There’s only one constant in life - the ability to make choices, so how can you make ones that better serve you?
As Benjamin Franklin said, “…in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” No offense to Mr. Franklin, but I’d revise this to:
In this world, nothing is certain except Making Choices.
There’s truly only one thing we have to do, day in and day out. And it’s to make one decision after the other.
Think about it, life is just a series of choices that range from minor to major:
What meal do you want for dinner tonight (or plan for the week)?
Which email to read next at work?
What to say to your five-year old when their first goldfish dies?
Why choices are gifts
Choices are gifts. Not everyone has a choice of what they’ll make for dinner, what school their kids will go to or even which doctor they can see. You have the ability to choose while also considering how your choice will affect others, yourself, your family, your community, and your earth.
From the tiny decisions on which route to drive, which body wash to purchase and what to wear, to the biggies of accepting a job offer, purchasing a home, or who to have as a life partner, it is your life’s gift to choose.
Let’s look at some examples:
A colleague or a customer sends an aggressive email. How do you respond? You could either fire off a nasty reply, or choose to take the high road by sending a mature response, walking over to their cubicle to work it out like grown-ups, or by not replying at all (sometimes the most powerful move!)
The kids are asking annoying questions. You don’t care where Spongebob was born or what farts are made of. How do you engage with your curious kids? You can snap at them and tell them to shut up, use their questions as teaching moments, or let them know you care about their questions and to please save them another time your energy is higher to answer.
Mealtimes. Where do you source your food? Make something at home or support a local restaurant? Or do you purchase food from a farmer’s market or a grocery delivery?
Household purchases. You can choose to buy something made overseas where you have no idea what the working conditions are or what their money is going toward. Or, purchase items that are better for the environment and locally-sourced, supporting small businesses and better for the planet and society at large.
Making more mindful choices toward calm
The more often we can pause for a moment in a decision, the better decisions you’ll make.
When you’re in a mindset that the only thing you really have to do, ever, is make choices, you can approach each choice with more mindfulness.
I invite you to choose with calm and peace in mind and in heart.
Ask yourself, “What is the choice that is toward calm?” and “Is this choice feeding chaos or calm?”
What if I choose wrong?
Try not to get caught up in analyzing a choice as “right” or “wrong.” You will learn from every decision, even if it means you’re learning what you don’t want in the future. All of us are making the best choices we can, with the knowledge, tools, and experience we’ve had up until that moment.
There is a gift to be learned in each decision. Focus on what you learned and thank the universe for the learning.
Decision anxiety and fatigue
For Mother’s Day, I know a lot of moms (including myself!) who say the gift they most want is not to decide anything for the day! They literally don’t even care what happens as long as they haven’t orchestrated it.
There are only so many decisions one can make in a day. I’ve noticed that later in the day, when I’m more tired and have already decided a hundred things, I’m not as great at making mindful choices.
So, I try not to make big decisions at night. I save the biggies for earlier in the day when I have more energy and thoughtful decision-making capacity. Tell people bugging you to reply, “I’ll get back to you on that tomorrow morning.”
If you’re still feeling anxious about impending decisions, write down a few lines into the notes app on your phone and plan some time in your calendar to reflect on it. Your brain will realize, “This is getting taken care of,” and your body will relax a bit.
You’ve got the power!* If you make decisions from a place of mindfulness and integrity, you’ll never look back with regret.
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Reach out, I’m here for you.