Every decision you make affects your identity. “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you,” claims John Maxwell.
And those choices also become your life. As Tony Robbins says, “It’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is made.”
That begs the question: What decisions do you need to make to become the person you want to be and create the things you desire?
The choice is yours.
The Power to Choose
No one makes you choose anything…even though you may want to place blame elsewhere. No one makes you feel a certain way or take a particular action. You do that. You choose.
As a child, you decide to reject that “lazy” part of yourself when you are judged for reading instead of cleaning your room. As an adult, you chose to stop asking for what you wanted as a way to get along with your significant other. Or you decide not to work on your book project and instead do the laundry or become timid because your boss says you are too pushy and loud in meetings.
Each of these choices is your own. And each one impacts who you become and the life you live.
The Creator gave you free will and the ability to choose how to feel, what to do, what you want, how to behave, what to believe, and how to show up in the world. Look at yourself and your life, and you will see clearly the choices you’ve made to date.
If you don’t like what you see, choose again…differently this time.
You’ve Already Decided
You may consider yourself decisive or indecisive. In either case, the reality is that you are constantly deciding—choosing— something. Every moment you choose:
What to eat.
What to wear.
What to say.
How to respond.
What to do.
How to feel.
You don’t even realize you are making decisions most of the time. Even when you do, you’ve actually made a choice long before you become consciously aware that you are weighing your choices.
In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers in Australia demonstrated their ability to predict basic choices study participants made 11 seconds before they consciously declared their decisions. Simply said, the study proved participants had decided before they were aware of their choice.
So, if you call yourself indecisive, the likelihood is that you have chosen something but don’t want to own the decision. Maybe you are afraid of making the wrong choice, and so you waver, but you have, indeed, decided.
Choose Your Choices Wisely
Some internet sources estimate that an adult makes about 35,000 conscious choices each day. According to researchers at Cornell University, we make 226.7 decisions each day about what to eat alone. And then there are unconscious choices to add to the mix.
Since your choices “make you” and determine your destiny, choose your choices carefully. Don’t make tons of unimportant choices every day. Instead, focus on the important ones.
Specifically, what choices do you need to make to change what you do, how you think, what you experience, and the results you create?
Let’s break this exercise down, so it becomes easier to manage.
Your Priority Decisions
Identify specific daily or weekly choices that impact you and your life. These “priority decisions” affect how you show up, what you create, and the experiences you have. You make them all the time…over and over again.
Answer these questions, which require that you make essential choices. Remember that each option determines who you become, what you experience, and the results you get.
- What do you want to do? (For example, write a book, start a business, get married or divorced, lose 10 pounds, stand in your power, speak honestly, or buy a house in France.)
- What do you want to think or believe? (For instance, I love myself, I can do anything, I am worthy, the Universe has my back, or people are kind.)
- What do you want to experience? (For example, success, having your book on the New York Times bestseller list, getting engaged, bungee jumping, an ice bath, or receiving a standing ovation.)
- How do you want to feel? (For example, do you want to feel happy, angry, loving, excited, or peaceful?)
- How do you want to behave? (For example, confidently, curiously, patiently, boldly, or compassionately.)
- Who do you want to be? (For example, a leader, author, entrepreneur, mother, teacher, or friend.)
- What do you want to create, or what results do you desire? (For example, a financial legacy, a book, a business, to get out of debt, or to become organized.)
Everything is a Choice
Everything is a choice. You have the option to stay in an abusive relationship or get out, pursue your dream of becoming a pilot or remain in your current job, get out of bed when the alarm rings or hit the snooze button, or eat a salad or a bowl of ice cream.
You are at choice all the time. That means you always have the ability to choose, and each decision empowers you.
Choose who you want to be and what you want to have. Then your decisions about what actions to take follow naturally, and that includes what to do differently.
Decrease Your Choices
Everyone wants more options. But the more choices you have, the harder it becomes to decide.
The sheer number of choices you make daily can cause you to get a case of Decision Fatigue. Medical News Today reported, “Decision fatigue is a psychological phenomenon surrounding a person’s ability or capacity to make decisions…The theory surrounding decision fatigue is that a human’s ability to make decisions can get worse after making many decisions, as their brain will be more fatigued.” You can get Decision Fatigue from all types of decisions—large or small, simple or complex.
The effects of Decision Fatigue show up in different ways. An article in the New York Times explains it this way: “The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain.”
If you’ve been making some out-of-character decisions or avoiding making any choice at all, you’ve got Decision Fatigue. Keep in mind that not choosing is a choice.
Consider the choices you make every day, and see if you can reduce the need to make so many. This allows you to focus on your priority choices.
I know people who have a closet full of white shirts and black pants. There have no need to choose an outfit when they get dressed each day. They just grab black pants and a white shirt. Others have their meals planned monthly and weekly—in a repeated rotation—so they don’t have to choose what to each day.
How can you limit your choices so you focus on the ones that will make the most significant difference in your life?
Exercise the Power of Choice
Your choices give you the power to change yourself and your life. That ability is yours. You are always free to choose. How will you exercise that power?
In every moment, you make choices that impact you and your life. Many of them are unconscious, but their effect still can be felt in the moment and potentially for years to come.
Make your next choice consciously. Choose what is best for you and your future.
What choices will you make? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend.