Imagine being fully in charge of your life and reaching a level of personal freedom where you only have yourself to answer to.
Imagine dreaming, setting, and achieving goals.
Being independent and practicing personal autonomy is a dream that few people seem to achieve.
But, personal autonomy is more than just focusing on you and your goals. It’s self-awareness and seeing the big picture, realizing that you’re part of a community with responsibilities, privileges, and freedoms; you don’t just live to serve yourself and satisfy your needs and desires.
What Is Personal Autonomy?
Encyclopedia.com defines autonomy as “Personal autonomy refers to a person’s sense of self-determination, of being able to make choices regarding the direction of her or his own actions, including the freedom to pursue those choices. With personal autonomy, an individual is able to engage in effective self-regulation—successfully monitoring needs and values; responding adaptively to the environment, and initiating, organizing, and directing actions toward the achievement of needs.”
Personal autonomy is having the power, freedom, and self-determination to follow your heart. It’s giving yourself the gift of self-endorsement instead of living to please others and longing for their approval.
In its simplest form, personal autonomy is taking charge of your life and acting on your interests, core values, and standards.
We have two basic choices: We can keep our vision of a better, happier life before us to keep us on track and live according to our desires and personal beliefs, or conform to someone else’s beliefs.
You can live life on your terms or someone else’s. One is freedom. The other is imprisonment.
But here’s the scary part for some people: Personal autonomy requires you to take full responsibility of your life. It involves taking risks, sacrificing personal comforts now for something better later, and living with a measure of uncertainty, which isn’t easy.
Personal autonomy isn’t wreckless; it’s about making informed decisions and taking full ownership when things go wrong.
It’s also about managing yourself, controlling your feelings, and taking the initiative to make things happen (without being reminded or prodded) to unlock your best life because you know that no one will do it for you.
Personal autonomy is taking initiative and using your power to do what it takes to live the life you want and deserve.
How Personal Autonomy Strengthens Your Independence
Now that we know more about personal autonomy and what it is let’s look at ways it can help boost your independence.
Having personal autonomy means taking the initiative to manage your happiness and try new things; you don’t rely on someone or something else to be happy. You live your life and invest in your happiness.
You can start small, like trying a new restaurant or coffee shop you’ve been eyeing for a few weeks. Then, little by little, you can take more initiative and try bigger things. Maybe you get a head start on the presentation you’ve been putting off to avoid being stressed by the dreaded deadline.
You could also show initiative at work by taking on more responsibilities instead of doing as little as possible to get by; ask your boss if there are any projects you can help them with.
In your personal life, you can take the initiative to tackle that DIY project you’ve been thinking about, or by volunteering a few hours a week for a worthy cause.
Being organized doesn’t just mean decluttering and tidying things up. That’s a great start, but personal autonomy and independence go further.
Becoming independent means learning how to organize and manage your time and money (fortunately, there are a gazillion apps to make it easier).
Regarding organizing your time and structuring your day, list all that you do during a typical workday. And be sure to include any chores, errands, appointments, or events during that time. Next, move on to what you do in a typical week and month, noting how long it takes you to do each task.
An independent person structures their time and maps out their day, prioritizing what’s most important so they can remove or postpone certain tasks if things get hectic.
People talk a lot about taking ownership and being responsible, but what does it mean?
Basically, responsibility is knowing what you have to do, getting it done on time, and taking credit for your hard work. You’re reliable, fulfill your commitments, and keep your word no matter what; no excuses.
Being responsible means holding yourself accountable when things go “wrong” instead of making excuses or blaming others. Admit when you’re wrong or failed to meet a deadline; learn from the situation to improve next time.
Personal autonomy and independence go hand in hand. Some people are happy with the bare minimum and letting life happen to them. They don’t have any dreams or plans. They “wish” things were better, but that’s where it ends.
Independent people design their lives; they don’t drift. They use their freedom of choice and personal power to live on their terms and unlock their best life.