Habit 1: Be Proactive Worksheet

Improve control and focus with our Habit 1: Be Proactive Worksheet designed to help clients become highly effective people. Download for free.

By Karina Jimenea on Jul 15, 2024.


Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What does being proactive mean? 

Being proactive is one of the healthy habits that individuals should develop as they face life's challenges. As Stephen Covey (2013) explains in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, proactivity involves taking responsibility for one's life and actions. Covey emphasizes that proactivity goes beyond mere initiative. It means recognizing that our behavior is a function of our decisions rather than our conditions. 

This concept of "response-ability," or the ability to choose one's response, highlights that proactive individuals do not blame external circumstances for their behavior. Instead, they make conscious choices based on their values. Unlike reactive people, who are influenced by their environment, proactive individuals carry their own "weather" with them. This means they maintain consistent performance and attitude regardless of external conditions. 

Proactive people are driven by internalized values rather than external stimuli or social environments. They choose their responses based on these values, not feelings or circumstances. This ability is crucial for mental health practitioners to understand and teach their clients, enabling them to lead more empowered and self-directed lives.

Importance of having a proactive mindset

A proactive mindset is like preventive medicine for the mind. It means anticipating and addressing potential issues before they become serious problems. In a study conducted among students, a proactive mindset is linked to perceiving future career roles as fulfilling communal and agentic goals, positively influencing their career attitudes (Benson-Greenwald & Diekman, 2021).

By encouraging clients to adopt a proactive approach, practitioners can empower them to make positive lifestyle choices and take early action to prevent further complications or problems. 

Habit 1: Be Proactive Worksheet Template

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Habit 1: Be Proactive Worksheet Example

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How to be more proactive? 

Getting started is always the most challenging. Fortunately, we're here to share some of the ways to become more proactive:

  1. Set clear goals and break them down into actionable steps.
  2. Focus on the most essential tasks that align with your values and long-term goals.
  3. Cultivate optimism and resilience to handle challenges and setbacks.
  4. Anticipate potential obstacles and prepare solutions in advance.
  5. Own your decisions and actions, avoiding blame on external circumstances.

Additional methods are not mentioned. It is crucial to regularly reflect on and evaluate what is needed or what strategies are effective for the client.

How does our Habit 1: Be Proactive Worksheet work?

Guiding clients toward being proactive doesn't have to be a challenge. The worksheet is easy to use. You just have to follow these steps:

Step 1: Download the worksheet

First, download the Habit 1: Be Proactive Worksheet template. You may print it for clients to complete during sessions or at home.

Step 2: Write client information

Have clients write their name, sex, age, and date at the top of the worksheet. This personalizes the document and sets the stage for meaningful reflection.

Step 3: Reflect on recent events and identify proactive strategies

Guide clients to think about recent situations where they reacted instead of acting proactively. This step helps them identify patterns and areas for improvement. As they brainstorm, they can list specific actions they could take in similar situations. Encourage them to consider steps focusing on their power to change and control things.

Step 4: Answer reflection questions

Clients should answer the three reflection questions at the end of the worksheet. These questions help consolidate their learning and reinforce the importance of being proactive.

Step 5: Discuss and set goals

Review the completed worksheet with the client. Discuss their reflections and help them set realistic goals for implementing proactive behaviors daily.

When should you use this worksheet

Our Habit 1: Be Proactive Worksheet can be used by various individuals, teachers, professionals, and anyone looking to take control of their lives. It is beneficial at the beginning of new projects, during periods of change, or when facing new challenges. Here are some instances where it can be helpful:

  • School setting: Teachers can integrate the worksheet into their class and lessons to teach students the value of being proactive. This reinforces the habits of highly effective individuals and is helpful for students learning to grow academically and personally. 
  • Managing stress and challenges: The worksheet allows individuals to plan and act on their goals, reducing stress and feeling more in control. It shifts the mindset from reactive to proactive, enabling better challenge management.
  • Aligning actions with values: The worksheet encourages individuals to reflect on their values and ensure they match these values and purpose. This alignment allows focus, which helps lead a purposeful life and make decisions that are true to one's personality and beliefs.
  • Building responsibility and accountability: Completing the worksheet regularly helps individuals become more responsible and accountable for their actions. It promotes a sense of ownership and the ability to act on plans.

Your clients may use the worksheet to plan proactively at the start of a new day, week, or endeavor. It can also be helpful when feeling overwhelmed or reactive, providing a structured way to refocus and take charge.


Benson-Greenwald, T. M., & Diekman, A. B. (2021). In the mindset of opportunity: Proactive mindset, perceived opportunities, and role attitudes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 48(12), 014616722110514. https://doi.org/10.1177/01461672211051488

Covey, S. R. (2013). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. Simon & Schuster.

What does it mean to be proactive?
What does it mean to be proactive?

Commonly asked questions

What does it mean to be proactive?

Being proactive means taking responsibility for your actions and making decisions based on values rather than reacting to external circumstances.

How can one develop the habit of being proactive?

Develop the habit of being proactive by consistently choosing responses based on values, reflecting on your decisions, and practicing self-awareness.cisions, and practicing self-awareness.

What are examples of proactive behavior?

Examples of proactive behavior include planning ahead, setting personal goals, and taking the initiative to solve problems before they escalate.

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