best life by giving yourself challenges within your Circle of Influence, and then taking the steps necessary to achieve each of those challenges.