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Choices



  I was going to start this entry with the phrase "I have come to realize lately," but it seemed so cliche.  So I decided to start with something else.  And in making that choice, it highlighted what I have come to realize lately (dang, it got in there anyway), which is life is really about the choices we make.  My tag line is a perfect example, "Cynic by nature. Optimist by choice."  My natural tendency is to see the negative in a situation, and especially in me.  I now make the choice to embrace the positive spin.
  My New Year's resolutions, which I have yet to really make, are all about choices.  They are things about me that I'm not happy with or believe could be better.  Losing weight by eating better and exercising more (talk about cliche).  Both choices.  Writing more in this blog.  Another choice (though, as many times as my family has told me I should write more, if I don't start soon, it could get ugly).
  But making choices is difficult.  And therein lies the rub (I threw some Shakespeare in when you weren't looking).  The way we phrase these choices to ourselves is, ultimately, what will determine if we are successful.  If we start by saying "I need to", it becomes a chore.

  • I need to lose weight
  • I need to budget better
  • I need to organize my office
This view creates a pressure associated with the task.  Then, if we don't get it done by a certain time, or fail altogether, guilt is not far behind.  And guilt about one task not finished adds more stress to the next task we "need" to do.  Soon, an epic snowball of negative feelings is rolling down the mountain at us.  And even if we complete a task, when it's a need, it only keeps us one step ahead of the snowball.
  Now, don't get me wrong, there are things you need to do in life.  You do need to go to work every day (unless you won Survivor or Publisher's Clearing House, in which case, stop reading and go away).  You do need to pay your rent or mortgage every month.  But in those "need to's", there are still choices you can make.  You could choose not to go to work.  You could choose not to pay for housing.  Even though the consequences seem so extreme as not to be a choice, by recognizing the choice you are making,  you empower yourself.

  • I choose to go to work because I like having money for food
  • I choose to pay my mortgage because I like having a roof over my head
  • I choose to let the dogs outside so the house doesn't small like...
Well, you get the point.
  In the end, the more we recognize we have a choice in every situation, no matter how small, the more we begin to take responsibility.  And as we feel more responsible, we feel more in control.
  What I've said here is nothing you haven't heard before, I'm sure.  So, why am I spouting it off once more?  Because this year I am working on making my choices, rather than acting like they are made for me.
  And right now I am choosing to stop.

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