The word ownership is the state or fact of being an owner. But what does it mean to own something? The easy answer is something that is in your possession. I am thinking more along the lines of responsibility; taking ownership of your actions; taking ownership of your thoughts; taking ownership of your life.
I realize that this is the general consensus of most self help books, seminars, and speakers. People want to be told what to do to make their lives better, to make it more enriching. I can see why that idea is so popular. As humans we want to play it safe. We want the easy way. The truth is though, you don’t need the books, seminars, and speakers. Yes, they help, but more in the area of idea generation, provoking thoughts, and options for life hacks. I enjoy all of those things, but I am not relying on them to help me make a change. The change starts with ones self.
Making the Change
The first step to making the change is to own the fact that there is something to change. There doesn’t need to be anything radical here. No one can make the change for you, it’s entirely up to you. But you must own it. You must take responsibility for your next steps. Forget anything that has happened to get you to this point because what will move you forward is your ownership of now.
Mindful of your appetite
When I was younger, we would have a massive feast for Thanksgiving and Christmas at my grandmother’s home. So much great food to feed our large extended family. I remember loading my plate up with some of everything, only to get full before I could finish my plate. I don’t remember which relative would say it, but inevitably someone would comment that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. My perception was that I could take on more than I could, in reality, physically handle. The same idea applies here. You may decide that you want to take ownership of your health, your work, your side hustle, your workouts, etc. You can get all of that done, but I would not recommend all of that in the very beginning.
By taking ownership, you are declaring war on the obstacle in your way. To do this, it’s not an epic battle that you might see on television. It is the accumulation of small wins. There are some battles that you might lose, but you come back and fight another day. Over the long haul, those wins will lead to you winning the war. An example might be that you want to run a marathon. You could own that choice by showing up on race day and attempting the run. You would definitely have supporters pushing you along on race day, but the risk of injury for not properly training could do more harm than good. A better method will be to start to have some small wins. Putting on your running shoes – win. Finding a program that is 12-16 weeks for a beginner – win. Putting in that first mile – win. Completing your first week on the program – win.
With each win, you begin to pick up momentum and that is like compound interest. You make a little bit more on your return for what you have invested.
This could also be classified as win, but being consistent is critical. There are days that you won’t feel like doing anything, There will be days that you won’t feel motivated. You might even wonder why you are doing it and want to quit. All of those thoughts are perfectly normal and expected. We are human after all. But by taking ownership, you are committed to seeing this through. As long as you aren’t risking injury to yourself or anyone else, you will be much happier that you completed the task. The key is to put in the work consistently. This may not mean every day. Maybe your plan it 3 times a week. But understand that by taking ownership, this means that if you haven’t completed any of those three at the end of day 4, well, you know what the next three days are going to look like.
By taking ownership, there could be new tasks that need to be completed. Both to get you closer to that goal and in preparation for that task that will get there. Using the marathon example again, the time commitment will require you to fit this running schedule into your week. There will need to be time allotted for the warmup, the run, and the cool down and stretch. If you are a morning runner, this will mean getting up a bit earlier. This also means looking for those small wins to help set you up for success, examples include: preprogramed coffee in the morning and setting your clothes out the night before.
When it comes to ownership, we can’t leave the discussion without talking about some tough love. You are the one responsible for making this happen. It’s not your bosses fault for keeping you late at work…figure out a way to work smarter. It’s not your spouses fault for not making you go workout…that’s your choice…choose to move. At the end of the day, the only way to change is to, well, change. Albert Einstein stated it best when he said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The key to it is to take ownership. It is your life, no one else’s.