Happy New Year! I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year’s season.
I’ve been thinking a lot about making decisions. I’m not talking about resolutions. Those mostly get broken before we get out of bed on January 2.
I’m looking at choices instead of resolutions. A resolution is what you intend to do. A choice is what you actually do.
Life is made up of hundreds of choices every day. Many of these choices are simply instinctive. Those are the ones we make without even realizing we made a choice. We get in a pattern but may never recognize it is a rut. Ruts resist change. So getting out of a rut takes deciding to change and then opting for different choices.
We start with a decision. A decision is a process of analysis that cuts off some options.
Here’s how it works. We make a decision after considering the results we want and consequences we want to avoid. The decision makes certain options no longer available to us.
Let’s take an example from parenting. We decide we want children other people will like. That’s a good decision. It’s nice when we like our kids, but it’s even better when others like our kids. The consequences of leaving this to chance mean our kids may or may not be liked by others. Making a decision means cutting off some options. For instance, letting them stay up so late they are screaming and running around when our neighbors would like to sleep, or giving them whatever they want, whenever they want it so they become tyrants.
Now we get down to the nitty gritty. We make a decision in a sane moment of contemplation, yet we make the choices moment-by-moment. Neglecting to consider the little choices means we allow ourselves to slip away from the good decision we had made.
So my personal challenge is to look at my behavior and consider my choices. I have made some wonderful decisions in the past. I have decided to grow as a Christian. I have decided to be a loving wife. I have decided that people are more important than tasks. But often my little choices do not support my major decisions. I may choose not to read my Bible one morning, thinking I’ll do it later in the day. Or I choose to get irritated and snippy with my husband. Or I choose to not make a phone call to someone who would appreciate even a few minutes of my time. Instead, I dive into a new project with abandon.
It’s much easier to just do what comes naturally, but many times those natural responses do not reflect my decisions, but rather my selfish desires.
I am making a conscious effort to look at my behavior as choices. As soon as I realize I made a bad choice, I’m consciously choosing to do something that agrees with my decision. It is a tiny step to seeing my big decisions bear fruit.
Will you join me in looking at your choices? Let’s see if we can’t be closer to our goals at the end of 2014 by making this small change in our thinking.