Creating Conscious Choice

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

And just as I got clear on how important the writing of 750 words is to me and my daily routine, I throw it out the window. On purpose. Why would I do that? I’ll tell you: Conscious Choice. 

Tuesday morning. Thrivin’ Tuesday, in fact. There was the beach and then there was the podcast and then there was the getting ready and then there was the breakfast and then there was the coffee and then there was the driving to Pasadena and then there was the working there until 6pm and then there was the driving home from Pasadena and then there was the puppy and then there was the dinner and then there was the game and then there was the cider and then there was the couch and then there was the cuddling and then there was the no writing. But before all that …

There was a conscious decision made that on that day, my day, my Thrivin’ Tuesday, there were more important things than writing 750 words. Would I have made that decision if I hadn’t recently fallen off the wagon and cut my streak off at 110 days? Who’s to say?

Wednesday morning, I wrote:

another missed day, and i don’t feel a pang of guilt about it. i feel like it was just a day that i chose not to write. i chose my podcast over the writing. i chose working with a client for 8 hours over writing. i chose eating dinner over writing. i chose winding down with a hard cider over writing. i chose watching dodger baseball over writing. i chose cuddling with my girl over writing. i chose going to bed early over writing. i chose sleeping over writing. i chose. that’s the important (pro)noun and verb. i. chose.

We make decisions all day long, but how many of those decisions are conscious? How often do we take a moment to think about what we’re saying yes to, and subsequently saying no to? I’m not talking about the big decision you made at work last week. Or the big decision you made about buying a car or where to send your child to school or where to get your next paycheck from. I’m talking about all the little decisions that creep up on you while you’re not looking.

I could have done a number of those things up there yesterday for nearly no reason, with hardly any thought at all. The podcast because I promised everyone I would. The client because they need me. A frozen dinner because it’s quick. The hard cider because it’s there. The baseball game because it’s on. The couch because it’s there. The sleeping because it came.

The difference between a life of happiness and a life of victimhood is conscious choice. When I just let these things happen to me, it’s like I have no authority on my life, and I could spin out of control at any moment. The end of the day leaves me feeling guilty for all the things I coulda, shoulda, woulda done.

But when I take a moment to make a conscious choice, the guilt loses its grip and falls away before I even notice it was there. I made a choice to get up early and do the podcast, not for everyone I promised it to, but for what I get out of it. I made a choice to drive to Pasadena and spend 8 hours not because they need me, but because it makes me feel good to do that job. I made a conscious choice to grill chicken and 5-minute rice because it’s healthier for me than something frozen or loaded with empty calories. I made a conscious choice that watching Dodger baseball and cuddling with the Wildcat on the couch will be my winding down device. I made a conscious choice to go to bed early so I feel refreshed and ready for the busy day ahead of me.

These choices took but a moment. They required only a few minutes more of me than the mindless do-it-because-it’s-there choices would have. But in the end, they saved me countless hours of guilt, of spinning tape in my head recounting everything I should be or do, instead of focusing on what I did do, and who I am

It’s not that making decisions on auto-pilot is wholly bad. I believe everything serves a purpose, even if it only teaches us a painful lesson. But when we can make conscious decisions versus mindless decisions—and on a consistent basis— we’re creating the life we want instead of letting life happen and simply pass us by.

I’m headed over to start my 750 words for today. What conscious choices will you make today?

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