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5 Ways To Be More Independent

5 Ways To Be More Independent

Have you ever wanted to be less reliant on others and be more independent? Do you have moments when you wish you could be more self-reliant and let those close to you worry less about you?

People who are independent seem to know what they want and how to go for it. They appear more confident and happier. They can take care of themselves and others as well. They appear to have their own thoughts and they are not easily influenced by the opinions of others. They are the go-getters when it comes to their decisions and actions, sometimes like a maverick. They take responsibility for themselves, their thoughts, and their actions.

If you have always thought about standing on your own two feet but are still unsure about how and where to start, here are five ways you can get on your way to being more independent.

Know Who You Are

You can only be who you want to be when you know who you are. Find out who you are at your core.

What makes you happy? What irks you? What are your favourites? What are your non-negotiables? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are the things that you really enjoy doing and would hate to compromise for others? What decisions do you make for yourself? Are they major life decisions, or are they mini-choices you make on daily basis? What do you stand for?

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When you know who you are, you will be able to work on ways to improve yourself and gain the freedom that you want. Only when you understand yourself, will you be able to embark on your own journey to independence. Get clear about what you want to achieve before you start working towards it.

Take Back Your Power

One of the major factors of being independent is to be free from the control of others. Learn to rely less on others to do things for you, to take care of you and to make decisions for you.

How well are you taking care of yourself? What does your family say about you when it comes to being independent? Do you always need them to bail you out? Do you manage your spaces well (cleanliness of your room, car, or desk)? How can you demonstrate to them that you won’t be a cause of worry? Take your power back.

Do you constantly lean to others for support? Do you have trouble speaking your mind because you don’t seem to have a voice of your own? Are you often swayed by the opinions of others? Perhaps there are times when you already have a decision in mind but a word from your best friend or a comment from your sibling made you change your mind, and you wonder why you could never make the decision for yourself. The more you lean to others for approval, the harder it is for you to be independent.

When you lean on others for approval or permission to decide, you are giving your power away to others. Start taking your power back and you will slowly free yourself from the control of others. Learn to accept your own decisions, get comfortable with decision-making, and build up from there. The more you practise decision-making, the more you will learn to be more comfortable with the decisions you make — even though at times you may make mistakes.

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Practice Thinking Independently

Thinking independently means exploring your choices, weighing the options for yourself, seeking opinions from others (for reference, not approval), and making the call for yourself. Perhaps it might end up being a wrong call, but that does not mean that you should stop and give your power back to others.

For instance, you might want to move out of your parents’ house after you have graduated and found a job — which is great, except that your close-knit family objects to that idea. It might help to explore why they do not agree with you moving out. Could it be finances? Could it be that you are the youngest and everyone dotes on you so much that they worry about you living alone? Maybe they’re worried that you will visit less?

What other reasons could there be? How can you inform them of your decisions while considering their doubts? Have you always been good at taking care of yourself? If not, how can you start? That might mean you start making your own bed, making sure you have regular meals, taking care of your health, handling your own rent and bills, and so on.

Part of being independent also means thinking for others. When you think from the perspective of others, you might be able to gain deeper insights and apply them to various aspects of your life. Understanding that there are two sides (or more) to a situation may let you view situations differently and more objectively.

Ask

Being self reliant also means that you know when to seek assistance. When you are lost or confused and you want to give up your power and allow others to decide for you, remember that you have the option to ask for help when you need it.

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Don’t know how to cook? Learn by watching step-by-step cooking videos or printing recipes.

Not sure which course to take for your degree? Find a few people who have done the course you are interested in and ask them for their advice, but use their feedback as reference and not as a decision-making call.

Asking for help does not mean you are weak or surrendering your control further. It means you are strong enough to find out what you need to do to move forward.

Explore

The more you explore, the more avenues you will find available to you.

You can explore by visiting new places, or you can tap into the minds of others through reading well-written books. Learn from others how they handled various situations in life that you have no exposure to.

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Attend events when available and ask questions. Absorb the experiences of others and apply them to your own situation when you can.

There are many other ways to explore — solo traveling where you instantly learn to be more independent, volunteering yourself to be a team leader for a project, making your daily small choices without consulting anyone, embarking on other projects like craft projects or baking without depending on anyone, and so on.

In Conclusion

Sometimes, we get pushed into situations where we have no choice but to grow overnight. Though it can be necessary for our survival and our development as individuals, it can be hard on us to learn things the hard way.

When we proactively learn to be more independent so that we live our lives with control, we are generally empowering ourselves to think and act based on what we think is right for us and those we care for.

We need to learn to be independent in this interdependent world because that is how our individuality arises and how we grow to be more of who we are, not how others want us to be.

Today, be responsible for yourself and start taking steps to live with more independence.

Featured photo credit: PablO via pablo.buffer.com

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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