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8 Ways to Gain Better Control of Your Life

8 Ways to Gain Better Control of Your Life

As we grow up, we begin to develop our ambitions, and we set new goals for ourselves. While we are kids and teenagers, we only compromise between what our parents want us to do and what we want to do. Sometimes these plans align with each other, and sometimes they don’t. The point is that, during our development, we pursue goals set for us by our authority figures, and once we achieve them, or when we finish high school, all that is left is the pursuit of our own individual goals, and all we have is our internal motivation.

Achieving personal goals feels great. However, failing to achieve them can deal a massive blow to our egos. After all, this failure is personal, and it often makes us question our own convictions. Of course, every life is filled with failures: some are not too severe, and some are valuable lessons, but failures make us feel weak, powerless, and demotivated.

When things don’t go as we planned, we start to experience this lack of control, and that is truly depressing. It affects how we behave; it prevents us from being happy, and we feel stressed out as a result of all the self-doubt we are experiencing. Luckily, these problems are not beyond solution, and you can conquer this weakness one step at a time.

1. Learn to accept yourself and give yourself some more credit.

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    You need to know that every trait you possess can be viewed from both a negative and a positive perspective. If you consider yourself to be determined, and if you do not give up easily, other people might perceive this trait as stubbornness. If you are ambitious, others might call you greedy, whereas if you are humble, they might say that you lack ambition.

    Also, if you are cautious, some might perceive that trait as minor paranoia or cowardice. Basically, it all depends on the context and situation in which you displayed your personal traits. It also depends on your environment, i.e. whether it is willing to reward those traits or to suppress them.

    It’s a truth as old as humanity itself: we have our own vision of ourselves, while others have a different perception, and the truth is somewhere in between. In other words, do not take criticism too seriously, and do not be self-absorbed all the time; just learn to accept yourself, and only work on the flaws that you truly wish to eliminate.

    Abandon the notion that you can become someone that everybody will admire, and focus on being someone you would admire. If you try to impress everyone, you’ll end up forsaking yourself and, as mentioned, these personal failures are far more disappointing.

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    2. Learn how to handle your finances.

    Another reason why we might feel stressed out and powerless is when we have trouble handling our finances. When you start to live your own life, there are unexpected expenses that pop up each month, and since these expenses can easily lead to debt, you need to think ahead and save money for those occasions. Whether we want to admit it or not, money is also a form of power, and without it, we feel less secure and less confident.

    If you are stressed out because of your finances, there are two solutions. You can see what you can do to earn more money; you can ask for a higher paycheck at work, and see what the requirements are; or, you can simply learn how to redistribute your spending budget. Sit down and calculate how much money you need to pay the bills, and then see how much money you have left and create your daily budget based on that number.

    See how much you can spare on a daily basis, and come up with a tactic to do so. For example, there are tons of incentive programs that can help you save money, and you can get coupons or vouchers to trim down the price.

    You can also get better prices if you shop online, or simply look for used items that don’t need to be brand new in order to properly function. Additionally, you can also sell your items online, or organize yard sales to get rid of what you are no longer using and to earn some extra money along the way.

    Once you accumulate enough extra money this way, put it in a savings account so that it can grow. Again, do not put all of your money into a savings account because you’ll need some extra cash for unexpected house repairs if something starts to malfunction.

    3. Know where you stand.

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      We are still on the subject of money here, and it goes without saying that your worth is not based on how much you earn. Also it’s wrong to assume that everyone will measure you based on how much you earn, but still, money is a form of reward system and something that serves as tangible proof of how much your skill and knowledge is valued. So, when you feel the lack of control, it’s good to focus on something that can be measured and that you can track in order to restore confidence.

      This is not a very common practice, but I feel it can be very useful. You can now calculate your net worth, and know exactly where you stand on an average scale. Of course, this does not mean that you are more or less successful than someone else, since we know that people can be born into privilege and thereby already have an advantage on this scale.

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      However, when you know where you stand, you can have a starting point for yourself, and work on improving; it’s like advancing in a video game and gaining higher levels. Basically, you start to work on improving and increasing your net worth, and having a clear overview of your success rate can reward you with a sense of achievement.

      If you feel bad for focusing so much on earning money, you can always donate and help those less fortunate. I am just saying that it is a good way to have tangible proof of the progress in a positive direction. So, you do not do this in order to compete with others, nor to prove to others how much you are worth; you simply do it to convince yourself that you have control over your progress.

      It also doesn’t have to be connected to your net worth; if you love agriculture, you can look to improve the size of your fields or the quality of your plants. It just needs to be something that is valued globally.

      4. Add more organization to your life.

      When you feel a lack of control over your life, then you can combat it with a grain of OCD. Start to organize everything you can. It was already mentioned how you can organize your finances and how to earn money by selling things you don’t use. However, you can take this a step further and reorganize your home and daily schedule.

      The main reasons why this is useful is because you’ll feel a lot better when you are in a well-organized environment, and unexpected problems and obligations are less likely to sneak up on you when you monitor things more adequately.

      You can clear the bins and label your cabinets and jars; you can have a mail-organizing cabinet and a tool that can also organize your emails; you can use a work planner to write down everything important, or download an app that can do the same.

      Basically, you keep track of your items and obligations more diligently, as that can provide you with the necessary serenity that can keep the stress at bay, and give you more control over your responsibilities. Besides, it feels really good when you are keeping track of your tasks, just crossing them off your list.

      Of course, if trying to be too organized is just another source of stress, then simply tone it down. Don’t write down everything or don’t label everything; basically add the amount of control you feel comfortable with, and see how it works. If you find something unnecessary, then there’s no need to give it much attention.

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      One thing is certain though: you will feel so much better if your entire living space is neatly organized and if everything feels in its place. Plus, you’ll be motivated to maintain that order, since you worked hard on building it.

      5. Exercise.

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        Exercise is useful for numerous reasons. First, it’s a good way to cope with stress. Second, your body will produce more energy as you advance, and the things that used to be stressful and tiring won’t seem so difficult. Third, it’s good for your health and mood. Fourth, it will help you build up your confidence, since you’ll look better and, again, progress and achievements are good positive boosts for our psyche.

        The only problem with this is that you might not have enough time to seriously devote yourself to exercise. However, you are not trying to become a professional weight lifter, athlete or fighter; all you need is a moderate dose of physical workout in order to look good, feel good, and be satisfied with yourself.

        There are quality workout regimes online that you can try out, and you can find a nutritionist to prescribe a good diet to boost the efficiency of your training. The best thing about this is that there are programs that do not require weights; you can exercise at home and still get satisfying results.

        If you are unwilling to start exercising because it will leave you with a lot of pain for the next couple of days, then you can gradually add more physical activities into your schedule before you start working out. You can start with walking to work or riding a bike, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking more water, etc. You can also start with a 20-minute yoga session in the morning and before sleep, which should prepare you for your workout in the future.

        6. Follow a healthier diet.

        In addition to exercise, you’ll need to have a healthier diet. As mentioned, you can find a nutritionist to give you a diet, and you can start preparing your own food more frequently. It’s a sort of a self-improvement technique, where you start to learn to cook different meals. Additionally, when you prepare your own food, you will save more money, which is also a good thing. So, it’s not directly connected to gaining better control of your life like the previous tips, but it goes well with your lifestyle in general.

        7. Work on self-improvement.

        Self-improvement can imply a lot of things. It can mean a change in your governing philosophy, or acquiring new skills, or simply changing your lifestyle for the better. So far, everything mentioned here was a form of self-improvement, and all that remains is that you work on your competence. You can try and do better at work, or you can start to learn other skills that can help you with house maintenance.

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        You don’t need to spend money on this, since you can find online tutorials and start learning this way. As you improve, you will start to fix things on your own; you will start to feel that you have greater control of your life, and you will be proud of yourself. You can train yourself to become a good craftsman, which is fulfilling, and it can help you earn some extra cash on the side.

        8. Learn to rely less on other people.

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          Lastly, the less you rely on others to solve your problems, the more powerful you will feel. It’s all right to ask for help, and you don’t have to do everything on your own, but if you aren’t able to solve problems without relying on others, then you will be frustrated.

          This is why self-improvement is important, because when you are self-sufficient, you feel more liberated and less pressured. Furthermore, with more skills at your disposal, you can even help others, and people will start to appreciate you more. Besides, when you are helpful, you will feel better.

          So, know that you are capable of many things, know that you do not need to rely on others, but also, do not refuse or shy away from asking for help. The whole point of this is to make your life easier and to gain more control over it — not to embrace unnecessary struggles.

          Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Unsplash-242387/ via pixabay.com

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          Djordje Todorovic

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          Last Updated on January 2, 2019

          How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

          How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

          Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

          Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

          Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

          This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

          Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

          What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

          Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

          When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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          How It Leads to Financial Improvement

          It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

          Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

          Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

          It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

          Types of Personal Finance Software

          When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

          Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

          For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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          Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

          When to Use Personal Finance Software

          So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

          Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

          1. You Have Multiple Accounts

          There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

          If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

          Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

          2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

          Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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          There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

          With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

          3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

          Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

          Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

          Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

          4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

          Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

          You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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          How to Get Started

          From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

          Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

          It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

          When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

          Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

          Final Thoughts

          Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

          In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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