Your Choice Creates Your Outcome
Cookie assumed she'd always have good health. Most of her life, she'd bounced back quickly from any illnesses and hadn't had to worry about her weight. Because of her history and that assumption, she didn't follow any health guidelines. She smoked and didn't exercise. Taking her health for granted caught up with her when she was in her late 60's, when her health declined rapidly.
When she discovered she had emphysema, she quit smoking. But for several years, she didn't do anything else to maximize the health she had. Eventually, she had to use oxygen all the time and things went downhill from there.
A smoker doesn't choose to have COPD, emphysema or cancer, but the decision to smoke increases the possibility of their dying of a smoking related illness by 50%. The same is true of someone who has poor eating habits and doesn't exercise. If they're overweight and eat lots of meat, fat and carbs, they have a good chance of developing heart disease. They don't consciously choose that outcome, but their behaviors lead them in that direction.
You don't necessarily experience what you'd want for yourself, but the result of your everyday, habitual choices. If you want to be more productive and successful, studies show that optimism increases this outcome by 31%. But many people cling to pessimism, justifying that it's more realistic and accurate. Their result is that in the work place they aren't promoted as much as optimists and their productivity is lower.
Every choice you make has an intended or unintended consequence. Some are beneficial, some are neutral, and some are very destructive. Look at your life, and wherever you have a situation that you don't like, track it back to a decision you made. If you're in a bad relationship, you probably chose to "Go along to get along." Though it seems it would lead to harmony, generally it creates the opposite effect.
You have a choice of what to think about and focus on. What you focus on and think about formulates your actions or inactions. If you act in the same way over and over again, you form habits. And those habits create an outcome, of success or failure, health or illness, good relationships or bad, beneficial self-concept or a destructive one. All of this comes from what you focus on.
The decision about what to pay attention to is under your control. What you focus on comes from your beliefs. Those beliefs were formed over time based on the decisions you made and the ideas you paid attention to earlier in your life. It's a feedback cycle. You can break that cycle by making a new choice. If Cookie had made a new choice even a few years earlier, she might have avoided or reduced many of her health issues.
Begin to develop habits that serve you and increase your wellbeing. For instance, exercise, choose foods that optimize your health and avoid sugar, excessive carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Deal with uncomfortable challenges when they arise, before they escalate out of control. Address conflicts and misunderstandings immediately, so they can be resolved quickly. If you have trouble living within your budget, reduce your expenses.
Decide on the result you want, and then aim all your choices towards that outcome. It won't be an easy road to begin with, because you're changing life-long habits. Don't allow yourself to get distracted. That's simply an outdated behavior that has sabotaged your goals.
You have control over what you experience in your life. It's in the small and large choices that you make every day. Every one of them has some consequence. Be aware of what they might be, and choose wisely.
Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
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