What Choices Will You Make in 2014?

January 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Life offers us many challenges – a traffic jam when we’re in a hurry; rain on a wedding day or perhaps worse; illness or loss.   It can feel like these things are happening “to us” – as if we have no choice and are the victim of some kind of outside force.

Sometimes the challenge comes from another person.  How often have you felt upset by someone else’s actions or words?   In these situations too, it can feel that you are being “done to” and are consequently powerless.

How would your life be different if you had a choice in all these situations?  What if you weren’t a powerless victim but powerful beyond measure – always able to make changes and never without choices – regardless of the situation?

The good news is that you already are.  We all are.

ChoicesWe always have a choice about how we see a situation, and how we respond to it.

For instance, we could see a traffic jam as an inconvenience – because we might be late, or we could see it as an opportunity – perhaps to listen to an interesting radio show.  Either way, the traffic jam won’t change.

Our choice of perspective though, could mean the difference between arriving at our destination relaxed or stressed.

Even with more challenging life experiences, we have choices.  We can choose to see the loss of a loved one as unfair or perhaps even devastating.  Alternatively, we can choose to focus on how grateful we are that someone was in our life.

What we think, doesn’t necessarily change the situation but it can make all the difference to how we feel about it and thus, to what we do about it.

It’s all about the perspective we choose.

In 2014, how could your life be different if you change the way you think?

Here are two exercises.  Do both of them daily for the month of January and let me know what’s different in a month’s time.

A Gratitude Diary

Find three things every evening that you are grateful for and write them down.

I have kept a gratitude diary for a while now.   I started a few years ago when my Coach suggested it as a way of dealing with a situation I was feeling angry about, but could not change.  After just a few days of keeping the diary, I noticed I felt less angry.  Instead of my head being full of angry thoughts which would make it difficult to sleep, I would be focussed on the blessings in my life which relaxed me.

Even now, with that anger long gone, before I sleep, how ever I am feeling, I still find something to be grateful for.

Those I love often feature on the list and if my day hasn’t gone too well, I focus on gratitude for the skills and qualities I have that helped me through it.

This exercise is an excellent way of ensuring our state of mind at the end of the day is positive and there’s also a lot of research indicating that feeling gratitude is good for our health.

A Daily Commitment

Each morning make just one commitment and stick to it for the day. 

It could be a change in behaviour; such as drinking just one cup of coffee rather than six
It could be a commitment to a particular state of mind such as finding at least one thing to appreciate about anything or anyone you feel annoyed with.

Every evening, make a note of the commitment you have kept and acknowledge a skill or quality you have, that helped you keep it.

I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Juliette Smith, Relationship Coach


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