“If you had to pick one quality that someone needs to possess, what would that be?” someone recently asked me. After I was forced to give just one answer, I said, “If I had to pick just one quality, it would be to take ownership of your life.”

Yes, there are a plethora of different qualities and habits that must be developed to truly become great, but there is no better starting point than having the ability to take ownership of your life.

We live in a world where maximum results are expected with minimal effort. If something goes wrong, it’s someone else’s fault. If you’re not happy financially, it’s the economy’s fault. If you’re not happy in your marriage, it’s your partner’s fault. If you’re not being compensated as much as you would like, the company doesn’t pay enough.

Any of those sound familiar? Chances are, some hit home. It’s human nature to blame circumstances or the next person instead of confronting reality and fully take ownership of your life. However, in order to live a truly exceptional life, you must put an end to this way of thinking immediately.

So how can we, once and for all, start taking complete responsibility for our lives? Here are three ways to get you started on regularly being able to take ownership of your life.

1. Decide to Take Ownership of Your Life

It all starts with a definitive decision to take ownership of your life. It sounds simple, but there is a very small percentage of people who actually make the decision to take responsibility for their lives. They keep going back to their old ways and lose sight of the fact that they are the ones in the driver seat.

Force yourself to stop looking outside of yourself for things you are in control of. It’s a simple concept, but not easy by any stretch of the means. From here on out, make the firm decision that no single event or person is going to dictate your level of achievement. Simply making the firm decision to take ownership of your life is where it all begins.

2. Stop Playing the Blame Game

A large number of men and women from all walks of life struggle with this one, including myself from time to time. As I mentioned above, what’s easy to do is blame your partner when a relationship gets shaky. What’s easy to do is blame the government for a lack of financial success.

It’s absolutely imperative that you throw away every single excuse and start taking ownership in every area of your life. There is no way we can ever grab a hold of our lives completely when we are too caught up in the awful habit of playing the blame game.

3. Make a Promise to Yourself

Something that has worked wonderfully for me is to write a simple creed on a notecard, promising myself that taking complete responsibility for my life is something I will abide by every waking moment. It can be something as simple as, “I, Matt Mayberry, promise that I will never lose sight of taking full responsibility for my life.”

Remarkable legacies have been established, and history has been shaped by those who have dared to take ownership of their lives. Are you prepared to follow their lead? The time to take ownership of your life is now.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com