Some people seem to always have it together. They’ve always got money in their pocket, they are on time, healthy, and always seem to get those big promotions they go for. Are they just lucky or do they have some secret to their success?
Luck plays a role, but the likely cause is that they actually do have it together. They are responsible people with goals and the ambition to achieve them. Being responsible is not a trait that you are born with (or without). It is a skill that is learned over the course of your life. If you aren’t quite the responsible adult you want to be yet, I’ve got 3 easy-to-use tips to help you get there.
1. Know Yourself
Know what motivates you. Think, what are some of your favorite things? Do you like binge-watching Netflix? Use that as a reward for responsible behavior. Have you ever had a really great teacher, coach, or mentor? What were some of the things they said that made you work harder? Use their words of wisdom and think about what style of motivation they provided for you. Did they set up a reward system or a punishment system? Did they focus on results or processes? How did they nurture your work ethic?
By utilizing techniques that you know have worked on you in the past, you can set up a system for yourself. Try writing down some of your favorite quotes from past teachers, coaches, or mentors. Also, make a list of the ways they taught you. Do you see a pattern? Once you recognize common motivational techniques that you know work on you, you can create goals and standards for yourself that are similar to the goals and standards of a past teacher, coach, or mentor.
Most of us don’t spend our days thinking about how we can teach ourselves. We usually think about how to learn from others. By taking some time to really sit down and explore the ways you learn, you can strengthen your understanding of your own mind and begin the process of helping yourself.
“Know thyself and know thy enemy.” -Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
2. Spend Less Time on Your Phone
This is a simple trick that will yield miraculous results for those who stick with it. The technology of phones is amazing and it can be very beneficial to work efficiency, connectivity, and (of course) fun! If you are someone who spends a lot of time on your phone, you may not realize how much of your day is spent staring at a phone screen. Think about the sheer number of hours you spend on your phone. Truly, honestly, write down that number. Now, cut that time in half. Your goal is to spend this number (half of your normal phone time) off of your phone, doing something else.
One of the reasons we browse our phones so much is because our mind needs engagement on a daily basis. We crave learning, entertainment, stimulation. Imagine if you spent all those hours engaging your mind by solving your life’s problems instead of idly staring at your phone. The more different ways you can exercise your brain, the smarter and stronger you become. Reading the screen on your phone while using your fingers to navigate the interface only works out those areas of your brain. If you take the time to activate other areas of your brain by using a completely different muscle group/set of skills/set of senses, you will become smarter and more capable of consistently responsible behavior.
Although phones are fun, helpful, and very necessary in the 21st century, too much of any one thing can be harmful to our long term growth. Continue to use your phone, but take time every day to completely unplug from it. Just imagine what life would be like if you spent all those hours refining a skill set, solving your problems, or mastering a hobby instead of being on your phone. Do the extreme, turn your phone off if you have to. You will be more responsible and happier.
3. Use Your Support System
This is a good old fashioned technique that humans have been using since the dawn of time. One of the most common causes of failure when trying to change a habit is lack of support. People feel alone, like no one understands or no one is willing to help them change. This leads to intense feelings of defeat, which leads to giving up. Never, ever forget YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are over 7 billion people in the world and no matter who you are, at least one of these 7 billion is willing to help you. All you have to do is reach out to people you know.
Say out loud, to people you trust, how you are going to be responsible. If you tend to be late for meetings or late on bill payments, tell your friends and family that this time you will be on time. When we say things out loud we are more likely to do them. When we share our goals with our loved ones, we are especially more likely to achieve them. Not only can your friends and family help you stay on task by reminding you to be responsible, you will also find within yourself a desire to not let any of them down.
One of the key aspects of using your support system is to clearly communicate your goals. It doesn’t do to say to your support system “I want to be more responsible, help me!” They won’t know exactly what you want and therefore will struggle to help you. It will feel more like nagging, which can distance you from your support system and lead to failure. When asking for help, clearly communicate your goals by setting measurable results within a timeframe. Instead of saying “I want to work out more” to your support system, say “I want to exercise 2 times a week for 45 minutes each time.” This gives you and your support system clear focal points. “Did you work out yet this week? You need to if you want to do it twice before Sunday!”
The other important thing to remember is that your support system is there for you. Ask for help if you need it. If you know that you won’t be able to [for example] spend less time on your phone, ask a loved one to take it away from you when you are spending too much time on it and praise you when you are spending less time on it. The most important aspect of support systems is praise. Be sure to express to your support system that you need positive reinforcement. Don’t forget to celebrate those successes!
There you have it. 3 simple tricks to becoming more responsible! Remember, anyone can make a change as long as they have the time and resources to do it. As you are embarking on the journey of becoming a little (or a lot) more responsible, please know that I believe in you. You can do it, don’t give up!