We make hundreds of choices every day; some consciously and some out of habit. Whether we’re deciding what shoes to put on in the morning or whether to greet the day with a smile we all have the freedom to choose. Sometimes though, we allow this unlimited freedom to slip into the background and instead wind up resigning ourselves to choices that limit or restrict our options. We start telling ourselves stories to go along with the choices and pretty soon language has created reality. Many of us want to tell ourselves a new story but old habits have created deep grooves that can seem impossible to step out of. Here are three ways to begin creating a new path for choices that reflect the life you want to be living.
- Claim your inner wisdom. We all have a logical/reasoning side as well as an emotional/feeling side. Inner wisdom resides deep in the space where these two parts meet. Learning how to balance head and heart strengthens our capacity to activate the deep knowing that resides within us all. This sense of intuition or inner wisdom is where we want our choices to spring from.
- Practice mindfulness. Present moment, non-judgmental awareness is the most efficient way to connect to your inner wisdom. There’s no short cut but starting small can yield big results. Try mindful handwashing. As you’re getting ready to wash your hands take a few deep breaths and silently give a play by play of each step of the process. Observe yourself washing your hands- or simply notice your breathing while you wash. Taking just a minute to be in the here and now serves as a powerful anchor that grounds you and brings you to a more balanced place to make choices.
- Develop a sense of “mental toughness”. This is especially powerful if you find yourself making choices out of fear. Practice being thick skinned. Imagine things rolling off your back. Imagine the worst case scenario along with your best case response. If you can’t imagine standing your own ground or handling distress, begin with the smallest step you can envision taking.
Your life consists of a series of small choices made over time. Authentic living requires taking a stand and committing to consciously make choices from the healthiest, most balanced part of who we are. Your life is a message to the world. What do you want it to be?