For 18 months, I have been envying—and learning from—those with the mental strength to not let external factors dictate their mood, focus, motivation, and behaviour. With so much uncertainty and upheaval out of our control—and more likely to come—many people think making 2022 New Year's resolutions was pointless.
Consider a different path for self-improvement: make better decisions! We don't give our decisions the seriousness they deserve. At any given moment, your life is the sum of the choices you've made.
During a pandemic, when it seems the government is making most decisions for you or limiting the choices you can make, you can still make decisions that serve your needs and goals. It could be argued COVID19 created unique opportunities for making better choices, such as who you chose to have in your bubble, cooking at home instead of paying restaurant prices, and not spending hours wandering a mall as a mindless consumer.
Then there are obvious "COVDI19 choices": whether to social distance, wear a mask, get vaccinated (and a booster), believe "the science," and follow government guidelines.
One of the consequences of COVID has been inflation. You can choose to deal with inflation by consuming less -- excellent for the environment and your finances -- or you can choose to increase your debt load. Adjusting your spending, choosing your needs over your wants, and not trying to look rich are beautiful choices.
It is you choosing day after day after day to get out of bed at 5 A.M. and go for a run. It is you choosing to pick up a book instead of scrolling your social media or binge-watching Netflix series. It is you choosing to buy groceries and cook for yourself instead of having fast food delivered. It is you choosing to journal instead of texting. It is you choosing to say "no" to opportunities so you can say "yes" to what's important to you.
Many of our decisions are made on auto-pilot—what you eat and drink, how you talk to people, whether you go to bed early or stay up late, and most importantly, what you think and choose to believe. Some days, you have more significant choices to make. Do you stand up for your values? Help someone who needs your help? Go the extra mile at work or deliver "good enough"? Do you save the bonus you received or spend it on a vacation because you feel you deserve a vacation?
There's no escaping that if you want a beautiful life, you need to make beautiful choices. You need to choose the option that will give you a positive return—that'll be a step towards achieving your goal(s).
Five areas where your choices significantly affect the quality of your life: What you eat and drink, and how much; what you put into your mind; whether you exercise; how you spend your money, and how much you save; whom you associate with.
Drinking water instead of soda. (healthier, saves money)
Hanging out with friends in a bar or working on the presentation for the client meeting next week. (moves your career forward, saves money)
Consuming news or having a meaningful discussion with a close friend. (better for your mental health, connecting with someone)
Donating to a local food bank or buying gifts to impress people. (giving back to your community, practicing gratitude, paying it forward).
Choose where you want to make real changes in your life or where you have a powerful 'why' for wanting to do so and make beautiful choices that will lead to that change. Whatever your end vision is, better choices—beautiful choices—will get you there.