Identifying And Focusing On Factors You Can Control

Last week we talked about Shaping The Path and how learning to rearrange your external environment can help make it easier for you to make the healthy decisions you want to make.

In that post we talked about how we all have two sides of our brain - a Rational Rider and an Emotional Elephant - and that in order for both to work in sync with one another you must shape the path they travel on.

If you missed that post make you can check it out here.

Today we’re shifting the focus away from your external environment and instead back onto yourself. Specifically in identifying and focusing on the factors you can control every day, every week, every month, as you pursue your goal.

Too often we get frustrated by events and outcomes that we ultimately have no control over.

That frustration and valuable energy that you waste could instead be used to help propel you towards your goals.

By the end of today’s post you should have a clear picture as to how you can identify and shift your focus onto the factors you truly control in the pursuit of your goal.

Your Sphere of Control

As the company who works with top level professional athletes in all major sports, as well as over 50,000 coaches, Precision Nutrition knows their sh*t when it comes to nutrition, behavior change, and meeting you where you are.

The Sphere of Control is an exercise PN uses to help clients notice and name what they truly have control over in pursuit of their goals.

Here’s how it works…

  • Draw a big sphere and in that sphere write “No Control”.

  • Within that sphere draw a second, smaller sphere and inside that sphere write the words, “Some Control”.

  • Lastly draw a third, even smaller, sphere inside the second sphere and write the words, “Total Control”.

When you’re finished it should look like this…


Who’s In Control?

Right off the bat it shouldn’t be hard to identify factors you have no control over.

For example;

  • The weather

  • Traffic

  • Or what people say or think about you

As you start to work into the “Some Control” sphere, things might get a little blurry but you can still probably name a couple...

Your car and your house might be a couple thoughts here.

The “Total Control” sphere is where you might get tripped up, and thus frustrated, by factors you might find out you really don’t have much control over…

For example factors such as;

  • Your body

  • Your health

  • The food you eat, etc. etc.

I know what you’re thinking, “Now wait a minute. Are you suggesting that I don’t have control over my body, over my health, and over the food I choose to eat!?”


Think about it…

If you walked into a gym and someone decided to drop a kettlebell on your foot, how much control do you have over that situation?

Sure you could move out of the way, but what if you were talking with someone? What if you were distracted and didn’t see that person next to you?

Whoops. Sorry. Broken toes...

Or let’s say you work incredibly hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You workout 3-5 days a week, eat healthy, and get plenty of restful hours of sleep every night.

You rarely get sick, and understandably so.

What you can’t control is how the person who you just met at the coffee shop is getting over a cold and happily shared his germs with you when you shook hands.

3 days later you find yourself curled up in bed rather than hitting the weights at the gym.

So What Exactly Do You Have “Total Control” Over?

When it comes down to it you really have complete control over three things;

  1. Your thoughts

  2. Your actions

  3. And how you choose to respond to situations

A bit of a stoic approach, however it’s 100% true.

You can argue as much as you want that you might have control over more factors, but the reality is you don’t.

You can only control how you think, the actions you take and the things you say from those thoughts, and how you decide to respond or react to the situations you encounter everyday.

So why can’t you simply stop letting factors outside your “Total Control” sphere influence your thoughts, actions, and the way you respond to situations?

Because this approach is simple, but FAR from easy!

Shifting your focus onto factors you truly have control over is difficult.

You will inevitably experience situations that frustrate you, upset you, and knock you off your game…

So, how do you put this new mindset into practice?

Let That Sh*t Go

Thus far in this series we’ve talked about;

  • How you can discover your identity and the things you value

  • How you can leverage those two to create goals that have true meaning to you

  • And how you can shape the path to success by rearranging your external environment to help you make healthy decisions

While all three posts have shared some incredibly valuable pieces of information, the truth is all three will challenge some deep seeded thoughts and beliefs as to who you are, how you think, and how you act…

It’s time you Let That Sh*t Go.

Understandably so this again is simple, but far from easy. In fact it’s REALLY difficult.

So Rather than try to be perfect, try to take actions that simply slide the scale just 1% towards the “better” side of the “better” or “worse” spectrum.

Letting go of the way you’re used to operating isn’t easy. So the next question to ask might be,

How’s your current approach working for you?

While you’re thinking, make sure you check back next week when we share our final piece of the series, “Creating A Sunday Ritual’.

In that post we’ll explore how Creating a weekly routine of self feedback and evaluation can help you build small successes, stay on track, and ultimately help you achieve your goals.

If you’re making a conscious effort to become the strongest version of yourself in 2019, then make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with each post. You can check out some of our latest Instagram posts below!


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