Monday, December 21, 2009

Making Better Choices

I believe many of us do not actively choose what we want in our lives. Let me give you a personal example. For years I simply went with the flow, so to speak. It was if I was in a rowboat, with no oar, out on the river of life. I went wherever the river took me and unfortunately it took me to some pretty depressing places. One area that was particularly challenging was choosing a career. I always took the path of least resistance, usually abdicating any choice I had, especially if it involved a difficult decision.

It just seemed easier to live for each day, and never worry about planning for the future. I took whatever jobs I could find, and thus usually ended up working somewhere that I didn't enjoy at all. Then one day I realized that there actually was an "oar" in my boat that I could use to "row" to wherever I wanted to go. At that point things began to improve. In essence, I started to make better choices in all areas of my life. It didn't happen overnight, but gradually I became more proficient at the planning and decision-making processes that lead to a better, more enjoyable life. Here are a few ideas I encourage you to experiment with in your own life:

1. Start noticing the choices you are making on a daily basis. Many times each day you are faced with choices. It may be something as simple as, "What will I have for breakfast?" Or it may be a bit more complicated, like, "What actions should I take today to make my business a success?" You are literally making thousands of choices a day. Are they taking you closer to the life of your dreams, or are they keeping you in a place that you're not entirely happy with? Carefully watching your thoughts around the daily choices you are making is a good place to start.

2. Realize that you always have a choice about how you respond to something or someone. Each and every event in our lives is neutral, in and of itself. It is how we respond to the event that creates our experience of it. If you feel that you do not have a choice in a situation, then take a closer look. You may be faced with alternatives that are difficult to accept, or maybe you have just overlooked some possibilities. Reconsider your options and/or brainstorm some new solutions. During the next situation that presents itself; don't just "react." Stop and think about how you would like things to turn out, and then "respond" in a way that will help you achieve the desired outcome.

3. Understand that over time your choices influence who you are.
Each morning you wake you have a choice to make. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. Each time something bad happens, you can choose to be a victim or you can choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to you complaining, you can choose to accept their complaining or you can help them see other possibilities. Over time these little choices become part of your personality and the essence of who you are. Ask yourself, "Am I becoming the person I've always wanted to be?" If not, decide what needs to change and get the help and support needed to make it happen.

4. Recognize that what you focus on is a choice. Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Do you worry about failing instead of focusing on the rewards of success? You do have a choice about what you focus on in life. Begin to notice how you focus you thoughts on a regular basis. Do you see a constructive of destructive pattern?

5. Realize that to a great extent you choose your own limits in life.
If you're 7 feet tall, or weigh 200 lbs, then chances are you won't be able to be a professional jockey. But in many areas of life people choose to practice self-imposed limited thinking. You can be and do so much more than you currently believe is possible. It's your choices and decisions that hold you back for the most part. Think about an area of your life where you may have chosen a self-imposed limitation that you are unhappy with. Then go out and get the help and assistance necessary to break through that limiting belief.

6. Practice, practice, practice. Learning to make choices is a skill that improves with practice. The more choices you make in life the easier it gets. Why not take the opportunity to make as many conscious choices as possible in the upcoming week?

7. Having a choice is a choice. Realize that you have the power to change many things in your life. You must first decide that you want to change. You can choose right now that you will be a person that takes responsibility for the choices they make. Don't let your life run on automatic pilot. Begin to take control of your future by making choices that lead you towards your goals, dreams and desires. The famous Psychologist Carl Jung once said, "I am not what happened to me; I am what I chose to become."

About the Author: Kim Smith is a Life Coach who passionately helps people learn and master the skills and strategies they need to experience the peaceful, happy, satisfying lives they want and deserve. Find out more at

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