Like you, I’ve made lots of New Year’s resolutions in the past. They’ve been easily said, easily forgotten. What’s really made the difference year to year are the many choices I’ve made each and every day. The choices I’ve made in the past, large and small, good and bad, have shaped who I am today. And the ones I decide to make as a new decade unfolds will largely determine my future health, wealth, and happiness.
While we can’t control the weather, the politics in Washington, or the genetic predeterminations we carry around within us, we can be more mindful of our own choices and the consequences that are likely to result from them.
Some choices have become habits. Bathe or shower? Read or watch Netflix? Coke or Pepsi? We’ve made the same choices for so long we don’t even see them as choices anymore. Some habits may seem inconsequential, but some of those that have crept up on us may deserve closer scrutiny. Fries or side salad? Stairs or elevator? Pay cash or charge and pay later? Jot down every choice you make in a day or a week, then add up the seemingly small things in your own plus and minus columns based on short- or long-term consequences. It’s easier to make new and better choices that are smarter for you if you tackle one or two small ones at a time. It won’t take long to turn them into new mindless habits and you’ll be painlessly ahead in your game of life.
Some choices are made once, or maybe just a few times, in a lifetime. Which school to attend? Which career to pursue? To wed or not? Become a parent or not? Once made they may be difficult or impossible to change. The consequences may be immediate or may not be known until far later.
Other choices might have to made over and over again as you evolve and change. What kind of person do I want to be at this stage in my life? Who are the people I want to spend the most time with? Shall I spend all my earnings now or save as much as I can for an unpredictable future? As you change, your choices such as these may change, and the consequences for these are ongoing.
As we approach a new year, a new ‘roaring twenties’ decade, I wish you the courage to make the best choices for you. And please, among all your other choices, choose to be kind.