“If you’re not changing, you’re choosing.” ~ Unknown
You’re in a dead-end job. Your relationship sucks. You never have enough money. You have little energy and can’t lose the weight.
You want to make changes but don’t know how or are afraid of change.
As much as our lives may suck, the comfort of that suckiness can feel better than the fear of the unknown of the change required to create something better.
As the quote above says: If you’re not making changes in your life, whether you realize it or not, every day you’re choosing the life you have today.
“But I don’t have a choice! I have to work. I can’t leave my partner.”
You always have a choice.
If you think there aren’t any good jobs or better mates out there, think again. You never know what’s out there until you start looking.
If you hate your job, spend most of the time you’re not working either looking for a better job or start building that business you’ve always dreamed of. Stop the TV and internet surfing. Start learning and researching things that light your fire.
Spend time meeting and getting to know people who are on the path to living the kind of life you want for yourself. Your current friends and family may give you a hard time about making changes in your life. That’s their problem – not yours. They’re not living your life. You are. Their opinions, regardless of how well-meaning they are, don’t matter.
Surrounding yourself with supportive people is one of the most powerful things you can do to initiate positive change in your life. If you don’t have a direction, these people can help you.
If your relationship is sucking the life out of you, it might be time for a change.
For anyone who has had a hard time in past relationships, my first and most important bit of advice is: Figure out how to be happy by and with yourself. It’s best to do this outside of a relationship. Whether you need to take a break or call it quits, you need to get to the point where you can love yourself and be happy by yourself before considering starting a new relationship.
Without taking this step, you’re bound to repeat your relationship patterns. Bringing your old self into a new relationship isn’t going to change anything.
Someone else won’t change you or complete you. That’s your job.
Once you get into a new relationship, know that you won’t change or complete anyone else, no matter how hard you try. This is usually the source of many problems in relationships.
Choose yourself. While this may sound selfish, it’s the most selfless thing you can do.
Bring a new, happy you into your relationships. It’s also a good idea to find a mate who can do the same. If they’re looking to you to turn their life around and make them happy, it’s a recipe for disaster.
What Are You Choosing?
Everything in your life now is there because of little choices you made along the way.
You chose that job, that mate, what you’ve spent money on, what you put in your mouth, whether or not you exercise.
It’s not anyone’s fault that your life is what it is. You chose it all.
Starting today, use a bit of mindfulness to notice what you’re choosing throughout your day.
What and who are you saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to and why?
How you spend your time demonstrates what’s important to you.
If you say that your family is important to you but your kids have forgotten what you look like, you’re lying to yourself.
If you say that your health is important to you but you eat fast food and don’t exercise, again, you’re lying to yourself.
Start to think about the long-term effects of the little choices you make every day. Yes, it’s “just this one time.” But if you excuse the same choices on a regular basis, “just this one time” becomes a habit whose results start to build. Notice how often you say that to yourself.
“If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~ Lao Tzu
Choose Your Attitude
While some things in your life may genuinely need to change, others may not be as bad as you think.
So much of your experience is based on your attitude – how you choose to see the world.
If you’re an undervalued office drone, looking for something new is probably wise. But, while you’re looking, see how you can change your attitude about where you are.
Instead of sulking by yourself or commiserating with your coworkers, look for opportunities to help others – ways to brighten their day. This could be a smile and ‘hello’ to the person who always seems the unhappiest. It could be bringing someone a cup of coffee or little treat when they least expect it. It could be anonymously leaving a tray of cookies in the break room for everyone.
If your relationship has simply gone stale, it might be time for a break from the norm. Take a vacation together and do the fun things you’ve been talking about forever. Take turns thinking of little adventures you can embark on in your hometown and do them. In order for these things to work, you have to change your attitude to one where you know that your relationship can be fun. Start to find the fun in everyday life.
As long as you think your life sucks, it will. When you change your attitude to be happier and hopeful, your life will magically begin to change. You’ll see things differently which will cause you to act differently and make different choices which will lead you to a different life.
Make a Different Choice Today
“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” ~ Jim Rohn
Making new choices can be scary because you don’t know what the outcome will be. Instead of being scared, try seeing the unknown with child-like curiosity.
Instead of thinking, “Oh no! If I do X, who knows what will happen!” (bathed in worry), think, “Wow! I wonder what will happen if I do X. Let’s see!” (bathed in excitement).
Every new choice is an experiment. Failure is impossible. Failure is a word created by people who want to keep you small and control you. It’s the misconception that you won’t meet their expectations if you do something they don’t want you to do. Did you sign up for their expectations?
Experiment often and see what works for you and what doesn’t. Do more of what works.
Making new choices can mean something as small as getting your coffee at a different coffee shop (you never know who you’ll meet or where the detour may take you). Or it can mean something as large as leaving your job and career of twenty years to start a business you’ve been dreaming about for a decade.
Start with baby steps to help you build courage and confidence in your ability to make great decisions. They won’t all be perfect. They won’t all work out. So what! It’s more important to take action, any action, to move forward instead of wallowing in the undesired current state.
What new and different choice will you make today?