Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle Choices

The Choices We Make

By Audrey Marlene, MS

To have the ability to make choices is an enormous responsibility as well as a great power we as human beings possess. Each day we live the consequences of the decisions we make. They can move us to achieving success or failure in life no matter our circumstances. The choices we make can bring us happiness or heartache. They can bring us improved or ill health. So how are you at making sound lifestyle choices?

The power to choose makes us the masters of our own destiny. There are many who play the blame game for things that happen to them in life. There are others who play the victim role, rationalizing to self that it was someone else’s fault. There are some who claim they have been cursed by some evil spell. Others call it bad luck. Whatever you call it, your life can drastically improve by changing the choices you make.

About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease called lupus. The news was devastating for me. I had a choice to feel sorry for myself and allow the illness to take over my life or to fight it. I made a choice to educate myself about the disease and to learn what I needed to do to be able to have a good quality of life. When I awoke each morning I chose to engage in physical exercise and eat healthy that day. I chose to focus on the positive even though there were times that nothing seemed positive in my life. I chose to get enough sleep and take my medications without fail. I chose to live a very disciplined life because my health is of great value to me. Today after 17 years, the disease is now in remission. The lifestyle choices I have made over the last 17 years have allowed me to enjoy the quality of health I have today.

Each moment of our lives we are placed in a position to make a choice. The results of our choices may bring immediate or long term results. However, no matter the choices you make remember your present and future will be greatly influenced. Take a look at your life. Does it seem that things just keep going wrong? Does it seem that you just can't get ahead? Have you ever thought maybe the lifestyle choices you make are affecting your life in a negative way?

Maturity and Choices

Research has shown that the adolescent brain is still in the process of development as it goes through a shift in the brain circuits where decisions and choices are processed. As the teen grows into adulthood, the ability to make choices changes from making emotional decisions to making more rational decisions. Their sense of judgment improves greatly.

Along with the shift in the brain circuits, the adult gains more life experience and more knowledge, which should help in making better lifestyle choices. As we mature we should begin to understand more clearly how our choices impact our lives. We should understand how poor judgment can complicate our lives and stand in the way of progress. We should be able to recognize our weaknesses and be aware of our limitations.

However, there are many adults who seem to lack the ability to make sound lifestyle choices. Some folks who have unresolved issues that are brought into adulthood from childhood or some emotional or psychological trauma that occurred along the way has the potential to affect their ability to make good choices. Do any of the following apply to you?

  • Often putting out emotional fires.
  • Often doing damage control.
  • You feel down because you can't seem to make the kind of progress you seek.
  • You get involved in relationships where you partner seems to have a lot of issues and often brings you down rather than boost your progress? This is a pattern you seem to repeat often in your relationships.
  • You feel scattered, disorganized, and often helpless.

    If you have the ability to make good choices be thankful. If you can relate to any of the above, maybe you need help in making better choices or resolving past issues that may be bogging you down. Take a look inside and be honest. If you truly want to move ahead in life, your ability to make good lifestyle choices must be urgently repaired.

    Lifestyle choices can be:

  • Making a good choice of a life's partner.
  • Choosing the best course of study.
  • Deciding to live a healthy lifestyle by being moderate in your alcohol consumption, getting the right amount of sleep, exercise, and eating healthy.
  • Finding balance in your life through spiritual fulfillment.
  • Making a good decision on what career to pursue.
  • Making a solid decision on what business venture to undertake.
  • Making a tough choice about the people you associate with.

    Quotes on Choices

  • "Life is the sum of all your choices." - Albert Camus

  • "The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose." - J Martin Kohe

  • "In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction. Your life is a product of choices." - Dr. Kathleen Hall

  • "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Anonymous

  • "Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." - William Jennings Bryan

  • "The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitudes." - Victor Frank

  • "The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice." - George Eliot

  • "We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them." - Kahlil Gibran

    Work Backwards

    The key to making good lifestyle choices is to know what you want to the outcome to be and work backwards starting from the top. Once you have determined your outcome, embark on a journey of making the necessary choices and decisions to move you closer to achieving your desired result. When you keep your eye focused on the outcome the choices you make are improved to make sure you are enabling and facilitating your goal.

    For example, if you are looking for a life partner who is affectionate, not possessive, share similar values, and financially stable, when you first meet someone you cannot allow the physical chemistry to allow you to get carried away and forget to do your homework. That would not be a smart strategy. Instead you must remain conscious of your goal at all times and get to know the individual over time, remembering when it is necessary to put away the subjective emotions and to think objectively. Making sound lifestyle choices about a life partner means preventing your emotions from clouding your judgment.

    In making a good choice of such a partner, you would:

  • Want to investigate by getting to know their family to see how they relate to family members.
  • You would get to know the family values and their view on issues that are important to you.
  • You would want to ask yourself if this person is trustworthy and look for signs of loyalty and fidelity.
  • You would see how responsible they are and how well they manage their finances.
  • You would want to observe how ambitious they are to see what actions are being taken to improve their life.

    By doing the homework you are giving yourself the justification to make a wise choice about what you desire in a life partner, increasing the odds of having a solid relationship in the future. This kind of objectivity from the beginning helps tremendously in making a good choice for a life partner.

    If you are ever at a crossroads and are unsure of what choice to make, stop for a moment and examine your track record. Ask yourself the following:

  • Am I proud of the lifestyle choices I have made in the recent past?

  • Do I trust my ability to choose wisely?

    If you can confidently answer yes then proceed. If you are uncertain or answered no, then seek the help of someone you respect as having the ability to make good choices.

    How To Make Better Lifestyle Choices

    Every day we have to make choices. Some choices won't even matter and some can change your life forever. Whatever choices we make we live the consequences of them whether good or bad. To this end we must learn to make good lifestyle choices in order to achieve our goals in life. Examine your life and the choices you have made so far.

  • The first step to making better choices is to accept responsibility for the choices you make. We are ultimately responsible for our behavior. There may be some unresolved issue standing in your way that prevents you from making good choices. If so, seek professional help to resolve them. Allow yourself to have the mental clarity and objectivity to make good choices.

  • The next step to making better lifestyle choices is to know the results you want to achieve. Once you have defined the results, think about how you plan to achieve them. Devise a step by step plan and begin your research. Learn everything you need to know about your plan. Speak to experts in the field, to people you trust, or research the internet. You may have to redesign your plan several times. Use all the information you’ve investigated to calculate how things can potentially turn out if you make the choice you are thinking of making. Once your instincts give you all green lights then go ahead, make that choice.
  • Another important step is to examine your past choices and learn from your mistakes. Our past errors in judgment are life’s lessons. If you cannot use them to help you improve your ability to make better lifestyle choices for today and for the future, then those errors where for naught. Use them as a measure of your ability to make good choices and to know when you need to seek outside help.

  • And finally, stay away from making impulsive choices. The only impulsive choices you ought to make should be in life threatening situations. Always give yourself at least 24 hours before making a decision.

    Use these strategies as a way of improving your ability to make better choices. Remember your lifestyle choices can ruin or improve your chances of success.

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