Amongst the slew of New Year’s goal-setting articles that have already been posted within the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out what I could offer my readers that might be a little different. Personally, I’ve read enough about getting into shape, reducing stress and saving money in the New Year to last me a lifetime!
Instead, I wanted to share something useful that hadn’t already been said a million times already. The answer came to me while I was thinking about what I am hoping to achieve in my professional and personal life in the coming year. Like most of us, I am looking to feel appreciated for my actions, successful in my work and secure in my relationships. So, how will I meet those challenges? I realized I had to write about making choices.
Choices. You know, those deliberate thoughts that guide you in one direction or another? Red or white… high heels or flats…should I set up that IRA I’ve been putting off or buy that new car? Choices take unlimited forms and overflow the inboxes of our daily lives. So why don’t we pay more attention to what drives us to make them?
A while back I started thinking about human behavior in terms of choices. Instead of assuming life would just happen to me, I started making direct choices to affect my life. So far, it’s been a pretty interesting and generally successful experiment.
Expounding upon this concept of deliberate choices, I see a direct link between feeling more in control of our fortunes when we choose to behave in positive ways. Often it’s only a split second before a situation deteriorates, a person walks away, meetings dissolve into confusion or a partner explodes in anger. Choosing our responses carefully may possibly improve the outcome of the situation. It takes a lot of practice to do this consistently and isn’t a guarantee of success each time. However, odds are in favor of a happier outcome when you consciously choose to behave well.
This idea was supported in a recent Ted Talk article, The Science of Setting Goals written by Nadia Goodman. Ms. Goodman suggests that we ask ourselves, “What is the smallest thing I can do today that helps me reach my goal? For example, if you’re shy and you want to be more outgoing, you might accept someone’s invitation to lunch or say hi to someone you usually walk past in the hallway. From there, just follow the breadcrumbs — one small choice after another.”
Those tricky choices! Even the tiniest ones are powerful! This year, I’m going to keep making positive choices. Who knows where those breadcrumbs may lead?