Everyone has heard throughout their life that we’re all responsible for our choices.
Whether we’re actively choosing to make the right and wrong decisions or inactively choosing (by taking no action), our paths are determined by choices.
And let me tell you, it’s not the big choices. It’s the small ones – the ones we make 100 times each day that determine our future.
For example, when we know we need to lose weight, but we choose cookies over fruit and fast food over cooking healthy at home.
Or when we know we’re in a soured, unhealthy relationship, perhaps one that’s even toxic and abusive, but we stay in it because the thought of being alone again or starting over again is terrifying.
And we’ve probably all stayed too long at a dead-end job we hate or have grown too comfortable in because looking for a new job takes effort and sometimes even relocation or an investment in professional certifications.
These may all seem like big life choices, but in reality, they’re not one big choice. Making the decision to change your future consists of numerous, almost hourly, smaller decisions that we either chose to make or chose to ignore.
What I’ve come to realize is how much these little decisions can make or break our paths.
I often watch old sitcoms before I go to sleep at night. It’s my way of winding down, and because I’ve seen them all enough to recite the lines, I’m not invested in the storyline and can easily fall asleep.
This is one of those choices, by the way, I’ve been working on lately, knowing watching TV at bedtime is probably not the best idea if I want to achieve optimum REM. And if I’m not resting well, I’m making the choice to compromise my energy the next day.
But I digress.
The other night, I was watching an old episode of “Frasier,” the ’90s hit show spin-off of the ’80s beloved hit show “Cheers.” On this particular episode, Frasier, the highly neurotic radio psychiatrist, was told by his new billionaire radio station boss his services were needed to wean the boss’ fiancé, Bebe, off cigarette smoking.
Bebe, who is also Frasier’s agent, is a soulless, erratic, manipulative woman willing to do anything – and I do mean anything – to get the best deals for her clients. She lies, she steals, she cheats, she threatens to get what she wants. And now her sights were set on Frasier’s very wealthy, 80-something boss, who says he won’t marry her if she continues to smoke.
So after a few psychotic and hilarious days of Frasier trying to get Bebe off cigarettes, he finally catches her sneaking a cigarette in the night and tells her he gives up, that she’s beyond therapy. He then tells Bebe it’s her choice whether she keeps smoking. And in a few years, when she hears about her billionaire ex-fiancé enjoying his mansions and sailing across the seas in his luxury mega yachts with another woman, that will be because she chose cigarettes over the life she was after.
And while the show was indeed hilarious, there was a lot of truth in that example. How often do we give up the life we want so we can keep the bad habits that temporarily offer comfort?
How often do we skip the gym because in the moment, we’re temporarily more happy to sleep in an extra 30 minutes? Or how often do we ignore the hard conversation with our boss about getting promoted or fighting for a raise, because in the moment it feels better to wait for another opportunity.
You see, it’s all about the little choices we make each moment, and they are moment by moment.
But if we turn the bolts a little bit each day, make a few attempts to make better and wiser decisions as they come, what results later is the life we’ve always dreamt of.
Getting to the dream is easier than we think. But it all comes down to choice. What life do you choose today?