It’s no secret the choices you make today will determine the outcome you see tomorrow. Every single choice you make has a consequence. We learn this from a very early age. If you touch a hot stove, you will get burned. If you break the rules, you will find yourself in trouble. We know this. At some point in our lives, each of us have experienced a negative outcome because of a bad choice, and we have experienced a positive outcome because of a good choice. It’s the law of attraction; you get what you give. Now, we know this doesn’t work out 100% of the time. You can seemingly make all the right choices and do the right things, but things can turn our bad. Unfortunately, we can’t always control what someone else does. However, there is no doubt that in the long run, when you make good choices, you can expect that good things will happen.
The choices you make today will determine your tomorrow. It sounds so easy, but it’s very hard. It’s hard because in general people want what we want now. We cash in our long-term success for a short-term thrill. It’s like the saying, “Tomorrow might be painful, but tonight I’m going to fly!” It should go without saying that if something is going to cause you pain tomorrow, you should never do it. Somehow, it is so easy to forget this basic rule. Hey, you only live once, right?! (YOLO) While this may be true, and we agree sometimes you need to take some risks to enjoy the success you desire, we don’t think you should make choices that will ultimately bring about what you don’t want. Again, sounds sensible. It’s just not as easy as it sounds. So how can we ensure that we make the right choices in life? There’s no bullet proof solution, but if you take some time to answer some questions before you make decisions, you can improve your outcome greatly.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Choice
1. What’s the harder choice?
The best choice is usually the hardest choice. Take for example waking up early to have more time to exercise, pray, or to just get yourself ready for the day. It’s much easier to hit the snooze and stay in your cozy bed. However, the result of making the harder choice and getting up without procrastinating, is the best choice. It takes discipline to make the harder choice, but each time you do, you mentally get stronger. Typically, humans like to adapt to what’s the most comfortable. This can be an issue because when you get use to taking the easy road, it will become more and more difficult for you to initiate change or take any necessary risks that will help you achieve the success you ultimately desire. It’s true, nothing good usually comes very easy.
2. How much will it cost?
Everything cost something, and not always money. It can cost you time, peace of mind, or even relationships. Every decision you make will usually cost you something. There is something to be said about weighing the pros and cons. What will you gain and what will you lose? If the costs are too high for the result you can expect, it’s not worth it. Be sure you know what the decision you’re about to make will cost you before you move forward.
3. Is it an opportunity or a distraction?
The devil shows up in sheep’s clothing. If you are going to be clear about what are opportunities and what are distractions, you need to be clear about your goals and what you want your life to look like. Not everything that is good is necessarily meant for you at this time. The rule of thumb is if it gets you closer to your goal, it’s an opportunity. If it’s not going to help you get closer to your goal, it’s a distraction. You should always say yes to opportunities and no to distractions. It’s not easy to make a choice to say no when it seems like such a good thing, but if it’s not for you, it should be an easy choice. The key is to know what you want.
4. Does it align with my values?
Something can seem so fun at the time, but how does it fit with what you believe and what you stand for? When you are perfectly clear about what you value and what matters to you, it can help you make better decisions. It’s important to make sure when faced with a choice to always go with what aligns with your core beliefs. It can be tempting to undermine your own convictions, especially when fear is taking root or you’re making decisions under pressure. Take a step back and review your core values before you decide what to do.
5. Have I considered every viable option?
It can be tempting to jump on the first band wagon that comes along, but is it the right one? It is rare to only have one choice. Usually, if you take time to think things through and don’t act to hastily, you will find alternative solutions. Consider hypothetical outcomes and envision different scenarios. You can even make a list of each possible option and pick the best one. The point is not to make a snap decision to quickly. Take the time to consider every viable option before you press go.
Success is about making the best possible choices you can under the circumstances you are faced with. It’s about knowing what you want in this life and not settling for anything less. When you do your best, you can expect good things. It doesn’t make things perfect, and you won’t always make the best choice. It’s impossible to be perfect. Forgive yourself when you make the wrong choice, leave the past where it belongs, and pick yourself up and keep forging ahead. When you do the best you can, with what you have, life has a divine way of working itself out. Just remember, if you don’t like where you are right now, or you want something different, you have a choice. You get to decide what’s next!
Kim Martin, Founder of I’ve Decided INC.