I always wanted to learn how to overcome passivity, since I used to have quite a big tendency to procrastinate and sometimes, I even avoided doing the things I love, because I often doubted myself. That’s why, most of the time, I didn’t take responsibility for my actions and I chose to do nothing at all rather than dealing with the possible consequences of a failure. This is until one day, when I realized that I was actually sabotaging myself and I had to do something in order to correct my behavior. While I did my research for this article I found a very interesting definition of passivity, which apparently is “a compulsion or learned tendency to live at half-speed which ultimately leaves people feeling their glass is half-empty and thus half-heartedly committing to projects, plans and goals.” Once I realized I have a problem, I tried to do something about it and this is how I discovered what assertiveness means and I started working towards becoming the person I always wanted to be. I am still doing this, but I can definitely say that I’ve learned a lot of things about how to overcome passivity, things I want to share with you in this little article. I hope that my tips will motivate you enough to get rid of this dysfunctional behavior.
1. Asses Your Behavior
One of the first steps you should take if you want to learn how to overcome passivity is to understand why you tend to be so passive by assessing your behavior. What makes you act in such a passive way? Do you lack encouragement from other people? Are you lazy or do you tend to procrastinate too much? Does the way you currently behave help you in any way to accomplish your goals or to even fulfill your smallest dreams? You should first answer all these questions and pay attention to the fact that most of the time, the causes of your passivity may be combined, so you’ll have to solve more problems at once in order to correct your behavior.
2. Gain Willpower
Willpower is this wonderful thing that will help you achieve all your goals by being able to control your thoughts and actions. You’ll only gain it by practicing a couple of exercises to boost your willpower and you’ll see that the more you practice it, the more you’ll enjoy it. You could start by trying to achieve small term goals, like writing half of that important essay you don't have to turn it until Monday or study for 20 minutes for that big test you have to take next week. These small victories will motivate you to keep going and to try to do everything in your power to reach all your objectives.
3. Have Hope
Don’t get discouraged too quickly if you can’t see any results the next day! Learn to gain hope and be aware of the fact that if you will work hard enough, all your efforts will pay off and you will fulfill your dreams at the right time. Don’t think that you will not be able to do something if you haven’t even tried to do it, because you never know how things can turn out. So, keep your hopes up and persevere!
4. Learn to Be More Assertive
In order to overcome your passivity, you should first learn what assertiveness means and how you can make it a part of your life. Try to find a balance between being too nice and standing up for yourself. Don’t be afraid that you might upset other people, because there’s nothing wrong with supporting your views as long as you do it respectfully and you take into consideration others' well-being as well. Learning to be more assertive takes time but after a while, once you practice it daily, you will feel more comfortable, more motivated to complete your actions and you will not run from responsibility either.
5. Keep a Journal
Another very helpful tip I’ll give you on how to feel less passive and more active is to encourage you to keep a journal where you can keep track of your thoughts, of your behavior and of course, of your feelings. This is the best way you can notice all the changes that usually occur in your mood. It will help you be aware of certain things that might influence these small changes that actually affect your behavior, determining you to act in a passive manner.
6. Motivate Yourself
I know this is easier said than done, but with a lot of patience and a bit of effort, you will be able to motivate yourself and focus on the goals you have to achieve. Think about your dreams, write them on little post-it notes and stick them somewhere you can always have them in sight, like on your mirror, next to your monitor or next to your bed. Make sure that your goals are reasonable and reward yourself every time you manage to accomplish every small step you need to take in order to fulfill your dreams.
7. Make a Schedule
The best way to fight passivity and to take responsibility for your actions is by becoming more organized and by making a schedule, a daily or a weekly schedule that will include all the things you’ll need to do in order to accomplish your goals. Plan everything in detail and mention the duration and place for each activity. Try to carry on your plans no matter what might happen that day, because just like Dr. Sharon Galor said, “Sometimes doing the exact opposite of what you feel like doing is the best way of dealing with the depressive symptoms.”
Sometimes it might not be that easy to work on overcoming your passivity, but someday this will come more naturally. You shouldn’t lose hope and you should never give up on fulfilling your dreams no matter how hard it might seem, because good things take time and you will feel stronger and more courageous by being more active. Do you tend to be passive? What other tips on how to overcome passivity can you share with us? I can’t wait to hear you advice, so please let us know what you think in the comments section!