Updated: Nov 27, 2018
You don't HAVE TO do anything. In nearly all situations what we do is a choice that we have the power to make. I've learned over the past couple of years that saying I "have to" do certain things is a limiting belief and one that causes me anxiety, stress, and negative results. Do you find yourself stressed with a constant list of tasks and obligations? Listen, you don't have to do anything. You don't have to live where you live. You don't have to brush your teeth. You don't have to go to work.
You don't have to be positive. You don't have to treat people nice. You don't have to exercise.
You don't have to eat healthy. You don't have to do anything. But what you decide to do or not to do will have consequences. Like we tell our children, there will be negative consequences or positive depending on the behaviors we engage in.
Some of the examples above might seem to be silly examples, but when you start to think about it, these can impact your life greatly. Your health is impacted by your dental hygiene, the food you eat and the amount of time you move your body through exercise. So, while it may seem like a minor choice to make on the surface, there can be life-altering consequences. Somewhere along the line as adults, I think we forget the concept of choice. We begin taking on so many things that cause stress and suck the joy from our lives. We start to complain internally about how tired/stressed/unhappy we are. Eventually, we start to complain to our spouse, children, coworkers, friends. The lack of joy spills out and we become a walking example of what happens when you don't stand up for yourself and make the choice to settle.
We work 60 hours a week and stress ourselves to the max only to complain that we have no time to go to the gym or prepare meals. We spend time on social media and then feel sorry for ourselves that we aren't spending quality time with family or friends.
The power of choice.
The power of choice can change your entire life and perspective.
Simply change your mindset. "I don't have to do this, but I choose to."
You have the ability to choose only the things that bring you a positive result. Making choices can be stressful. Saying no to certain things - or people - can be difficult. Changing jobs can be life-altering. Staying where you are and "settling" can have financial consequences.
"Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you." -John C. Maxwell
As a former people pleasure and "yes ma'am/yes sir" type of person, I can tell you first-hand that if you are doing things simply for the pleasure of making everyone around you happy, you'll end up broke, tired, unhappy, and hurt. But if you can begin to make choices that impact you in a positive manner, you'll soon realize that saying no and choosing to do the things that you want to, will impact your life greatly. I think the sooner we can recognize that every action has a consequence, we will begin to proactively think about how we spend our time, energy, resources.
Today, when I have to make a choice, whether it be something simple related to how I spend my free time or a business decision, I follow a few steps.
1. Does this task align with my goal, priorities or future?
2. Does this task serve me or my family well?
3. By choosing to do this activity what will I have to sacrifice (in time, resources, money, relationships, energy, health)?
4. By engaging in this activity am I living up to the standards I have for myself?
5. Will this cause me additional stress, anxiety, unhappiness or feelings of uneasiness?
By asking myself a few simple questions when making choices big or small, I have found that I've had more time to focus on the things that I love.
Yes, I still have to work. Yes, I still have to care for my family and prepare meals. But when you come from a place of being grateful for the choice to do these things, the activity itself brings greater joy. I choose to work each day to provide for my family. I choose to cook meals at home for my family to benefit their health and give us more time together. The power of choice. They affect us today and in the future. Awareness of choice and understanding the value it can bring or decrease from our life allows us to be more intentional about the time, resources, relationships and activities that we engage in. Becky