Sometimes it just feels like you are just being tossed about during your day or week. Maybe you feel like you are crawling to the proverbial shore at the end of the day as your ship (plan) was wrecked and sunk again.

It’s not difficult to fall into a cycle of despair and even hopelessness as circumstances around you influence your life and well-being.  To help you re-establish or reinforce your control over the day, here are some reminders of the things that you do have control over both in your personal and professional life. 

What you consume

When people think of the word “consume” they may naturally think of something like eating or food. While it’s true that you have control over what you consume from a nutritional perspective, broaden that thought to other things that you consume on a regular basis. Your regular consumption includes

  • The news you read and where you get it from
  • Social media and self-image outlets
  • Entertainment
  • Knowledge (podcasts, books, videos, courses, classes, etc)
  • Interactions with your friends, family, and co-workers

Reflect on the past week. What has been a negative influence or perhaps overly influential on your thoughts and actions? Perhaps the weight of the news is dragging you down or there has been drama at the workplace that has taken up a lot of your headspace. Here are some tips to take back control of the things that you consume:

  • Find different news outlets to get your information from. Counselors will often suggest outlets outside of your country if you get too worked up by the news. They are more neutral and have no agenda to drive you toward one conclusion or another. 
  • Take social media breaks and see how it impacts your outlook on yourself and your day. 
  • Put limits on the amount of entertainment you consume to allow space for other productive things. 
  • Check your knowledge outlets for alignments with your goals and ambitions. 
  • Evaluate those that you interact with regularly. Are they adding value to you or are they toxic and need to be managed? (Show 205)

Your mental and physical fitness 

Physical and mental fitness is just good for you. There are countless studies and stories online of the benefits of physical activities including ones from the Mayo Clinic and The World Health Organization. We’ve talked at length over the years about the benefits as well including Finding Leadership in Running (PTB 170) Life Lessons from running at DisneyWhat running 37.5 miles taught me (PTB 128). 

Some tips to control your mental and physical fitness:

  • Studies share that you need 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigours exercise a week and strength training for all major muscle groups two times a week. Forget that! Do what you can. You can control going out for a 10-minute stroll. Don’t let studies that highlight how you may be coming up short hold you back. Take control of those small moments to give yourself the break and conditioning you need. 

  • Read a book or engage in some mentally stimulating activity. At my current stage, it’s mostly working on art with a little bit of reading. Neither one, do I spend a large block of time on except perhaps the weekend. Take control of small segments here as well.  What does that look like for you?

  • Find reading or fitness apps to help get you started and stay motivated. You can find an endless amount of fitness apps out there. I use Caliber for strength training; it’s free and includes plans and videos based on what you have available at your house. I use Apple Fitness for my aerobic, core, and additional strength work. 

Find things that you have an interest in and carve out time to take of both your mind and body. 

Your work ethic

No matter what others do, or don’t do, no one has control over your work ethic except for you. For better or worse, the choices you make in how you do your work are yours alone. Need resources to help drive a strong work ethic? Check out: 

Your work ethics are your calling card. More than anything, it’s how people know and think of you. 

How you approach and deal with people

How do you show up for people that you interact with? Even in those tough circumstances that may rock our day, we still ultimately own and have the power over how we interact with others and come across in conversations.  How well do you control your approach with others? Are you a reflection of your day; nice on a good day and distraught during the bad days? 

Be mindful to be consistent in how you interact with others. Most times it should be effortless; it’s your authentic self where you (hopefully) want to add value to others. At other times, you’ll need to make the choice to be super intentional to keep steady in all the negative noise of the day. Don’t let your day influence who you are. Let yourself influence how your day is going to be. 

If you look more online at the types of things that you can control, you’ll find a myriad of opinions out there ranging from a list of 100 down to an article saying that you can only control one thing. Evaluate your day. What do you have influence over that you perhaps don’t give yourself enough credit or power over right now? Get a solid grasp on those things you can control as you get ready to let go of the things that you can’t control. 

Make a better tomorrow.