We make many decisions in a day, many of them without even thinking. Unless we are focused on mindfulness. When we choose mindfulness, our decisions become more conscious, and we can no longer act robotically. Well, we can, but we choose not to, which is one of the decisions we make. For we are more aware of the fact that in making decisions we are also making choices. All of our decisions involve choices.
Master motivator Jim Rohn said many years ago that making one healthy choice makes it easier to make other healthy choices. He gave the example of eating an apple a day, and that by making that choice, it is easier to exercise more. I have found that to be true, although not in the exercise category! My example is stopping drinking and losing weight, and now, perhaps at least, managing my money better.
If you have followed me very long, you are probably aware that I stopped drinking alcohol this past May. My main stimulus for that was to lose weight, although I had realized for quite some time that I (probably) needed/wanted to drink less, and maybe, not drink at all. I had been in the pre-contemplation stage of that for quite some time. Occasionally, I got out of that stage and moved into the contemplation stage. Then I would go back and forth between those two stages and not advance to the preparation stage and beyond. Until May 7, 2019, when (for some still unknown reason) I decided to stop drinking as a strategy to lose weight. I have not had any alcoholic drinks since then. And I have lost 33 pounds. That coupled with the 10 pounds I had lost from January to May, has me 43 pounds smaller than I was at the beginning of the year. Not drinking alcohol is not the only change I have made to lose weight. I also got serious about Weight Watchers, recording everything that I eat every day, and staying within my daily points allotment. I have learned first-hand that the plan (WW) works when you work the plan.
A friend at Northrop Antiques Mall, the antique shop in Southport, NC where I spend a couple of days a month working the counter, told me today about her similar success with money recently. She had read my book, A Year in the Life of a Recovering Spendaholic, a few months ago, and said it inspired her to make some changes with how she spent money. She proudly told me of her recent success with that. Her story inspired me this time! I have been thinking that my next major area of change will be managing money better. My friend’s story was the stimulus that I needed to get serious about this.
Whatever we want to change is helped or hindered by the choices, small and large, that we make every day. Before hearing of my friend’s success today, I already had some success in managing money better on the weekend. I decided that it makes no sense to spend the two days working at the shop to spend more money than I make by purchasing items I see there! I made the decision to change that, and I decided to honor that decision. While this was not a new thought for me, making the choice to not purchase anything was new. For whatever reason, I made that decision this weekend.
Perhaps this was due to Jim Rohn’s philosophy that one positive change results in another. I can think of no other reason.
Our decisions involve choices we make. Some of those are healthy and good, and some are not. When we are mindful, we are better able to stay committed to the choices that are in our best interest. Sometimes I struggle with my decision to not drink alcohol when I am in a social situation and others are drinking alcoholic beverages and I am drinking diet coke or iced tea. It is a lonely feeling. Then I draw upon my mindfulness reserves and remember how much better I feel when I don’t drink, and I am able to make the choice to stay committed to my plan. To be able to do so requires that I not get caught up in the moment, but remember the choices I am making, and why.
When I made the decision to not drink alcohol, I did not make a forever decision. I trusted myself enough to believe that I will know if and when I choose to make a different decision. To this point, my choice remains to be alcohol-free.
Choices. Some are harder to make than others. Managing my money well may be the hardest choice of all for me to make.