5 daily habits of women who are in total control of their lives

I subscribe to Forbes (I especially enjoy the stories on ForbesWomen), and I remember an article about how successful people have what’s called a “Locus of Control (LOC).”

A locus of control defines who we view as responsible for our successes and failures, says Forbes writer Melody Wilding. “[It’s about] the extent to which a person feels they are in control of events that can affect their life, well-being, or success. 

Wilding says that when we feel that someone or something else is in control of our existence and the things that happen to us, we have what‘s described as an external locus of control. 

Throughout history, women have felt an external locus of control. Even though most of us in the Western world are in charge of our lives in this day and age, we can still sometimes (or a lot of time) feel compelled to succumb to the patriarchy and put our own needs last. 

So how do women keep a hold on that locus of control in their lives? 

They stay committed to their autonomy and right to be masters of their destiny—and it’s ingrained in the things they do every single day. 

Here are five habits of women who are in total control of their lives. 

1) They make a commitment to making themselves happy—every day 

This doesn’t mean women in control of their lives forgo romantic relationships—it just means they don’t expect their partner to be responsible for their happiness.  

If they choose to be in a relationship, they appreciate someone who adds to their life and is pursuing their own passions and responsibilities. 

Women in control of their lives also don’t rely on their partner to take care of them financially.

In the wise words of the tough-talking Judge Judy during an appearance on The Ellen Show: “A woman has to equip herself to be financially independent,” she says. 

“Once a woman gives up her financial independence to a mate, it’s over. Because there’s not a sense of equality there anymore. You don’t have to necessarily use your craft or have a career [that’s a personal choice], but you do have to be prepared.”

She continues: 

“If you’re not prepared, then that means you’re stuck. And then those women have to accept lifestyles that are unpleasant because they are financially stuck.

“Teach your daughters, teach your granddaughters: Everyone has to have something that they’re good at where they can earn a living. Not everyone is going to be a millionaire, but you have to learn how to make a living.”

2) They pursue their own passions and dreams day after day—and allow themselves to accept any accolades 

One of my favorite films of recent years is a 2017 movie The Wife with Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. 

Joe and Joan Castleman are a couple who have been married for almost 40 years. They are complements and opposites of one another. Joe is casual; Joan is elegant. Joe is vain; Joan is self-effacing. Hailed as a great American novelist, Joe loves to be in the limelight. Joan is private and stays in the shadows of her husband’s success. 

The movie begins with Joe finding out that he is to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his prolific body of work. This news and events tied to the prize sets Joan off on a phase of reflection of the compromises, secrets, and betrayals that she has endured in order to ensure her husband’s success. 

In a twist of events, we find out that Joan had actually ghostwritten a major portion of Joe’s novels. But because she came of age at a time when opportunities weren’t given to female writers—something that deeply disheartened her and made her give up on her dream prematurely. 

The movie is based on a book by Meg Wolitzer who says that while the story is not based on a true story, the novel is an attempt to portray the sexism that still exists today, especially within the publishing and literary world.

Our passions are what gives us purpose in life and many women around the world—even in this day and age—continue to fight for the right to pursue their own.  

“It’s part of the meaning of life. Passion is the key to your self-motivation,” says Maggie Wooll from Better Up. “Tapping into your passions will motivate you to keep learning, develop new skills, and stay excited.”

3) They make it a point to have some “me time” every day 

Women who are in control of their lives enjoy their own company and they make sure to spend a part of each day focused on themselves. This can include meditating, reflecting, and just spending some time in solitude—such as going for a walk— as a way to just be. 

“Having time for yourself gives you the chance to break free from social pressures and tap into your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences,” says Kendra Cherry from Very Well Mind

These women tend to have a high focus on personal exploration. “[This] can give you the time and freedom to truly explore your own passion without interference,” Cherry says.

“This can be wanting to try new things, research topics that fascinate you, acquire knowledge, and even practice new methods of self-expression.”

Cherry explains that giving yourself alone time means that you can explore these things without the pressures and judgements that others may impose. “Instead of worrying about the needs, interests, and opinions that may have, alone time lets you focus on yourself.”

4) They take their health and physical fitness seriously—every single day 

if you really want to live a healthy life say goodbye to these habits 5 daily habits of women who are in total control of their lives

Women in control of their lives are cognizant of what they eat and they make conscious decisions about choosing and making nutritious meals. 

They try to eat healthy foods as much as they can and they allow themselves to indulge in their favorites once in a while. 

When you are in control of your diet, the rest of your life feels more controllable, says Amy Roskelley from Health Beet

“I have found when I can get my food under control, I have more control over other areas of my life, and that’s the easier path for me to take,” she says.

Daily exercise also empowers women to feel in control of their lives. 

I’m reminded of the Apple+ series, Physical. The dark comedy show, set in 1980s San Diego is about a quietly tormented housewife Sheila Rubin (played by Rose Byrne) battling personal demons and a harsh inner critic. 

Things begin to change in Sheila’s life when she discovers aerobics, and this instigates an evolution toward personal empowerment and success. She finds that taking control of her fitness is a way to take control of her life. 

Women who are in control of their life see their self-care as non-negotiable. This includes proper rest and relaxation and taking routine breaks from tasks. 

5) They say “no” like there’s no tomorrow

Women who are in control have firm boundaries about what they will and will not accept in their life.

This can mean saying the word “no” a lot—sometimes on a daily basis. 

Saying no is a way to protect themselves from people who have a habit of making them feel uncomfortable, says Lana Goes from Tiny Buddha

“Correcting troublesome behavior and letting other people know what’s acceptable or not, where we stand and what we are willing to tolerate drastically improves our sense of self,” she says. 

Setting boundaries helps us to trust ourselves and it helps us treat ourselves—and others—with respect and dignity. “It teaches us what’s essential for us and gives us the courage to stand up for it. It [also] builds our confidence as we work on our assertiveness muscle.”

Sometimes being in control means letting go of control…

Being in control of your life means finding the balance between what you can and cannot control, says Lyn Christian, author, TedX speaker, and founder of SoulSalt

“It means understanding what you can control, and taking 100% responsibility for those things.”

If you’ve tried your best with something and it still hasn’t worked out, let go and move on. Maybe the timing isn’t right or there’s something better for you on the horizon. 

Learn to let go of what you can’t control.




Picture of Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur is a Toronto-based journalist whose work has been published by The Globe & Mail, ELLE USA, ELLE Canada, British Vogue, Town & Country, and others.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.