Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
We make decisions all day, every day. From what time we get up, to what time we finally crash, our decisions guide every step of our day.Sometimes these decisions involve doing things we don't want to do, like going to work, going to the gym, seeing people we don't really want to see, and so on.Which raises the question: if we don't really enjoy doing these things, why are we doing them?In certain situations, that question will have obvious answers. I work because I need to earn money to pay for rent and food. I might choose a certain job because it pays a certain amount that allows me to maintain a certain lifestyle. I might also choose another job because I enjoy the work and view that as more important than the money.Either way, I'm making a choice. Ultimately, if I don't like that choice I have the power to change my decision.'Have' vs. 'Choose'You'll often hear people complain about certain aspects of their life and talk about them as though they are obligations or situations that have been forced upon them.'I have to go to work''I have to get up early to get the kids to school''I have to finish that essay tonight'Actually, these statements are not arbitrary 'have tos' but the result of choices.So what would happen if we treated them like that?First of all, we need to examine the reasons behind these undesirable actions.Like: I have to go to work in this particular job because I want to maintain my lifestyle.I have to finish that essay tonight because I want to get good grades.Once we've found the reasons, we need to start taking responsibility for our decisions. There is nothing that we actually have to do, beyond meeting the basic needs of eating, drinking and sleeping.Everything else is a choice.A New PerspectiveWhen we acknowledge this choice, the above sentences change.I choose to go to work in this particular job because I want to maintain my lifestyle.I choose to finish this essay tonight, just like I choose to stay in college, because I want to get good grades and/or a degree.Of course, if you can't think of any good reasons why you are performing these actions then this might be a good time to re-evaluate some of your choices.How does viewing 'have tos' as 'choose tos' change the way you think about your day?For more information about taking responsibility for your feelings, thoughts and actions, check out Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.