“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” ~ Kevyn Aucoin
“It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ J. K. Rowling
“I have no choice about whether or not I have Parkinson’s. I have nothing but choices about how I react to it. In those choices, there’s freedom to do a lot of things in areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise found myself in.” ~ Michael J. Fox
Choices, choices, choices. Our lives are inundated with choices. We are overwhelmed with options, information, and decisions. In the 1970’s people saw an average of 5oo ads a day, today you and I see about 5,000 ads a day.
How do we cut through the clutter and make choices that serve us? By eliminating the external noise and starting with your end in mind.
Eliminate The External Noise
“I think most of us are raised with preconceived notions of the choices we’re supposed to make. We waste so much time making decisions based on someone else’s idea of our happiness – what will make you a good citizen or a good wife or daughter or actress. Nobody says, ‘Just be happy – go be a cobbler or go live with goats.’” ~ Sandra Bullock
If you want to make a clear choice then your first step is to eliminate all the external noise by turning inward. If you focus outward you put yourself in a position of deciding by comparing options based on imagined outcomes, which locks you in a spinning pattern of indecision.
For instance, if you desire to live a healthier life but struggle with the day-to-day decisions you face, you are basing your decisions on the options before you, which is an outward focus. However, if you tune out all the external noise and go within you base your choices on who you want to be instead of what’s available, thus eliminating your struggle.
To illustrate this let’s take this scenario:
You’ve committed to yourself you are going to live a healthier lifestyle this year. You want to eat better and exercise more. Everything is going great but then donuts show up in your office break room.
If you use an external focus to decide what to do, you end up wrestling with deciding to eat one and workout an extra twenty minutes, or not eat one, or say screw it and eat one and skip your workout, and on and on your inner dialogue goes, weighing one option against the other.
However, if you use an internal focus and come from a place of being a healthy person, you just act in a way that a healthy person would. You not only pass on the donut but also feel good about your choice because it was made from a self-supporting space.
Focusing externally decides by doing something, focusing internally decides by being some way.
Start With Your End In Mind
“The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one.” ~ A. J. Jacobs
When you base your choice on “being” rather than “doing” you project your end result into the future and reengineer from there. You strip away the external and step into your choice as your future self. From this vantage point you easily know which choice draws you in that direction.
In the above example you’ve projected forward being healthy and then the choice needed to arrive at that place was clear without much consternation. This process easily and smoothly navigates all the options you face.
Decide who you want to be, and from that place navigate what you do. If you decide you want to be a more loving parent then choices around your work hours, how you speak to your kids, and the actions you decide are a priority will all be obvious. You will no longer wonder what to do or what choices will produce the best outcome.
If you’d like help cultivating your future self, give me a call and together we will plant seeds of possibility in your life’s garden.
Top Photo Credit: Which Way? by fogcat5