This may seem strange for a first post on a new blog but it’s absolutely crucial to understanding the philosophy behind the Responsible Adult Club. We encourage people to take responsibility for their actions and progress rather than to be take control of situations. This subtle difference in phrasing can mean a tremendous shift in whether you see goals as achievable or unapproachable.
When starting to change things in your life, it may seem tempting to say something like “I need to take control of (insert personal challenge here).”
“I need to take control of my weight”
“I need to control my spending.”
The goals of these statements are good – to become healthier, with weight as a measure of health, or to adhere to financial objectives.
The problem comes when you go a little off track. Control is an all or nothing statement. Either you have it or you don’t. Either you’re in control or you’re not.
Control is also seen as a temporary condition. You’re only in control as long as everything is going your way. Once you’re out of control, there’s seemingly no end to it. Any amount of bad behavior can be lumped in to being out of control because you just haven’t gotten things back under control yet.
Responsibility, on the other hand, does not change simply because you’ve made a choice that did not advance your goal. It’s still your choice. There is no getting out of responsibility. It is a more permanent condition. It also covers both good and bad decisions. You are equally responsible for eating vegetables or cake, for instance.
Let’s look at the phrases we had set up before, except now we replace “control” with “responsibility.”
“I take responsibility for my weight”
“I am responsible for my spending.”
They are present tense, active statements. You already are responsible for these things. If someone puts food in front of you, it is your responsibility to choose how much of it to eat. You are (most likely) the one lifting the fork to your mouth and taking each bite. If you go out shopping, you are the one making decisions about spending your money.
This simple acknowledgement and change from control to responsibility means that you don’t get to shirk. You don’t get to pin this on someone else or some external concept like time or society or whatever.
This is your life. These are your goals. You are responsible for making them happen.