As a personal life and business coach I work with many people that struggle to maintain some semblance of control over their lives both personally and professionally. I hear comments of: " I never have control over what matters..." or "I can't seem to get control my time..." or "My life or business is out of control!" The first question I usually ask is: "What do you have control of?" It is amazing, the response is often a great silence, and then I usually get another list of what is out of control, and then I ask this question: "Of all the people in your life, over whom do you have complete control?" This is when a light comes into their voice and they realize that the only person over whom they have true control is themselves, and the "what" they have control of is their own thoughts and actions.

Think about your own situation for a moment. Each of us has total control over our own persons, our actions, reactions, thoughts, attitudes and most of all our happiness. This is a huge area of control, and one that can make a real difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us. We are very fortunate as well, that as human beings, we have been given the gift of two wonderful tools to help us exercise our control.

The first tool of control is our ability to choose. We can choose our attitude. It takes just as much effort to choose to be happy as it does to choose to be sad. We can choose our friends, how we spend our time. We can choose to be giving, or not. We can even choose how we act and react. Of course there are learning curves for everything in life, but as we choose different actions and reactions, we learn what works for us as a person and why. Choice is a great gift, I ask that you consider the responsibility that comes with the gift and also the impact your choices have on you and the world around you. If you do not like the result of your choices, there is usually a next time and you can choose differently!

To explain the second tool of control, I want to share a quote with you that I obtained from the wonderful book by John C. Maxwell entitled "Thinking For A Change". The quote is from an unknown source but it resonated with me so strongly I felt it was worth including in its entirety: "I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half of the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed-you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men; and alas, of all great failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man. You may run me for profit or run me for ruin-it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I? I am a habit!"

Yes, the second tool is our ability to make or break habits. We can choose habits that support and nourish us, our families and our businesses, or we can choose those that hinder us. They say it takes 33 repetitions to create a new habit. I offer this process as a method to create or change habits. First: Create Clarity around what you want the habit to be. Second: Understand why you want this habit and what positive things it will support or pain it will eradicate. Third: Build Awareness of when you want the habit to kick in and how. Fourth: Create Reminders for yourself. Fifth: USE it to build the muscle of the new habit you created. Give yourself room for the new habit to form and strengthen. If you forget to use it, maintain awareness and put some stopgaps in place so you will not forget the next time. Just like building any muscle, repetition is the key to success!

Coaches Challenge: Take back control over some area of your life, business, actions or attitudes. Employ the tools you have been given. Try the process of Clarity, Understanding, Awareness Reminders and Repetition. Make your habits work for you!

Make it a breaking habit month!

With Energy,