Published on December 29, 2020

How To Take Responsibility For Your Action And Your Life

How To Take Responsibility For Your Action And Your Life

We are all doing what we believe it takes to be successful, to be our best, to make a difference, and to take care of our responsibilities. But when life shows up with problems, curveballs, and obstacles that stand in our way, it can be easy to lose our excitement, drive, and motivation to keep improving.

It’s frustrating when progress stalls or stops. It happens to the best of us. No one is immune.

That’s when we have to watch out that we don’t get ourselves stuck in the “excuse trap.” This is a dangerous mental cycle that many people unintentionally and often subconsciously turn on in their minds.

This is the thought cycle that constantly repeats the reasons why it’s not our fault—it’s the economy, it’s your family, it’s the timing—it’s any excuse that your mind can justify. Once it’s on, say goodbye to your hopes and dreams because the list never ends.

But the most dangerous thing that this mental trap says is, “it’s not my responsibility,” and “I’m not in control of myself and my destiny.”

How do we pull ourselves out of the cycle? We address the excuses head-on.

There are many potential excuses that we can use to not take responsibility for our own actions, but interestingly enough, the number one excuse of not doing, being, or having what you want in your life are these 5 words: “I don’t have enough time.”

This is the king of all excuses in the “excuse trap” and why 5 years ago, I committed to solving this problem while researching my book, The Time Cleanse: A Proven System to Eliminate Wasted Time, Realize Your Full Potential, and Reinvest in What Matters Most.

It was the number one excuse I found with my clients. Every one of them said, “I don’t have enough time!” It was the reason they used for not going to the gym, not growing their business, not dating to be in a relationship, not going on a vacation or visiting their friends and family, and the list goes on.


We all have to come to terms with the excuse of time to get out of the excuse trap once and for all. To be in charge of your attention and energy, you have to have steps to help you take responsibility for your time.

Here are 3 simple steps to take responsibility for your time and your life.

Step 1: See Time as Your Ally, Not Your Enemy

“When you change the way you look at things, what you look at changes.” —Wayne Dyer

The rule is simple: If you view time as your enemy, as an excuse, it becomes easy to blame and not take responsibility for it. When you view time as your friend and ally on your side and helping you accomplish your goals, then you can finally take full responsibility for your actions.

You need to look at your relationship with time in a new, positive light. First, you have to deprogram yourself from the way society has taught you to view time.

How many times have you heard the following?

  • “Where will I find the time?”
  • “I never have enough time.”
  • “Where did the time go?”
  • “When I get the time.”
  • “If time allows.”

But who actually “allows” you to do things? It’s not time—it’s you!

Recognize that time doesn’t make the decisions, you do. We all have the same amount of time. It’s all up to you whether you use your time to move towards your goals or to get distracted with things that don’t benefit you.

Time is an incredibly valuable resource. It’s possibly the most valuable thing you have in life.


Imagine your total time on earth as a billion dollars. It’s all yours, and you can do anything you want with it. It can buy you literally anything you want in life. But it can also be stolen from you and drained away. You have to choose where you use it. You have to direct it. You have to make sure that it’s being spent on what matters to you because no one else will. Everyone else will simply try to take it from you.

Your time is yours, and it’s your responsibility. Your time comes from you, it’s a part of you, and you are not separate from it. It’s a natural gift of your life—an infinitely valuable resource here for you to become the best version of yourself. Feel grateful for your time and treasure it, and pay attention to where it is being used up.

When you stop fighting with time and take responsibility for your time, you get your energy back, you flow in your day, and new opportunities naturally present themselves to you. Time becomes your ally and friend. It is in your corner to support you in everything you do.

“Time is not a thing—It’s a relationship.” —Steven Griffith

Make the decision once and for all to recognize that time is here for you and is on your side to help you be your best. We all get the same amount. What you do with it is up to you and only you!

Step 2: Go on a “Time Excuse” Diet

Here is how you take complete control of your time: Stop using the excuse of time as the reason you are not doing, being, or having what you want in life.

Try saying this to yourself: “I’m 100 percent responsible for my time. I own it, I control it, and it comes from me!”

From now on, you are on a “time excuse” diet. When you want to get in shape, you go to diet by eliminating the toxic foods that prevent you from improving. The same goes for getting your time back. To slim down the amount of time being lost to distractions, you have to eliminate the toxic thoughts that are preventing your success and personal responsibility.

Start choosing what you want to do with your time. Remind yourself every day that it is your time, and you have the power to do what you really want with it.


What we choose to say yes and no to and what we decide to do determines when and where we use our time. When we believe that time is outside of us and controlling us, we live in a constant state of scarcity and victimhood without even realizing it.

After working with thousands of people, I have seen every version of a time excuse offered as the number one reason people aren’t finding the success, happiness, and achievement they desire. This widespread faulty thinking is the exact reason people are struggling, stalled, or stuck.

Time is never to blame—it’s your choices and priorities with time. We can always make or find the time when something is our top priority. Just break a bone and all of a sudden, you have plenty of time to go to the doctor and get it fixed.

It really comes down to choice. If you hear the excuse of not having enough time in your mind, get rid of it and choose to be responsible for your time!

Step 3: Use Self-Compassion Daily

This last step probably sounds counterintuitive, but it’s essential to taking responsibility for your actions. Take some time to be grateful for yourself.

You see, taking responsibility for all of your time, how it’s spent, and everything that you do or do not accomplish is a lot of pressure. You won’t always succeed perfectly in every task. So, if you start to constantly tell yourself negative things, like I’m not doing good enough,” then you will lose your motivation and excuses will take over.

Positive reinforcement is essential for reprogramming your mind from being full of excuses to being full of motivation and solutions.

Here’s the mind trick we play on ourselves: If you believe and know that you will get beat up more often when you “go for it” and don’t succeed, then over time, you will be more likely to make excuses, delay, hold yourself back, or not go for it at all.

But to be successful—to take full responsibility for our actions—we have to be willing to take risks and be okay with failure. That’s the only way to push ourselves to new heights and our next level of growth. We have to be able to willingly get back up when we get knocked down.


Research shows that when we are kind to ourselves and show ourselves compassion, it allows us to perform better by giving us healthy expectations. Self-compassion increases well-being and our ability to take risks. By being kind we’ll be more responsible for our actions—the ones that are good and the ones that aren’t.

Self-compassion is the ultimate way to take self-responsibility. It’s being there for yourself in the face of adversity, obstacles, and challenges so you can keep going. Just the fact that you want to take responsibility for your actions is reason enough to give yourself an emotional pat on the back.

Once we show compassion to ourselves and tend to our mental and emotional needs, we can be in a positive and receptive space to reengage and learn from adversity, integrate new lessons, adjust our strategies and tactics, take full responsibility for our actions, and get back out there and accomplish our goals with an even higher level of confidence, resilience, power, and tools to succeed.


When you fall into the “excuse trap” with the belief that “I don’t have enough time,” which our 24/7 connected devices and lifestyles push us into unconsciously, you have a super toxic combo of mental traps keeping you from your goals and dreams.

Excuses justify people’s failures in their mind and tell them to give up. A lack of self-compassion tells them that they can’t do it. Given enough time and setbacks, they may start to believe it. They may even want to believe it because it gets them off the hook and allows them to be comfortable with their lack of success. But that’s not you.

You want to take responsibility for your actions. You want to take your destiny into your own hands.

You have made the choice to be in charge of your life, remove all excuses (especially the time excuse!), and be self-compassionate in a way that puts the choice and responsibility back in your hands. With those 3 steps, you can deprogram your mind from feeling helpless to experiencing total empowerment.

I’m 100 percent responsible for my time. I own it, I control it, and it comes from me! —Steven Griffith, The Time Cleanse

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Steven Griffith

Steven is an Executive Coach. He's been helping the world’s most successful people perfrom at their peack level.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Willpower is essential to the accomplishment of anything worthwhile.” – Brian Tracy

“Just do it.” – Nike

The most important and satisfying things in life usually aren’t the easiest ones.

The good news: In today’s hyper-connected world, we have access to all the information we could want to help us achieve our future goals. We know what foods will make us healthier (would kale or quinoa be as popular without the internet and Dr. Oz? I think not). We can also estimate for ourselves the benefits of starting retirement savings early – and the implications for the lifestyles of our future selves (that boat at 65 means fewer vacations in your 20’s).


We almost always know what we should do thanks to endless knowledge at our fingertips. But actually doing it is an entirely different kind of challenge. Most of us can relate to that feeling of inertia at the start of a big project, or the struggle to consistently make good, long-term choices for our health, or saving for the future. This mental tug-of-war we experience has evolutionary roots. While knowing this might bring comfort, it doesn’t help solve the problem at hand:

How can we flex our willpower to become better, faster, smarter, and stronger?

The bad news: you can’t Google your way out of this one.

Or can you? A fascinating body of research (much of which you can turn up online through popular press and academic articles) sheds light on how to hack your willpower for better, easier results in all areas of your life. The Willpower Instinct, a great book by Stanford prof Kelly McGonigal, provides a deep dive into these and more topics for anyone keenly interested.

Here’s the short version: we can make the most of our willpower through two types of hacks. First, there are ways to turbo boost your willpower. Second, there are ways to hack the system so you make the best use of whatever (sometimes infinitely modest) willpower you have.


The following 10 tips draw on both of these toolkits.

1. Slow the heck down.

Most regrettable decisions (the splurge at the mall, the procrastination on the project, the snacks in the break room) happen when one part of our brain effectively hijacks the other. We go into automatic pilot (and unfortunately the pilot in question has a penchant for shoes, Facebook and cookies!). Researchers suggest that we can override this system by charging up the other. That is, slow down and focus on the moment at hand. Think about your breathing. Bring yourself back to this moment in time, feel the compulsion but don’t act on it yet. Try telling yourself, “If this feeling is still just as uncomfortable in 10 minutes, I’ll act on it.” Take a little time to be mindful – then make your decision.

2. Dream of ‘done.’

Imagine yourself handing in the big project, soaking up the appreciation from your colleagues or boss. Or crossing the finish line for the half-marathon you’ve always wanted to run. The rush, the aliveness, the wind on your face, the medal …

That’s a lot more fun and motivating to think about than how much work it is to get out of bed for your long, Sunday morning run!

Re-orient your brain by summoning more motivating feelings than just “not running this morning is more enjoyable than running this morning.” If your goals are meaningful, this will help.


3. Make your toughest choices first.

Scientists have found that willpower is like a full bathtub that’s drained throughout the day. So, why not start your toughest challenges when you have a full reserve? Get that project started or fit that workout in before you even check your email or have breakfast. Bonus: the high you’ll get from crossing off your hardest ‘to-do’ will help you sail through the rest of your day.

4. Progress = commitment, not a license to backslide.

A lot of times people will ‘cheat’ right after taking positive steps towards their goals. (A common version of this trap is, “I worked out three days in a row, so I deserve this cookie.”) Most of us can relate to this thinking – but it’s totally irrational! We’ll often trick ourselves into setbacks because we think we deserve them, even if we don’t really want them and deep down we know they’ll work against us in the long-run.

How can you counteract this effect? Research finds that if you use your positive streak to recommit (“If I worked out three days this week, I must be really committed to my health and fitness goal!”) rather than an excuse for wiggle room, we don’t take the same cheat options. Cool, right?

5. Meditate.

Meditation is an expressway to better willpower. Bringing your attention to your breathing for 15 minutes, or even five, flexes your willpower muscles by applying discipline to your thinking. It does this by working two mental ‘muscle groups’: first, the set of muscles that notice when your attention is drifting, and second, the set of muscles that bring you back to your task at hand. Over time, even small amounts of meditation will help you build the discipline to easily do what was once hard – like pushing through a long stretch at work.

6. Set mini-goals.

Which seems more doable: committing to three 20 minute runs this week or a half-marathon? Mini-goals are brilliant because they’re easier to achieve and boost your commitment to continuing. When we size them up, we see them as achievable rather than daunting. Each time you succeed at one, it boosts your sense of efficacy and personal integrity: not only are you capable of doing what you set out to do, but you followed through on it. Nice.


The beauty of mini-goals is that over time, mini-goals – and the momentum you’ve built by doing them – can quickly turn into super-goals. So that half marathon might be more likely to happen, and sooner and more easily than you think!

7. Eat.

Low blood sugar decreases your ability to make tough decisions. If you’re running on empty physically, you’ll also be running on empty mentally. (Yes, this one’s somewhat ironic if your goal involves changing food patterns – but even so, letting your blood sugar drop too far will only sabotage you over time.)

8. Sleep.

Research shows people who don’t get enough sleep have a tough time exercising their willpower. Sleep is critical for a healthy brain – along with just about everything else. So to optimize your willpower muscle, make sure you’re catching your zzz’s.

9. Nix the self-sabotage.

Making yourself feel bad hurts, rather than helps, your willpower efforts. Researchers have found that compassion is a far better strategy than tough love – telling yourself “It’s OK, everyone has setbacks sometimes,” will help you bounce back more quickly than negative self-talk.

10. Take the first hard step.

As a new behavior becomes a habit, it is more natural. You have to use less and less willpower to ‘make it so.’ When you’re starting a new pattern that feels hard, remind yourself that the first steps are truly the hardest. It will probably never feel harder than it does in those first few choices. In the case of repeated behaviors, like exercise or saving money, it takes weeks for new habits to take hold. By that point, the habit will be so ingrained, you’d have to try hard not to do it.

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