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Published on December 16, 2020

5 Ways to Make Good Choices That Align With Your Life’s Goals

5 Ways to Make Good Choices That Align With Your Life’s Goals

Choice is one of our greatest gifts, as it goes hand in hand with freedom, and we will do almost anything to protect it. The right to choose what we believe, what we say, and how we live is integral to our very being. Therefore, learning to make good choices is key to learning how to live a good life.

Being the “intelligent” species that we are, our learned experiences should continually enhance our ability to make good choices as time passes, so why isn’t it a given?

Does a three year old think about good or bad choices? Every choice is the right one when life is just one big adventure of discovery and excitement. It’s only as we begin to discern, judge, and regret that the importance of making good choices that align with our goals becomes apparent.

There are times when we might make a choice that seems perfectly logical, but a curve ball gets in the way. That’s life, things happen, but what about those times when we choose the same thing time and again expecting the result to be different? Surely it would be crazy to knowingly make bad choices—wouldn’t it?

Here are five ways that will help you to make good choices that align with your life’s goals.

1. Remain Faithful to Your Core Values

Your core values form the glue that binds your choices and your life’s goals together.

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To achieve fulfilment it is essential to remain faithful to your values. This will ensure that you make good choices that align with your life’s goals. If you compromise in this area, you will reap what you sow—maybe not immediately, perhaps not even in the short term—but eventually the conflict of values will catch up with you and bite you where it hurts.

You may think that you can compromise and still stay true to yourself, but there will always be a little piece of you that is out of sync. That irritant will have a tendency to grow like a pearl in an oyster shell, but the final outcome won’t be so pretty.

You may justify what you are doing or allowing to happen—be that at work or in your home life—but you will not be fulfilled. However much you convince yourself that the end justifies the means, nagging doubts will affect your peace of mind. This is a reaction to sacrificing your values for the sake of expediency.

For example, you may be on a career path that is progressing nicely, but your line manager has significantly different values in a critical area of the business. Do you go along with them indefinitely in spite of the conflict? Do you make a stand and risk your career? Or do you consciously decide to play ball in the short term as part of your overall life’s goals?

The latter may work as a temporary fix, but only if you are aware of the compromise you are making for the sake of the big picture. If not, it will lead to a hidden grievance since your mind is very adept at burying inconvenient truths for the sake of goals to which you have committed, making it difficult to make good choices.

2. Make Conscious Choices

Spontaneity has its place, but there is a fine line between impulsion and compulsion. Being in the moment is one thing, but it’s only too easy to mistake an intuitive response for a habitual reaction based on years of mental reflexes or even addictions.

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Have you ever woken up thinking “Why on earth did I do that?” So let’s go there: Why? Felt like a good idea at the time? Couldn’t help myself? I deserved a reward for all my sacrifices, my hard work, doing stuff I don’t like doing?

There’s “knowing” what’s best for ourselves, and then there’s “doing” it—or not doing it.

Consciousness is a gift permanently available to you should you choose to use it. You might perceive it as restrictive or boring, but in reality it is liberating, as well as working in your own best interests. Consciousness allows another perspective in your thinking as an alternative to the hard-wired version that has developed over the years[1].

Self-reflection will open the door to questions such as:

  • What is the emotional driver for this potential choice?
  • Is it the “right thing” to do? For whose benefit?
  • Am I giving or taking? Am I giving to take?
  • Will it bring me joy? If so, for how long?
  • What are the longer term implications?
  • Does it align with my life’s goals and my core values?
  • Is it a means to an end or an end in itself?

Intuition and inspiration are the life-blood of human creativity. Consciousness, unlike limiting and negative beliefs, lets your ideas flow whilst encouraging awareness. That awareness will help you make good choices and better manage the outcomes.

3. Listen to Your Gut

Since the Age of Enlightenment, mankind has worshipped at the altar of intellectual philosophy. However, we are still animals and, as such, inextricably connected with our organs, which are linked to our emotions and, therefore, to our choices.

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Some people resonate more closely with their gut, others with their heart. Make the most of these as opposed to just relying on the mind.

Have you ever, with hindsight, looked back on an event or a decision and thought, “I knew that was the wrong choice,” but you did it anyway, “against my better judgement”? If you want to make good choices, you need to improve your judgement, but rather than just logically weighing pros and cons; facts and figures; precedents and mathematical odds; listen to your body.

Logic is really effective for reasoning. The trouble is, human beings aren’t logical. You have no control over how another human being will react, but you do have within your DNA the capacity to draw on your primeval senses[2]. So even if all of the facts point clearly to one choice, remember to pay heed to your sixth sense, as well.

The key to decision making is balance. Experience will help you learn how best to make use of the feelings in your body. Don’t waste this natural resource.

4. See Choice as an Experiment

Procrastination can be a debilitating experience to the extent that some people describe it as paralyzing. “Too many choices” is a typical complaint or an excuse for delaying a decision, whereas in reality, to have the freedom to make choices is something we ought to be grateful for[3].

Choices fall into several categories, from relatively trivial to life-changing. However, even what may look like a really important choice with significant repercussions is often reversible. If you are inspired to make a change in your life, then rather than perceiving the process as stressful or the cause of anxiety, see it as an experiment.

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“Everything of which you have been afraid was based on nothing.” —A Course in Miracles

Try it out; what’s the worst thing that could happen? If it doesn’t work out, you will at least now know that it’s not for you. As Thomas Edison allegedly said, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.”

5. Love Yourself

Committing to make better choices is a fundamental step towards a happier, more joyful, and fulfilled life. Accepting the fact that you create your own reality, taking responsibility for where you are, and owning your role in how you got here is a part of growing up[4].

The next step is easy—provided that you have the clarity of thought and the open-mindedness to embrace it. You get to choose. No one else, just you. And guess what? You are the one who knows best what you need.

Never mind what your family, your peers, your partner, therapist, or coach think; you are the expert when it comes to running your life. There’s just one extra ingredient required: to love yourself enough to do the right thing for you.

Final Thoughts

Connecting with your truth, staying conscious, trusting your instincts, relishing the wealth of possibilities before you, and valuing yourself makes decision making fun rather than a chore. Follow these tips and watch your confidence grow as you reap the results of making good choices based on sound principles.

More on How to Make Good Choices

Featured photo credit: Jose Escobar via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It)
[2] Psychology Today: Are Humans Rational?
[3] Association for Psychological Science: Why Wait? The Science Behind Procrastination
[4] Huff Post: The Truth Behind ‘You Create Your Own Reality

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Gray Hughes

Life coach (using the motivational 3 c's Model) and writer.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

7 Steps to Reinventing Yourself and Reach Your Goals

7 Steps to Reinventing Yourself and Reach Your Goals

Even though there are some people who feel great about their job and have somehow managed to find a good lifestyle that suits them, many still feel trapped and dissatisfied. There are people out there that are desperate for a change, be it in their personal life, their career or something else. The worst thing you can do is to keep your feelings bottled up and soldier on. Depression affects a good chunk of the population but making a change can be scary and difficult. However, if you decide to face the fear of failure and reinvent yourself, there are certain steps that you have to take to improve your chances of success.

1. Decide on what you want to focus on

Never plan a big change in your life and career, with only a vague idea of what you wish to accomplish. Sit down and think about all the things you are interested in, would like to do and see yourself investing a great deal of time in. Your motivation can be money, passion, reducing stress, being free to make your own decisions, or having more free time on your hands eventually. Find a path that suits you and bravely make the first step.

2. Always try to make some time for your new passion

We can all be busy and have hectic schedules, but if you really want to make a change you’ll need to find a way to make time for your new passion in life. You’ll need to spend a lot of time learning new skills and acquiring great amounts of information, so most of the free time you have will have to be used up for improving yourself. Even if it’s just fifteen minutes on a break or if you have to sacrifice your TV hour after work to studying, you need to make the sacrifice. Only by completely doing away with useless procrastinating activities like watching TV, YouTube clips or playing games, can you find enough time to earn a living, work on reinventing yourself and improve your mind and body.

3. Keep educating yourself and look for resources

A lot of people complain about the lackluster education system and rightfully so. Today you need a bunch of forms for everything, and although efforts are being made to switch to online forms that would make everyone’s life easier, we are still a long way from enabling quick and efficient decisions to be made within the education system. Changes are made very slowly as it takes ages to process all that written information.

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This is why you don’t develop any applicable skills or learn a whole lot in school – everyone seems to be focused on bureaucracy instead of effective education. This is why you have to do all the research and learn on your own if you want to get anywhere. In this age of online courses, cheap eBooks and video tutorials it’s not very difficult to find the information you need from respected sources. Start off slow and learn about the basics, then branch out and keep devouring books on the subjects you wish to specialize in.

A good way to get started is to look at the bibliography listed in the more basic books and do some online research to find out who the most trusted experts on the topic are, and just get their books. Even if you’re very busy and strapped for time, devote an hour a day on reading and if you have plenty of free time, fill it up with reading and research. If you get bored, then switch to improving your general knowledge to keep things interesting.

4. Do plenty of networking, both online and offline

Between all that reading and your usual obligations you’ll have fairly little free time, mostly in the evenings or on the weekend, and you’ll want to make the most out of it by relaxing and having some fun. You may also take a few breaks during the day and scroll through your Facebook and Twitter feed for something interesting. These are great opportunities to do some networking. While you’re out about town, try sparking up conversations with people.

Keep going out, hanging out with your friends and meeting new people. Ask around to find out if anyone knows someone who works in the industry you are interested in and offer to buy that person a round of drinks in exchange for a short conversation. When on social media, look for people that share the same professional interests and follow industry influencers to get some inside info about new trends and tactics. Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities.

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5. Create a schedule, but don’t look too far into the future

Having a clear schedule is a good idea when you are trying to make the most of any given day, and setting goals helps keep you motivated and on track. However, you can get bogged down on plans for the future, career choices you’ll have to make and the money you will be able to earn, so much that you lose sight of smaller goals.

You can also psyche yourself out and lose motivation, or spend a good amount of time daydreaming instead of doing something useful. In the begging it’s all about learning the basics, steadily developing deeper knowledge, getting a bit of experience and becoming more proficient in your new chosen profession. Only once you’ve become good at it, can you start thinking about career-building opportunities and make long-term plans.

6. Take care of your body and mind by staying fairly fit

If you have health problems, don’t sleep well, and have dietary deficiencies, living a fast-paced life and reinventing yourself is going to be a whole lot harder. Physical exercise can help keep your hormones in balance, prevent chronic aches and pains, and lower the risk of a lot of illnesses. It will make you feel more focused and full of energy.

Getting plenty of quality sleep is also incredibly important for keeping your mind fresh and working at 100% capacity – which is the key to fast learning and reducing stress.

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A 30-40 minute workout session or 10-15 minutes of active running will tire you out and make it easier to fall asleep, which combined with some stretching and keeping your bedroom in complete darkness will help you get those 8-9 hours of sleep your body needs.

Eat a decent amount of fruit, vegetables and unsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts, and fish oil) during the day to keep your mind and body working at optimal levels and to keep your immune system in check. With 3-4 hours of exercise per week and some healthy food in your diet, you will be much more positive and productive.

7. Hang out more with people who are supportive and can help you grow

Most people won’t welcome change, particularly if you are doing something that doesn’t fit the side of your character that everyone has gotten to know over the years. Some will even discourage you or try to distract you. You will be pressured to spend more time with others, and time will become a very valuable resource to you.

This is why you should quickly and efficiently cut off everyone that keeps pulling you back or expects a lot from you without giving anything back. You know the kind, constantly asking for favors, looking after their own interests above all else and nowhere to be seen when you are in a pinch and need some help.

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Focus your efforts on people who give you support, aren’t afraid to tell you their opinion without judging you and that can actually help you out. You need to be around people you are compatible with and whose company you enjoy in the little spare time you have, and around people who can help you improve.

There are no guarantees, and you might fail once or twice before finding a good path for yourself, but that shouldn’t discourage you. It’s better to work hard and overcome adversity in the end, than to toil away feeling miserable.

Featured photo credit: Sharon Christina Rørvik via unsplash.com

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