How to Develop Personal Responsibility

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Self-awareness allows you to develop personal responsibility. Discover how to increase your sense of personal responsibility.


What Is Personal Responsibility?

Personal responsibility entails being accountable for your actions and exercising self-control. Individuals who take personal responsibility work to understand their own power and agency in a given situation. They recognize that external factors are important, but they also recognize their personal responsibility. Personal responsibility entails taking the time to figure out how you could have done things better and making plans to improve in the future, especially after mistakes. Personal responsibility also entails being able to accept credit for the positive contributions you have made.


How to Develop Personal Responsibility

You most likely began your journey with personal responsibility as a child, but you can always improve this skill. Here are a few pointers to help you develop a stronger sense of personal responsibility in your life:

1. Be prepared. Create a system for organizing your life so that you can remain most aware and situated in your responsibilities. To keep track of where your sphere of responsibility begins and ends, use planners, apps, journals, written notes, or another organizational system. If you are easily distracted, use reminders when someone assigns you a task. This way, you can balance a weakness with a strength by developing a proactive notation system.

2. Set boundaries. Know your limits and set boundaries to avoid overextending or over-committing. Understanding how to protect your own well-being is part of personal responsibility.

3. Clear communication is essential. Seek clarity and communicate your requirements to those with whom you work. Humans are social beings, and the better you understand your expected role in a team or community, the better you will be able to carry out your responsibilities. Seek feedback and reflect on your own efforts as you progress.

4. Have some humility. Develop humility and the ability to honestly reflect on oneself. Being aware of your limitations and flaws is a strength, as long as you don't obsess over them. Humility enables you to respond maturely to both successes and flaws. Take pride in what you know you do well and acknowledge the other people and circumstances that enable you to perform well. Similarly, be honest about your flaws and how you can improve your relationships and how you treat others.

5. Exercise self-control. When something doesn't go as planned, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that not everything will go as planned and that mistakes are unavoidable. In these situations, it's easy to blame ourselves for everything or to blame everyone else. The truth is usually more complicated and requires time to internalize. For example, if you are hosting a gathering and someone forgets to bring the food on which you were counting, concentrate on finding solutions and extending grace. There will be time to assess how to more effectively plan in the future, but blaming someone for something that cannot be avoided at the time is not practical. You may later realize that there is a better system you can use to remind and inform people about what to bring. Rather than getting stuck in a blame game, this allows you to have an actionable solution.

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