I’ve been having conversations with people recently where they tell me that they don’t have much to look forward to.
Cancelled holidays, nights out with friends and having a reason to dress up all feel like a distant memory. They feel that their choices have been taken away from them. In a world full of restrictions, it’s not surprising that they feel that way.
Yet without realising it we make so many making choices every day. Some choices are straightforward like what to wear, what to eat or what to watch on television.
And some are more complex like whether to be happy or sad, whether to see a setback as a roadblock or a challenge to overcome, whether to stick to the familiar or push yourself outside your comfort zone.
So how can we keep making good choices when our choices are limited?
Here are my 3 steps to making good choices – even when choice is limited:
1. Flip the Filter
Science tells us that 95% of our decisions are made subconsciously and often based on prior experiences. This can lead us to overlook some of the possibilities open to us, that we may like much more.
If we don’t make a conscious effort to question the situation we are in and the decision we are about to make, we might find ourselves deciding based on old filters, that no longer apply or serve us well.
For example, you can’t go to the gym, but you can still exercise and find creative ways to keep fit. Maybe you could seek out and walk your local labyrinths or decide to take up Hawaiian Hula dancing – which can be found online!
2. Employ the Inquisitor
Question everything about the situation and even your way of looking at it until you see what really is. Rather than accepting things as they are, instead analyse the status quo, without judging it or making any decision.
Mindfulness techniques are great for doing this, helping you to be curious and not attached to your own thoughts. You can be mindful in many ways, whether that’s using an app like Insight Timer or Mindful Colouring.
If you find it difficult to do alone, then a coach can help. Coaches are experts at asking the right questions!
3. Trust and Accept
“You live life looking forward, you understand life looking backward.”
In some situations, you may see new options that make you happy and are right for you that you didn’t see before. In other cases, you may not like any of the options you have, so you may feel like you don’t really have a choice.
If you don’t like any of the options and feel that you can’t make a difference in the situation, it can be hard to accept. Sometimes we need to trust that things happen for a reason and know that life goes on and when things don’t work out, we may well be grateful for it at some point in the future.
Final thought… You are responsible for our own happiness
When you don’t like the choices available, remember you are always responsible for how you react.
You can choose to see the best in the situation, to be grateful for what is present and thankful for the small choices that are still within your control.
It’s an opportunity to think about who you are, what your values are and about the life you want to lead. Remember you have the power to create your life, even (and especially) when things don’t go the way you want them to.
3 Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Get Things Done – When decision making is leading you to procrastinate and avoid taking action.
Living With Change Webinar – Learn strategies for coping with change and get yourself back on an even keel.
Online Programme – build your confidence and feel empowered to create the life you want, make good choices that serve you and nurture an attitude of gratitude.
7 Days to a More Resilient You – Challenging times put us to the test. Short video clips offering tips and strategies for building your resilience.