Why Bother Noticing Our Choices?

Why Bother Noticing Our Choices?

We make a lot of choices in one day. For example, because today was Saturday, I chose to sleep in, getting out of bed only after I smelled the coffee that my husband brewed. With coffee in hand, I then followed my usual routine of reading something inspirational, practicing meditation followed by yoga. But instead of drinking my second cup of coffee in front of the computer while checking my email, I chose to drink it while sitting on the couch beside my husband. That simple choice, not checking my email and instead, sitting down beside my husband, led me to my favorite kind of conversation, a rather lengthy and in depth one, with my spouse. 

    When Choices Count

One expert gauges that we make around 30,000 decisions in one day. But I don’t believe that all decisions are created equal. Some selections we make are more benign than others. For instance, whether I make the resolution to go a garage-sale to look for a larger planter needed for a houseplant or commit to staying home on the couch reading the novel that captivates my attention, is not a life changer. Yet, there are those life changing choices we make that give definition to our lives. 

How did I happen to become a wife?  I accepted the marriage proposal my husband made to me.  How did I become a teacher? Only by returning to school and working hard to earn a certification am I able to be the classroom teacher that I am. These two choices, accepting a marriage proposal and returning to school, had much bigger and more profound consequences in my life than the garage sale or reading my novel scenario. 

The complex choices we make not only give definition to our lives, but they also show others who we are and what is important to us. My friends know my character because they know the moral compass by which I live. They know the moral compass I live by because they  see the decisions I’ve made and where those decisions have taken me. Even those in my community who do not know me very well know me by the sheer fact that our reputations usually precede us. 

The places where we presently find ourselves are not by happenstance. Instead, the places we find ourselves are because of the 30,000 daily choices we make in a twenty-four hour period of time. 

Why bother to notice our choices? Our choices are worth noticing since they can either keep us in one place doing the same thing over and over again, or they can take us to a place where we might find a fine and pleasant change to our circumstances. The choice is ours to make. 

Why Bother Noting Habit or A Way of Life?

Why Bother Noting Habit or A Way of Life?

I tried smoking for the first time long before I was of legal age and then it became a habit. This habit became a way of life. I smoked my way through high school, college and the first few years of marriage. When my husband and I talked about starting a family, I imagined what I would look like as a smoking pregnant woman and decided I didn’t like the image. Also, I considered the health risks to the baby, and chose to quit smoking. Then, after our first son’s birth, to take off the baby weight, I picked up a new habit, jogging. Thirty-five years later, I am still jogging. But I don’t consider it a habit any more. To me it has become a way of life. 

When Does A Habit Turn Into a Way of Life?

I am not sure at what point a habit, something that we tell ourselves we need to do over and over again, turns into something that is naturally integrated into everyday living. I read somewhere that it takes at least twenty-eight days or longer to start a new habit or break an old one. I have also read that it is helpful to replace a habit, such as smoking, with a  different habit, such as jogging. 

Yet, maybe it is not so much about replacing one habit with another. Maybe it is more about considering the consequences of our choices. When I quit smoking, it cleared the air, so to speak, for me to think about my health. It was the beginning of something new. For the first time, I thought about my own wellness.

 I was born with good health. I inherited good genes. Hardiness, vigor, strength, and my robustness came from, I believe, my mother’s line. Though my zing comes naturally, when I quit smoking, it dawned on me that I would need to take care of what had been given to me. Quitting smoking was the first of many steps in the direction of maintaining the gift of wellness.  

Now, instead of thinking about bad habits I should quit, or new habits I should begin, I weigh any activity on the basis of whether or not it adds wellness to my life. My good health was, I believe, a gift. Now, I am responsible to nurture it in such a way that it stays with me for the rest of my life. 

I have come to understand wellness as a theme in my life. Knowing when to say yes or no to some new activity that presents itself becomes simpler. If it benefits my wellness, it is a yes. 

Why bother to note a habit or a way of life? It is worth it to note whether or not it is a habit or a way of life. Habits come and go. A way of life stays with you for life.