This week we are going to focus on how we can make better choices in our lives. When making important decisions, it is essential that you calculate what is the logical choice as well as what is your emotional choice. Usually when those two factors coincide you find an answer that will suit your life. One of the ways to make better choices is to change the way we make choices and making those ways a habit.
Barrie Davenport says in her article, Making Good Choices: 6 Steps to Reclaim Your Personal Power, “If you learn how to create sustainable habits properly, then you can transform any good choice into a regular habit.” A lot of really bad things have come from choices made in the heat of the moment. In contrast, a lot of good has come from developing healthy habits. When we make good choices a habit, we make it easier for ourselves to continually make those good choices. There are four steps that are outlined here on how to make better choices. Making these steps a habit can help good choice-making a habit.
First: The first thing to do when making a decision is to outline the issue. If you can go so far as to write it out on a piece of paper, that would help too. Some good things to include in your outline is what the issue is, how long you have to decide, what are the consequences of each choice, who will this effect, and what are the possible outcomes. Writing out an outline is a good way to visually see the issue and it can help to give a new or different perspective on how to handle it.
Second: What are your options? Figure out what the options are or what choices you have that you can make concerning the issue. For instance, if the issue is deciding where to go to college, this would be the place to write out all the colleges that you’ve been accepted to. Again, writing out a list is a good visual way to see each choice that you have. Try not to overload on information either. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many options or too much information.
Third: The next thing to do is to focus a little more in-depth on the consequences. As we all know, most choices have both good and bad consequences. So making a list of those consequences is a good way to see exactly what you will be getting with each choice you could make. Or as a lot of people call it, a pro and con list. Take each option or choice and make a pro and con list of what each one entails. Make each list on a separate piece of paper and look at each choice side-by-side to see how they compare.
Fourth: The last and final thing to do when making a decision is to make the decision. Pick one option. As was stated in week one, sometimes just taking a small step forward can help. Sometimes all it takes is making a decision to know if it’s the right one. This is probably the scariest part but it’s a leap of faith. Once you’ve outlined your issue, figured out all your options, focused on the pros and cons, you must make the decision. Once you have assessed all the logical facts about your choices, you make the choice. Then when you’ve made a choice, you will be able to immediately assess how you feel about a choice and know whether it’s the right one or not. Sometimes even imagining you’ve made the choice can help. So take a moment and imagine the choice you want to make, imagine the consequences. How does it make you feel? If you don’t feel satisfied, then make a different choice.
Follow these steps and you can create a habit of making better choices. Eventually, these habits will manifest in your life as the destiny you desire. As Davenport states, “One of the problems with making repeated bad choices and creating a string of bad habits is that it makes us feel like we’re doomed to failure. We’ve probably received enough negative reinforcement from others that we start to believe we’re incapable of change or just not smart enough to make good choices. It doesn’t matter how many poor choices we’ve made in the past. Today is a blank slate, and we all have the opportunity to start fresh — even if we just fell off the wagon yesterday. Just hop back on and begin again.” We all have the chance to change and begin again to make better choices. That’s the beauty of choice and accountability. We all have the chance, and choice, to start again. As L.M. Montgomery once said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” So start today, if you’ve been horrible at making decisions in the past, start today and make a new habit of good choices.
Homework: As homework for this week, try out these steps that have been outlined here and utilize them on a decision that you have to make. It can be something small at first just to test out how these steps work for you. Once you’ve got a handle on these few steps, you can try practicing these steps with a larger decision. Also, check out this article in WikiHow on steps for making choices. It has some great tips on how to go about making better choices as well.
Author: Briana Pugh
Growing up my Dad always told me one thing that really made an impression–I am an independent person and I have complete control over my thoughts, words, and actions. It is a foundational belief that I have held since that time. I believe in taking responsibility for our actions and feel that the old saying “nobody can make you do anything,” is one of the truest statements ever made. I believe that we should all be agents that act and that are not acted upon. Which is why I chose that saying as a tagline; “The effectiveness of a gym is not dependent on the people who exercise there.” When we go to the gym, it doesn’t matter who is working out there or what they think about you, when you walk into that gym no one is going to make you lose weight or do it for you. YOU control you and you get out of the world (or gym) what you put into it. I strive to live my life with that mindset every day.
I am a mom of three wonderful children–a spunky girl and two rambunctious boys; each a character in their own way. I am married to a kindhearted man who loves me and supports me in every way. He inspires me every day to do my best and he has made my life 100% better. I graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. One of the first books I ever read was Danger at the Fair and from that book I wanted to be a writer. My main goal in my writing is to inspire others and spread truth. I have a passion for truth and God and hope to inspire others with that passion.
I am also a lover of movies, watching and making them. I love to read (duh). When the day is done, and my kids are asleep I enjoy sitting down to watch a good show while eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Just plain vanilla ice cream, no toppings, no fuss. That’s exactly how I like my life–a little sweet, no extras, and definitely no fuss.
I am not perfect, and I try every day to make improvements in my character. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is that belief that drives me every day. I believe that happiness happens within you. If you want to be happy, BE HAPPY.