User Reviewed

How to Be Responsible

Two Parts:Developing Responsible SkillsDeveloping Responsible Habits

Though everyone dreams of riding into the sunset in a convertible and throwing caution in the wind, you can only be James Dean for so long. The truth is that behaving responsibly adds meaning to our lives and allows us to develop character, forge meaningful relationships, and get ahead in the work world. Remember that pet turtle who died because you forgot to feed him? Let's not let that happen again. If you want to learn how to be responsible, just follow along.


  1. Image titled Be Responsible Step 1
    Understand that responsibility is earned. It's not something you're entitled to. If someone is hesitant to give you additional responsibility, it's probably because you've been nonchalant with the responsibilities you already have. You might think, "But the responsibilities I have now are so petty/boring/stupid/etc., and if I'm given more of a challenge, I will take it more seriously," but that's a characteristic of irresponsible people; they do things as long as they're challenging, fun, and new, and when that fades, they lose interest.
  2. Image titled Be Responsible Step 2
    Whether you're at work, school, or an extra-curricular, you have to prove that you can handle the smaller stuff before you're given more responsibility.
  3. Image titled Be Responsible Step 3
    Stop making excuses. In any situation, there are always some factors we can't control. Irresponsible people tend to shift the blame onto those factors, and vocalize them as excuses. Anytime you make an excuse, it's like saying "I am not responsible for this because..." and what you're really saying is "I am not responsible." Pay attention to how you think and talk: do you find yourself making excuses? Excuses come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common is "I would/would've, but...".
    • The next time you catch yourself in the middle of an excuse, change your words. Instead, admit why you really didn't get that thing done. Were you too lazy, too tired, or just feeling like doing something more fun? It's okay to admit it. In fact, it's best to admit your real reasons for not doing something before you move on.
  4. Image titled Be Responsible Step 4
    Admit your mistakes. Making the most of a mistake is a double-whammy of responsibility. Not only does this transform time that was otherwise wasted into a valuable, course-altering experience, but it keeps you from wasting future time by ensuring that you don’t repeat yourself. One of the key parts of accepting responsibility is being able to say, "I really messed up here. I won't do it again."
    • The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, remind yourself about what you did wrong the last time, and make sure you don't go down that path again.
  5. Image titled Be Responsible Step 5
    Stop blaming other people for your problems. Another way to accept responsibility is to stop putting the blame on everyone around you. Keep telling yourself that you failed your math test because you didn't study, not because your teacher hates you; you cheated on your boyfriend because you chose to do so, not because he wasn't giving you enough attention; you were late to work because you didn't get out of the house early enough, not because of the horrible traffic. Sure, life isn't fair, and unfortunately, some people have it rougher than others. You can blame your parents for not loving you enough and leading you down a dark path to an extent, but you won't be able to change the course of your life until you own up to your actions and try to change them.
  6. Image titled Be Responsible Step 6
    Stop complaining. Complaining is another useless habit of the irresponsible person. If you do nothing but complain about your boss, about the weather, or about the ridiculously high prices of lattes at Starbucks, you won't get yourself very far. Complaining is another way of blaming the world for your problems instead of taking initiative and knowing what you can change. You may not be able to change the price of lattes at Starbucks, but you can get your own coffee machine and make your morning brew on the cheap.
    • Every time you open your mouth to complain, stop yourself and say something positive instead. You'll be amazed by how much this changes your perspective.
  7. Image titled Be Responsible Step 7
    Stop playing the victim. The world is not out to get you. If you want to start being responsible, then stop thinking that everyone is out to make you fail or look bad. The police officer didn't give you that speeding ticket because he or she was determined to punish you; he or she did it because you were breaking the law. Your boss didn't decline to give you a raise because he or she wanted to see you fail; he or she did it because your performance didn't merit one, or because the company simply couldn't pay up.
  8. Image titled Be Responsible Step 8
    Accept what you cannot control. Think it's important to accept responsibility for your actions, it's equally important to understand that there are some things in life that are simply out of your control. You can't be responsible for your best friend's drinking problem; you can't be responsible for the failure of your entire company unless it's single-handedly your fault; you can't be responsible for your irresponsible roommate's failure to pay the rent in a timely fashion. Focus on the things that you can control, and don't try to fix all of the problems in the world, or you'll just be headed for a headache.

Part 1
Developing Responsible Skills

  1. Image titled Be Responsible Step 9
    Practice self-discipline. If you want to be responsible, then you need to practice self-discipline. This doesn't mean you have to have the work ethic of a rocket scientist or the routine of a military cadet, but it does mean that you have to be able to know how and when work is done, and not to blow off any important tasks in favor of having fun. To be self-disciplined, you have to set goals and meet them without getting distracted. Make a manageable to-do list every day and try to complete as many tasks as you can.
    • Reward yourself for completing difficult tasks by going out and doing something fun. Don't stop having fun just to be disciplined.
  2. Image titled Be Responsible Step 10
    Remind yourself of the end game to stay motivated. Be sure to study for your biology test is no fun, but think of how great you'll feel when you get an 'A' in the class -- and how much that will help you meet your ultimate goal of becoming a doctor.
  3. Image titled Be Responsible Step 11
    Learn to deal with the hard stuff. If you want to be truly responsible, then you need to know how to deal with all of life's challenges, not just with passing your next math test. This means knowing how to behave when tragedy or hardship strikes. You'll have to be responsible in the face of devastating news, keep your cool, and be a support system for the other people who need you. And even if the situation isn't devastating, but truly stressful, like the failure of a major project at work, you have to learn how to keep it together during a tough situation.
    • Learning to deal with the hard stuff takes practice. You won't be able to deal with a tough situation on the first go around. But as you develop as a person, you'll learn how to stay calm and think rationally in the middle of a crisis.
  4. Image titled Be Responsible Step 12
    Multitask like a champion. Multitasking is another crucial skill of a responsible person. If you want to be truly responsible, then you have to be able to juggle all of the things on your plate. Being responsible means caring for your child, succeeding at work, and remembering to pay your bills on time all in the same day. Though you can't get everything done at once, you can't completely neglect one task in favor of another.
    • When it comes to multitasking, it's important to get your priorities straight. Remind yourself that it's more important to pay your bills than to make a hair appointment, in most cases.
  5. Image titled Be Responsible Step 13
    Learn to commit. Think you shouldn't commit to something or someone just for the sake of it, you shouldn't be so commitment phobic that you can't even go to a yoga class more than once a month before you feel like it's "too much" for you. Committing to something, whether it's your work on the school newspaper or to your new healthy relationship, will help you learn to care for something outside yourself, and to develop healthy habits and routines around that thing.
    • Studies shows, for example, that high school athletes actually do better in school. The commitment to sports helps them develop a responsible daily routine that helps them get things done.
  6. Image titled Be Responsible Step 14
    Learn to manage your money. Money management is another important quality of a responsible person. If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck or wondering where your money goes each month, then you need to sit down with your bills and to make a list of all of the things you really don't need to spend money on. Being responsible with your finances helps you plan ahead, learn moderation, and keeps you from being impulsive.
    • Plan a monthly fun budget. Let's say you can afford to spend $350 on fun stuff each month. Keep that in mind every time you go out to eat, buy concert tickets, or have a random night out with friends. If you run out by the end of the month, you may have to plan alternate nights in for a while.
    • Ask yourself about what you really need to vs. what you really want to ask yourself is, do you need a new dress for a special occasion, or to change the oil in your car instead?
  7. Image titled Be Responsible Step 15
    Be consistent. Your responsibility won't mean much if it's hit or miss. If you want to be responsible, then you have to find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Don't just study for ten hours in a row and then give up on studying for three weeks; instead, spend one hour every day or two looking over the course material. Don't call your friend back right away for a few days when she needs you and then fall off the grid for a few weeks; instead, call her back within a day or two, if it's really important.
    • Being consistent will help you establish a routine that will help you get things done.
  8. Image titled Be Responsible Step 16
    Being reliable, it's part of being responsible person that other people can depend on. If people never ask you for rides or for help after school or work because they just know you'll flake on them, say you'll help and then forget about it completely, or that you're just not the kind of person they can trust with even the most simple tasks, then you may have a problem. Work on sticking to your word and being a person that others can actually depend on.
    • If you want people to really take you seriously and see you as a responsible person, then you have to give rides when you say you will, show up when you say you'll be there, and make people think of you as a person who has his or her act together.
  9. Image titled Be Responsible Step 17
    Take serious feedback. It's part of being a responsible person, It's also being open to criticism and acknowledging when someone has given you valid feedback that can help you improve as a person. If you want to be responsible in school, listen to your teachers when they tell you where you can improve. If you want to be responsible at work, then listen to your superiors when they mention areas that you need to work on. If your friends mention a flaw you can address in a reasonable manner, then don't just brush them off because you think you've got it all covered.
    • Feedback can help you to be more responsible person and to manage your stuff better.

Part 2
Developing Responsible Habits

  1. Image titled Be Responsible Step 18
    Start small. As with most other tasks, acting responsible,to works the best when you can get a bit of momentum going. If you feel crushed under a backlog of responsibilities, start with a few small or fast tasks. Being able to cross them off your list will make you feel as though a weight has been lifted, making you more enthusiastic about moving on to bigger responsibilities. Before you know it, being responsible will make you feel good and add value to your day.
  2. Image titled Be Responsible Step 19
    Make a list of all of the ways in which you want to be more responsible, of being a better friend, taking better care of your car, being a better student, watching over your goldfish more carefully. Start with Goldie and work your way up.
  3. Image titled Be Responsible Step 20
    Help others. Helping other people achieve their goals, or even just helping others by making them feel better, is a great way to develop a habit of a responsible person. Once you've got yourself covered, you should make a goal of helping out your grandparents, your other elders, your friends, or even people in your community that need your help. Making this a weekly thing can help you become dependable and to develop a schedule that you have to stick to. Looking out for other people will help you become more responsible.
    • Just remember that you should only go out and help others after you feel that you have covered all of your own responsibilities. Don't rush out and start working at a soup kitchen if you can barely get your homework or chores done.
  4. Image titled Be Responsible Step 21
    Avoid procrastinating. This is the ultimate characteristic of the irresponsible person, and you want to avoid it like the plague. If you have a big exam coming up this week, then spend all week preparing for it; or even start reviewing a few weeks in advance. Don't stay up late the night before, overdosing on Red Bull until you start seeing spirits dancing before your eyes. Make a game plan for tackling your goal early, and chip away at it a little bit at a time.
    • This goes for the small stuff, to big. Even if you don't want to mow the lawn or call your friend back, a responsible person does what he said he'd do because he said he would. Period. If you want to be seen as more responsible, think about the responsibilities you already have and take them more seriously, no matter how pointless they might seem. Consider it a way to pay your dues.
  5. Image titled Be Responsible Step 22
    Take initiative. When you see something that need to be doing or needs to change, don't wait for somebody else to do it; be the one to make a positive difference. Taking charge will make you feel powerful, which will spill into and improve many other aspects of your life. Of course, don't jump into something that makes you go in way over your head, but take charge when you know you can handle it, not just when no one else will. This "go better" habit will get you ahead in work and school.
    • If your roommate didn't do any of the housework, don't wait around for them to do it. Do it yourself and have a conversation about it later.
  6. Image titled Be Responsible Step 23
    Become a goal-setter. Set a few goals that you want to achieve. They could be long term, like becoming a doctor, more abstract, like becoming a better friend, or more short-term, like making your bed every day or running a 5K within a month. Whatever they are, write them down, and come up with a plan for how exactly you will tackle them. This is a great habit and it will help you keep your eyes on the prize and to see what it is you have to do. If you don't have any goals, you won't have nearly as much motivation to lift a finger.
    • Put these goals on an index card you keep in your wallet, or hang them above your desk, let them inspire you, not pressure you.
    • Set realistic goals, of course, don't say you want to be President of the United States in the next four years.
  7. Image titled Be Responsible Step 24
    Develop a daily routine. The responsible person has a daily routine that works for them. Wake up around the same time every day and go to bed around the same time every night. Try to eat around the same hours. Work out in regular intervals, instead of running for a few fitful days and then couch surfing for weeks. Pick the best time to get certain work done, to answer emails, to read, and to do housework. If you try to do it all haphazardly, it will feel a lot more overwhelming and will take longer.
    • Having a daily routine will help you manage your work and play better and will make you more on top of your game.
    • You don't have to stick to the routine in an obsessive fashion if you have something else coming up, but keep things as regular as you can.
  8. Image titled Be Responsible Step 25
    Be responsible for your possession. This is another move of the responsible person. Make sure you lock your car, keep it filled with gas, and remember where you parked it. Label all of your notebooks and keep them safe in your locker. Keep your keys on a thick keychain on your person. Keep a case for your sunglasses and tell yourself that if you lose them, you won't replace them for six months so you learn your lesson.You can't be a responsible person if you have to replace your laptop, phone, and other possessions every six months.
    • Keep your computer away from hot drinks, and don't play on your laptop outside an "up and coming" cafe; stay inside, where you are protected.
    • Get the "Find my iPhone" app and make sure you can lock or wipe your Apple devices if someone steals them.
  9. Image titled Be Responsible Step 26
    Aim going to show up early everywhere. Around 5 minutes early works best.
    • Letting people see you get too intoxicated will also make them see you as unreliable and will make them less likely to respect you or think you can handle responsibility.
    • A classic responsible person is on top of his correspondences. This makes you look like you're not juggling 80 million different tasks at all times and don't have your act together.


  • Think of the consequences of irresponsibly. Will you lose your prefect's title? Will you lose a chance of a lifetime? The consequences keep you going on.
  • Make sure you are organized.
  • Take care of yourself and stay out of other people's business and keep yourself out of trouble and stay focused in school.
  • Speak up when you believe something isn't right or if you think you should say something that might make the situation better.
  • Responsibility isn't a way of saying you can't have fun, it's a way of saying the fun can wait, or it isn't right.
  • If you're out with friends at night,set yourself a specific time to be back .
  • Inactivity leads to irresponsibility. People who are involved in day to day activities are more responsible than people who spend the whole day doing nothing productive. Start becoming aware and involved with the happenings in your home or workplace, and then you will automatically be more responsible
  • Get back home a little bit before your curfew.
  • Avoid burnout. If tackling life’s challenges is new to you, you might overdo it, exhaust yourself, and use that as a reason to justify taking further action. Pace yourself and keep your sights set on the long haul.
  • Make sure that if your Mom ever asks you to do a list of chores, doesn't mean you have to do them all at once.
  • Avoid being messy and clean up after yourself.
  • Make sure you are always polite and are always kind to everyone including people who are not very nice to you more some one else. Remember you are always important!!
  • Be responsible in school by doing your homework and studying for tests and quizzes.
  • If your goal is to be responsible for school, always complete your homework on time and if possible, complete it earlier than the night it was given. In addition, always go to school early and visit extra help when you need it (teachers will appreciate it).
  • Get a pet whether its just a neon tera to a new puppy pets are always a great way to build responsibility.


  • Remember that life is unfair. If you truly are persecuted and abused because of your race, class, beliefs, what side of town you live on, etc., you may not be able to completely correct the situation, but don't quit just because you have bad luck. There is always a choice. How far you will go to right or wrong is up to you, but remember there is always power and dignity to be had, if you earn it. Don't quit on yourself or your dreams. Your dream(s) are your dream(s) ONLY and no one can take them from you. You may start from a bad place, and you will make some mistakes, but you are not a mistake yourself. Forgive yourself and earn trust and respect, because the world will only improve bit by bit if you make it so. Assisting your community and volunteering for your community works, too.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Goal Realization & Problem Solving