Getting back control of your life.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

I am the boss of me.
Photo courtesy of

Lost control of your life? Here are ways to get control back.

Do you ever feel like your life has gone out of controls, a train completely off the rails? If you have reached the point where you are feeling that your life is controlled by others, by fate, drugs, and alcohol or by your past, here are some ways to get control of that life back.

Make choices.

Make lots of them. If your life is out of control you can’t keep doing things the way you have been. In this situation, there are few wrong choices. Mostly the wrong choices are the ones you didn’t make. Letting others run your life sounds like the wrong choice to me. If you don’t control your life you are living for others. Let your life get out of control and Parole, probation, bill collectors, substances, and others will take over controlling your life.

If things are out of control now is the time to start making choices. Clearly being out of control is no place to stay. If the choices you have been making have taken you here then start making different choices.

Plan where you are going.

If you want to get somewhere in life you need to plan where you are going. Even if you plan only to wander you do not need to be lost. Plan to move forward and you will find that you regain control of your motion.

What would an in control life look like? What would you be doing if that life was under control? What do you need to do to get there?

Set goals. What are the things you would like to do if only you could? Make a list. Write it down so it becomes real. Keep adding to that list. What fifty or one hundred things would you like to do in your life? Prioritize that list. What are the top ten? Start working towards things on your list. Scratch off the things completed while adding to your list.

In a very short time, you will find you are steering your life in your own directions.

Pay attention to what is going on today.

Life can slip away while you are waiting for things to start.

You live life second by second, minute by minute. People lose control of today when they spend all their time staring off into the future and looking back over their shoulder at the past. Plan where you are headed for in the future but do your walking in today.

Pause as you move through your day. What is going on around you? Be conscious and intentional in your actions. Why are you doing what you are doing? Are you seeing what is around you? Do you miss out on happiness because you walk on by without stopping to notice the smiles?

Stop letting things happen to you and start making them happen.

Refuse to be a victim. Monitor your attitude and take an active part in changing what you can and accepting what you can’t change. Life is not a spectator sport. If you want a different life you need to be the one taking the action.

What one thing could you do today that might change your life? Think of the snowball effect. Small changes, little steps, taken over and over cumulatively add up to big achievements.

Stop being fake and be the real you.

Do you spend a lot of time trying to please others? Stop giving yourself away. Get honest with yourself and if others around you can’t accept you then change those in your life. Stop changing you to be a fake person to please others. People do not like fakes and you can’t fake being likable.

Be true to you or you will be fake for everyone. Being authentic is on the way to regaining control over your life.

Look for the places you give away control.

Have you picked up habits that take you places you do not want to go? Drugs, alcohol or other addictions take you over and in the process, they take your life out of control. Do you have unhealthy friends? The more time you spend with out of control people the less in control of your own life you will be. Most of the time people do not walk into your life and take control of you. Watch for the times you have handed over that control by letting your habits and other people make the decisions you should have been making for yourself.

Look for opportunities to practice your won’t power. Control of your life can slip away as you overindulge in spending too much, eating unhealthy diets and not getting to bed on time. Failure to make the hard choices and pass up the current pleasures for the long-term benefits can give your control away to bad habits. Do not let unconscious habits take control of you.

Take another look at your relationships.

If you are around overly controlling people you may need help breaking free. Which of your relationships support you being in control of your life and which relationships take over and control you?

If your lack of control is because someone else is controlling you then you may need professional help to find a safe way to break out of the cycle. Your true friends and loved ones will support you in being the best possible you. Those who control you for their own reasons are keeping your life out of control.


Too much stuff gets in the way of steering your life. What things, what people and what habits need to be removed from your life? The simple life is always more under control than the overfull life. Clean out your living space. Toss unhelpful attitudes and anything else that is getting in the way of an in control life.

You might want to check out the other posts on Self Help Skills and Self Improvement.

Is your life out of control? What steps can you take today to get back that control?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

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