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Control Your Destiny

Your attitude and beliefs about control over future life events are important success factors in life. The following information may give insight that will help you manage finances and health.

Nashville, Ark. – The best way to predict the future is to create it. Winston Churchill once said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Your attitude and beliefs about your control over future life events are important success factors in almost anything you do, including how you manage finances and your health.

            Internally controlled people perceive themselves as having control over the outcome of events. In other words, they believe that responsibility for outcomes is based on their personal actions. Those who are externally controlled typically perceive things to “happen” by luck, fate, or the control of powerful people. According to them, life is a game of chance.

            Locus of control (LOC) is a concept that refers to the extent people perceive how their personal behavior influences life events. It is a learned concept and is strongly related to success and achievement of personal goals. Many people with an external LOC may face more life challenges than those with internal control, or those who “plan” for the future.

            LOC can be situation specific. People are generally more internal in familiar situations, where they have some experience. In unfamiliar situations, people tend to be more external and are apt to rely on someone else’s expertise.

            When it comes to managing finances and health, internally controlled people are more likely to prepare for future life events. They usually fund a 401(k) plan and put money into savings on a regular basis. They exercise and follow an overall healthy diet plan.

            Which one are you? Are you primarily internally controlled or externally controlled? In other words, do you see yourself as having some control over future life outcomes or do you prefer to live by fate?

            LOC beliefs are generally learned in childhood from watching and following how your parents handled their finances and their health. Can you change from external to internal control? The good news is yes! Here are some ways to help you change.

  • Set small, quick goals with a high probability of success so you’ll learn to attribute positive results to your own efforts. Include a specific outcome, a timeline, and an action plan. For example, “save $50 a month by placing a dollar a day, plus pocket change, into a can or a jar” or “lose 4 pounds in 5 weeks by eliminating just 200 calories per day and exercising to burn off 200 calories”.
  • Find people who support you in your health and wealth improvement efforts and who can serve as positive role models. Ask them for guidance when needed.
  • Make a list of positive and negative events that happen in your life over the next month and describe how your actions affected the outcome.

      Carl Bard said, “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” It’s up to you!

      You can find out which type of control you have by taking an online quiz at For more information on managing your finances or improving your overall health, contact the Howard County Cooperative Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

      Anna McKinnon, a member of the Super 4-Hers Club, shared this recipe at the recent 4-H Bread and Cookie Contest. These cookies are a perfect addition to your Easter celebrations!

Chocolate Crinkle-Top Cookies

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 eggs

½ cup powdered sugar

            Microwave 1 cup chocolate chips in medium, microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at 10 to 20 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.

            Beat sugar, butter and vanilla in a larger mixer bowl until crumbly. Beat in melted chocolate. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in remaining morsels. Cover; chill just until firm. Shape dough into 1 ½-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet.

            Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes until sides are set but centers are slightly soft. Cool for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

            Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.