Being reactive can seem like the best way to take care of things in your life, after all, when things happen you jump right on it— right? Well, I have learned there is a much better way to live and keep life running much smoother. I transformed my life from being reactive to proactive and am in a much better place. My life is far less stressful and I actually get more accomplished while feeling good about it.
What Does it Mean to be Reactive?
Living a reactive life means you wait until something happens before you react. For example, something as simple as paying bills and paying them on time. Before, I would wait until I received a termination notice before I would make the time and effort to pay the bill. Or, if I felt someone wronged me in some way I would jump in immediately defend myself. Let’s just say, I was not always the friendliest person. Another example? If I felt put on the spot, I would react immediately and make a decision without thinking about it just to get away from the situation.
What Does it Mean to be Proactive?
Being proactive means you do things in life as to avoid having to react. For example, I now set money aside for bills and I have a calendar of when they are due. I always know exactly when to pay them and do so accordingly. I also do not react when I think someone has wronged me in some way. Now, I take the time to step away to better read the situation and make sure I am clear of mind before I address the individual. Also, I no longer allow myself to feel pressured. When put on the spot, I simple let the person know I need a moment or two in order to weigh my options and make the best decision.
How did I Accomplish this Life Change?
There are many things I did, which you can do as well. Like I mentioned above, don’t wait to the last minute to get things done, step away from uncomfortable or confrontational situation to clear your head, and know it is okay to think about a decision before you make it. In addition, the following are other changes I made to improve my life from being reactive to proactive:
- I use a calendar, checklists, and /or any other organizational tools to keep me on track of daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks and events.
- I allow myself to say, “No” and don’t agree to more than I have time for.
- I set goals—realistic and obtainable goals.
- l get some sort of support system—be it a friend, family member, or even a co-worker to help me stick to my goals.
- Before I react to any situation, I stop and visualize what the result will be from my actions
- l know that I never need the approval from anyone but myself. There is nothing written anywhere that says I have to act now to please everyone. This simply will never happen no matter how hard I may try.
Once I made the change from existing in a reactive lifestyle, I began to live and thrive in my proactive one. The constant on-edge feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop slowly faded away and was replaced with the pride of getting things accomplished in my life— Finally! Things just began to fall into place and I have even been able to make a few new friends. I am no longer defensive and confrontational, which makes me at ease with others.
If you find yourself always reacting to every situation, you too me be stuck in a reactive way of life. Find what works best for you and climb out of the stress filled hole you are in and into the light of living proactive.
By Frank Lavine. Writer for PersonalityDevelopmentMastery.