Change your life - How to make right choices and decisions in life
Choices that change your life
The choices and changes that we make in our life, reflect the person that we are. Some choices are more important than others, and they require a considerable amount of thought. Making the right choice or decision changes your life in the right direction.
Making a choice is an act of exercising your freedom to change your life and to be who you can be. Freedom always brings with it responsibilities. We need to remember that when we make a choice, we become responsible for our actions or behaviour. The first step to success is taking responsibility for our actions. We need to make choices and changes to freely decide on our path of growth.
Choices and changes - change your life
No choice, no change, no growth
A person who hates changes always makes the same choices that lead to a stagnant life. There is no fresh water in a stagnant pond; rather, it becomes a breeding ground for diseases and infections, filth and stink, foul air, insects and pests. I used to read this story to my son when he was four years old, which speaks eloquently about the need for change. This story is about this little boy, Tom. His mother would ask him each morning what he wanted for lunch that day and Tom would ask his mother to list out the various kind of sandwiches that she could make for him. He’d choose cheddar cheese sandwiches. This happened day after day, and Tom’s choice would always remain the same. After a while his mother just gave up on Tom and would make just the same sandwich everyday. This is an illustration of how people who resist change deny themselves of motivation to learn new skills, or grow with new life experiences.
Fear of the unknown is what makes people stick to what they know or think they know. This reduces the “risk” that they may have to take on, as a consequence of their decision. They may also feel that everything is normal; that there is no need for change of routines, or change of activities and that their life is in order. What they fail to realize is that they have just shut the door on a new opportunity to make a choice, learn, change and grow.
Very often people do not take to constructive criticism well, which also stems from the fact that they resist change. This means that they have to drop certain elements of their behavior to change. They have to leave their comfort zones. Sometimes they construe it as an insult to their ability.
Every time they are required to acquire new skills, learn new languages or take up new jobs or live in a different environment, they feel stressed out and anxious. A reason for this could be that when their set routines are disturbed, they can be on autopilot no more. They resist having to put in effort to learn, adjust and adapt to the new change that is introduced in their lives.
Sometimes, older people just give up since they feel that the productive part of their life is over and they have no need or desire to change and grow. Just look around and you will find today that a number of older people who have pursued hobbies, learnt new tricks and actively pursued some creative and satisfying work habits have gained better coping skills and are well able to deal with the empty nest syndrome, illnesses or even fear of death.
Why do we need to make choices and decisions?
We need to make choices in life, whether we like it or not. Change is the only certainty in life. Change is the spice of life. Every moment we make choices that change our life, though all choices may not mean drastic change.
We need to ask: Are all choices for the better?
Every choice that we make decides to a certain extent, the direction that our life is bound to take. Even choices like the clothes we wear, or the food that we choose to eat has a bearing on our life. The impact may be financial, social, health related or career related.
When we make a choice, the questions to be asked are - Are we ready for the change that comes as a consequences of that choice we make? Are we aware of the direction that a particular choice will take us in? Is that where we want to go?
Not all changes are good; we also need some stability in the important areas of our life. When major changes happen that shake the foundations of our daily life, we feel insecure and emotionally disturbed. This makes us fear change and hence avoid the process of making choices and changes in life.
How can we make the right choices or decisions that can change our life in the right direction?
Any change that we adopt needs to be looked at in the light of its contribution to our growth and development as a person. The question we need to ask is
Why should this decision be taken?
Is it in alignment with the goals and visions that I have set for my life?
What are the alternatives available to me?
What is my motive behind choosing this option over others? This helps us understand and accept the need for change. Understanding the need for change makes our commitment stronger.
How to make the right choices and decisions
Once we have some clarity on why we are making the choice that we have made, we need to ask the question of goal orientation.
How will this change contribute to our goal?
Will taking this step take you closer to your goals and visions as an individual?
Do you need to make this choice now?
The consideration here, is about the specific activities we need to undertake and about timing of choice and change.
The next aspect that one needs to consider is that of value addition. We need to have a clear idea of evaluating how this decision will add value to our lives in terms of skill acquisition, knowledge gain, material, social, career based gain. We need to evaluate what we stand to gain from it. If our long term gains outweigh difficulties involved, it is easier to arrive at a clear decision.
There is one more important aspect to be considered during the process of making choices, decisions and changes, and this is that of ensuring that the decisions that we make conform to the beliefs and values by which we live.
The decisions that we make affect us and those around us, so it would be important to also ask - How would it affect our family or our loved ones? Is it worth the sweat and the tears?
When we ask ourselves questions like these, we make educated and quality choices or decisions. It is not only a quality choice but a responsible choice, meaning that the onus is on self, the consequences that arise from the choice is solely that of the individual, there is no escape route.
This brings us to the point of commitment to change, without which the best of our choices would come to naught.
The last but the most important factor in the making choices and changes or decisions that affect our lives is that of understanding ourselves. We need to understand that though we have made a decision to change, old habits die hard. There will be resistance from within us to incorporate new habits. We need to be alert, put down any resistance and march positively towards growth.
“Never give up, believe in yourself” will be a formula for success in all areas of personal change and growth!
Best wishes for a smooth progression into self improvement and personal growth!