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What’s In Your Control?

Updated: Mar 28

What’s In Your Control?

Zach Van Leeuwen, AMFT


When you look back on 2020 it definitely was a wild year. One that a lot of us just wanted to be over with. I’m sure many of you, like me, were hoping that when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve to usher in 2021 that things would magically change and be different. You may be experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety due to the pandemic or different economic situations. Whether you are a business-man, teacher, student, athlete, or parent everyone has been affected. To start off the new year I would like to give you a small tip, a mindset change, that will help you to calm your nerves, and let go of things that may cause additional stress. Let's identify what’s in your control.

There is a simple principle that I love, it has been a game-changer for me and in the lives of many people I've worked with. The helpful principle is this, “Focus on what you can control.” When you think back on the year of 2020 there were so many things that were going on around us we had no control over. The pandemic changed our lives in March and flipped our world’s upside down. Schools, businesses, and day to day lifestyles were shut down. Many may ask, “How can I make this simple change when there are so many things that are competing for my attention?” People act, people think, people feel, but we can’t control that. All we have power to control is ourselves. So, how can you begin to make this change to focus on what's in your control?

There is a simple activity that can help you make this mindset shift, this change in thought process. Grab a sheet of paper or open the notes on your phone. Make two lists and label them, “Things I can control” and “Things I have no control over.” When you begin to make your list you will begin to notice that the list of things that you have no control over is a lot longer than the list of things you do have control over. Overwhelming right? Well, which list are you going to give power to? Are you going to allow the things you have zero control over pester you, create more stress and amp up your anxiety? Or will you choose to focus on what you have control over - your actions, thoughts, perceptions of a given scenario, or how you respond to events that may happen in your life. Which will you give power to? Your stress and anxiety? Or will you give power to yourself and who you want to be?

If you find yourself in the category of focusing on the things you have no control over, that’s okay. We have all done it and it’s normal. I challenge you to try this simple activity, let go of the things you don’t have control over, and focus on you - and what’s in your control. May 2021 be filled with many blessings, hope, and prosperity as you begin to focus on you and what is in your control.

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