What you can do to strengthen your autonomy

Autonomy has a considerable influence on our well-being and vitality, so then how could you strengthen your autonomy, here are some suggestions.

Accept that you are your own person and that your wants and opinions matter

Before anything else and most importantly, it could be revitalizing to fully acknowledge that you as an individual, your person and your preferences, matter and are valuable.

So then it is perfectly reasonable that you could be and would want to be autonomous, to a relatively high degree.

Autonomy is a good thing.

Seek autonomy in all your life areas

Pursue autonomy in all areas, in your job, your leisure, relationships. Usually, the more skills and competencies you have in a particular area, the more autonomy you will gain.

The more skilled you are in your specific area, the more you will be able to contribute, and the more influence you will have.

The more proficient you are in a specific work role, the more others will be comfortable with letting you take care of specific projects and responsibilities.

Then seek to develop these competencies and you’ll be more autonomous.

Be willing to make a change

In order to be autonomous, it may at times be necessary to make a change and remove yourself from that which is not willing to allow for some degree of autonomy.

Then perhaps don’t tie yourself too hard to any one specific skill, state, activity, goal, house, job, pet, city or anything else that you may feel an attachment to.

Remain willing and able to make a change, it is sometimes the best way to go.

Seek out opportunities

The more options you have, the more autonomous you will be, so try to create some of those opportunities, opportunities that will become viable options in time.

To keep you on track, to keep making progress, you could remember the factors of active search, optimism, knowledge and prior experiences.

These were highlighted in an academic article on how entrepreneurs can act in order to identify opportunities.

In other words, explore and search actively for opportunities, remain optimistic, seek knowledge, and make full use of the experiences that you’ve made up until this point.

Advance and develop your skill set

In order to be able to utilize opportunities, what may be the most important for you in order to expand your range of viable options is that you advance and develop your skills in different areas.

These skills could be general, such as some kind of intelligence or general people skills, or they could be more specific and apply to a specific area in your life, such as skills that relate to specific job opportunities.

The idea is that the more skills you have and the more trades you know, the more options you will have, and the more autonomy you will gain.

As an example, if you for some reason happen to be a skilled programmer, a skilled bartender, and a psychologist, then you’d have plenty of opportunities to choose from.

You could streamline the interviewing process at some company, you could work at that hip new bar, or you could utilize your programming skills to help that start-up create that new innovative app they’re after.


So to recap, since autonomy is very important, assume responsibility for your autonomy.

Some of the major areas to work on are:

  • Recognizing that you matter
  • Pursuing autonomy in all areas throughout time and space
  • Being willing to make a change
  • Seeking out opportunities, and
  • Advancing and developing your skill set

Further readings:

  • Breaugh, J.A., 1999. Further investigation of the work autonomy scales: Two studies. Journal of Business and Psychology. (about autonomy in the workplace)
  • Reis, H.T., Sheldon, K.M., Gable, S.L., Roscoe, J. and Ryan, R.M., 2000. Daily well-being: The role of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Personality and social psychology bulletin. (about the effect of autonomy on well-being in general)
  • Patrick, H., Knee, C.R., Canevello, A. and Lonsbary, C., 2007. The role of need fulfillment in relationship functioning and well-being: a self-determination theory perspective. Journal of personality and social psychology. (about autonomy in relationships)