This may seem like an extreme statement, but think about it.  Where you live, what you drive, what you eat, when you sleep--these are all choices and they are all choices you've made.  Whether you consciously decide to do these things or not, you've made the choice to have them in your life.  Even the choices you don't make affect your life.  Sometimes the choices are clear and easy to make; sometimes there doesn't seem to be any alternative.  Choosing not to make a choice, because it seems too hard, is a choice.

This past year, I was faced with the prospect of my seventh year of teaching high school English.  I love teaching; I'm good at it, passionate, and knowledgeable.  My district, however, made the choice to give high school teachers a 20 % increase in students and workload, with a decrease in planning time.  I had a choice to make: do I choose to stay and make this work? Or do I choose to take this opportunity to pursue my dream of returning to university?  It was a difficult decision, and some days have been challenging since making the choice to leave, but I knew that if I didn't choose to go back to school, it would not benefit my long-term goals or lead to my happiness.

This is a big example, but this concept applies to all aspects of our lives.  Below are some questions to help evaluate the choices we make.  If you start looking at what fills your time, you can identify whether you are choosing happiness in your life or whether you need some changes.  Like everything else, this concept can be applied slowly and over time, but the point is to help you work towards shaping the life you actually want, instead of simply falling into a life you didn't consciously choose.

Choice Questions:

Is this positive?

Is this going to positively affect my goals?
(My happiness?  My personal health?  Decrease my stress level?)

How does this choice affect me?
(My finances?  My family?  My relationships?  My self-esteem?)

Is this how I want to spend my time?

Can I do this in a better/ different/ new way with better/ different/ new results?

These are a few questions to evaluate your choices and determine whether you are making choices to move up in your journey or fall away from it.  This will improve your awareness and each positive choice will contribute to future positive choices.

Photo taken in New York City

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