27 10 2014

As human beings with the gift of free will, we often struggle with making choices. Do I eat this or eat that? One tastes better, while the other is healthier. Should I accept this job? It will be more enjoyable than my current job, but it pays less. And when it comes to the “bievery being quote buddhagger” or more “life-altering” decisions, the challenge of making the right choice can be very overwhelming.

Every day is full of choices, little ones (i.e., what to eat or what to wear) as well as much bigger ones (i.e., buying a car or a house). Each choice can either bring you closer to reaching your goals, or push you further away. Throughout your weight management journey, there will be many ups and downs, and many reasons “for” or “against” your behavior choices. So how do you make the best possible decision while eliminating some of the resulting stress? Here are some simple ideas that may ease your mind:

  • Listen to your intuition

Follow your heart, trust your gut, and believe in your instincts. These forms of intuitive guidance can help keep your deepest values and concerns at the center of the decision-making process. Sometimes our intuition guides us toward those things we fear the most so that we can push past them and become stronger as a result. The next time you feel fear, embrace it, examine it, and if compelled to do so, move boldly toward it. Remember, change can be scary…but so are the consequences of failing to change!

  • Weigh the possible outcomes

Rationality cannot be undervalued in difficult situations. A good old pros and cons list can go a long way. Balance emotion with relevant logical factors before coming to a conclusion. Use past experiences to inform your list. What have you learned? How can those experiences help you improve your odds of success?

  • Identify and create options…and think (critically) outside the box

What optiodecision success failurens does the situation leave you with? Sometimes there are more possibilities than others. But what do you do when you think that the situation offers no options? This is the time that you create your own. Use your imagination and think outside the box…from the most simplistic to the most complicated, entertain all ideas. Sometimes the most outrageous idea could prove to be the right one in the end. You can ask a friend to help you identify options and even make more options if you encounter some difficulty, but make sure that you make the decision yourself in the end.

  • Make the choice you can take PRIDE in

If the debate is between something you genuinely want or believe in and something you feel you “should” do (a.k.a., what will make others happy), take the time to think about how you will feel about your choice when alone with your thoughts later. Can you embrace your decision whole-heartedly and feel comfortable with it?

  • Can you sleep? (If yes, that’s a good sign!)

Tune into your body. Is it relaxed or tense? How you are sleeping will likely inform your answer. Emotions tend to tell us a lot unconsciously. Go ahead and read into the related physical cues…what do they tell you about how you feel about your choice? Your internal compass can be very informative, you may just need to take the time to examine it.

  • Base your decision on your true WHY

We can deceive ourselves so easily with faulty assumptions or misplaced ideals. Considering WHY you are making this choice in the first place (what led you to even ask the question?) may help you uncover your true motivations. We all have an overall fear of making the “wrong” decisions in life, but if the choice is deeply rooted in your values and corresponds to what your goals are, then it is likely right (at least in part).

  • Understand that there are no “wrong” decisions.

It really takes the pressure off if you understand that every experience you have, whether you characterize it as “good” or “bad,” is exactly the experience you need to have at that moment. Some choices may lead to more painful lessons than others, but living life in fear of living life is no way to live. The only thing you have power over is the decisions that you will make, and how you will act and react to different situations.

Now that you have made a decision to lead a healthier lifestyle, be ready to face its consequences: good and bad. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time can tell. No matter how things may seem, you always have a choice. Constantly ask yourself the question, while this choice bring me closer to meeting my goal, or push me further away? Only through accepting responsibility for your right to make choices, can you finally progress toward your goals. And progress is made up of all of the little choices, every moment of every day. Do your best to make your decisions fit with your goals and progress will happen!


by Stephanie R. McWilliams, M.A., Health Behavior Counselor

An additional resource, if you are interested:





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