Every waking moment you are making choices. From the food you eat to the clothes you wear and the people you hang out with, each tiny decision comes together to define who you are and what your life looks like.
It’s twenty years since I chose to stop drinking and gambling. At its simplest level this is one choice, the decision not to do something anymore. But in reality, it is made up of thousands and thousands of tiny choices that I have made each day over the last two decades.
Let me give you some examples. I choose not to eat food that I know in advance contains alcohol, even if I can’t taste it or it has been “burnt off” including steak and ale pie, Christmas pudding or tiramisu.
I don’t watch films that glamorise gambling, look at adverts that show casino games, watch a person in the pub play a fruit machine or go to the horseracing. I won’t play backgammon anymore as in my mind I associate it with gambling or attend my friend’s weekly poker night, even as a spectator.
Moving away from addictions and thinking about life in general, some choices are big and obviously “important” others at first glace less so. But, I believe it’s these small choices that have the most significant impact on the life we lead.
We agonise over those big decisions, but often this is wasted time. Looking back over the big ones in my life, I realise that it probably didn’t much matter which option I had taken. But when I look back at all the tiny decisions and consider them as a whole rather than singularly, I realise they define who I am, the life I lead and that man I have become.
When I add them all together I get the person who looks back at me in the mirror. I suppose what I’m talking about here are habits. The thousand small habits that added together make you who you are. They define your outcomes, your results and the way the people perceive you.
If you are seeking a different outcome for your life, if you look in the mirror and don’t see the person you would like to be, then I urge you to take a long hard look at your small daily habits. The little things that perhaps you take for granted.
What time did you get up this morning, do you keep a journal, how much tv are you watching, are you exercising each day, what about spending time thinking about your dreams and goals. Did you make your bed, or talk in person to the people you love.
What did you eat for breakfast, did you kiss your partner good morning or smile at your children. What about talking to them while you drove to work, how much time are you spending mindlessly looking at Facebook or Instagram?
If you want to change the way your life looks, then you must start by changing your small daily habits. It is here that you take the first small steps towards the happy fulfilled life that you are seeking.
Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.