Every decision you make gets you closer or farther away from where you want to be – every decision, even the smallest ones. The decisions you make, every single one of them, determines the direction of your life.
When we think of “decision making” we often think only of those big decisions – getting married, having children, buying a home. We can be somewhat unconscious with smaller decisions without realizing all of our decisions, especially the small ones, direct our lives.
Our thoughts determine our actions and what we want determines what we do. What we want may or may not be good for us but, for better or for worse, we will always veer in the direction of what we want. This is why it is important to be intentional and fully conscious in identifying our wants and desires, both short-term and long term. There are days that I want to have chocolate cake for dinner (and breakfast and lunch). However, I desire to be healthy. Now, I can avoid that chocolate cake but if I am not intentional in my choices to eat healthy, I might trade that chocolate cake for something equally unhealthy. Please understand that I am all for balance in nutrition. Chocolate cake is a great treat, one of my favorites. However, I hope we can agree that cake for dinner on a consistent basis is definitely not the path to a healthy lifestyle.
Good decisions require hard choices. If we are not clear about where we want to go, those hard choices become almost impossible. Building a solid foundation from which to make these decisions is critical. We must listen to our lives, listen with intention. Listening requires slowing down and that can feel darn near impossible when we are bombarded with messages of doing more, having more, being more.
Slowing down, quieting the noise around us is scary. Looking back is even scarier. We might not like what we see. Some of our past decisions are truly cringe-worthy. Moving forward isn’t always a comfortable process either. To move closer to your best life, you are going to have to be uncomfortable. And you’re going to have to listen intently, and with self compassion. What are the fruits of your life? What decisions (either your choice or following the choice of another) have brought you where you are today? What would you do again? What would you change? What do you need to forgive? Where do you need to forgive yourself?
Take all this information and make a plan. Most importantly make room in your current life to move in the direction of your best life. And while you’re at it, have your cake and eat it too.