How to Become a More Responsible Person

Mon Nov 21, 2016

The extent to which we will accept responsibility for all our results has a significant impact on the quality of our lives.

The more responsibility we take for our results, the greater our ability to make changes necessary to achieve what we want. The word “responsibility” is defined as our ability to respond in any given situation and in any given circumstance.

When we take more responsibility for all aspects of our lives, we will:

  • Be more empowered to make better decisions.
  • Focus more on what matters most to us.
  • Easily let go of things beyond our control.
  • Be a positive influence to those we interact with.
  • Not give attention to things we cannot influence or change.

Just like any other skill, our ability to become more responsible can be developed over time with consistent focus and discipline.

How to take more responsibility in life

We must take full responsibility for all aspects of our lives.

I learned the importance of taking full responsibility for all aspects of my life from my mentor, Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles. The first principle in his book is, “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life and Results.”

In Jack’s trainings, one activity he shares to assimilate the principle of taking full responsibility is through a series of reflection statements. Participants are asked to answer statements such as:

  • If I were to take 5% more responsibility for my health, I would…
  • If I were to take 5% more responsibility for my finances, I would…
  • If I were to take 5% more responsibility for the quality of my relationships, I would…
  • If I were to take 5% more responsibility for my life, I would…

For most people, going from where they are to taking 100% responsibility for their life is a big change, and can be challenging. Therefore, by inviting people to start off by taking 5% more responsibility, it allows them to identify simple things they can do straight away and start developing the habit of becoming more responsible for all aspects of their life.

The more responsibility we’re willing to accept, the more power we’ll have to create the results we want because we won’t be controlled by someone or something externally.

5 Ways to Become a More Responsible Person

Here are five things we can do to become more responsible for everything that happens in our lives. The more we integrate these things into our lives, the more confident we’ll be, which will help us improve in the areas important to us.

  1. Become an observer of your thoughts. Everything we do or don’t do and our emotional state is affected by our thoughts. The more we’re willing to question our thoughts, the more we’ll challenge ourselves to think better, more empowering thoughts. One way to observe our thoughts is to have a regular practice of being still and in silence. This can be done through meditation or just focusing on our breathing.
  2. Respond rather than react. We’ve all had instances where we have reacted to a situation but on reflection, we wished we could have dealt with it differently. A habit that can help us respond rather than react is to have a short pause before saying or doing something whenever we’re in a challenging situation. Those extra few seconds can make a big difference because we’ll be giving ourselves a better chance to consider other options rather than going with the first thing that comes to mind.
  3. Continually ask for feedback. We don’t always know how we come across or how our words or actions may affect others. When we ask for feedback, we may get insights we’re not aware of that can help us change things we’re doing that may not be serving us.
  4. Own up to your mistakes. We all make mistakes. A responsible person owns up to what they did wrong rather than make excuses for why things did not work out. Mistakes should be seen as feedback our way hasn’t worked. They’re also an opportunity to do things differently next time.
  5. Only focus on what you can control. Instead of giving attention to things outside of ourselves and beyond our control, it’s more valuable to focus on the outcomes we can influence. The things we can control includes what we feed our minds, our thoughts, our emotions and our behaviours or actions we take. Once we align what we can control to the outcomes we want, we’ll create better results easier and faster.

The quality of our lives is directly proportional to how much responsibility we’re willing to take. As we take more and more responsibility for all aspects of our lives, we’ll find we have the power to create the results we want and design our lives exactly the way we’d like to.

Action Step: Decide on the first thing you will do this week to take more responsibility for your life. Focus on that thing for as long as is required until it becomes an integral part of who you are and how you behave.

Question: What is something else we can do to become a more responsible person?


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