It’s easy to look back on your past and see how big decisions have changed your life. What’s harder to do is look back and realize how all those small everyday decisions have impacted you.
Most people give a lot of thought to making big decisions, but how many of us give much thought to the small everyday ones? There’s a great quote by Wayne Dyer that goes, “Our lives are the sum total of the choices we have made.” So what kind of life are your everyday decisions making?
Many Small Decisions Become Big
It’s easy to brush off those small decisions you make every day as insignificant or too little to make much of an overall difference to your life. For instance, if you’re interested in losing weight, deciding to eat a doughnut one day instead of a banana probably won’t make much of a difference.
I can see why people think that. One small decision probably isn’t going to make or break any huge goal or dream you have.
But that’s assuming your decision to eat a doughnut is an isolated one. It isn’t.
It also assumes your everyday decisions don’t matter much. They do.
It’s certainly true that one small decision won’t make much of a difference. But how about ten, twenty, or even a hundred of them?
When you see everyday decisions as independent of each other, you see them as too small and insignificant to be important. Seeing them from this point of view means missing the bigger picture. Your everyday decisions aren’t isolated incidents separate from each other.
Rather than working in isolation, your everyday decisions build on each other. They might be small on their own, but they can add up quickly.
In essence, your everyday decisions matter because there are so many of them.
The power of everyday decisions comes from what you do or don’t do on a regular basis. They all add up. You just need to make sure they are adding up into something good for you.
Think about it this way:
Going to the gym once won’t matter. But if you follow through on that decision twice a week for several months, you’ll see a huge difference.
Taking fifteen minutes to read once isn’t much. But read that much every day and the amount of books you’ll read in a year is impressive.
The Power of Everyday Decisions
It reminds me of a time several years ago when I first started cutting out sugary and fatty foods. My willpower was good, but the people around me kept pressuring me to eat more of them. There were so many instances when I was asked to make an exception to eating those bad foods.
Usually it was for a holiday, but other times like birthdays, state fairs and celebrations had one friend or another telling me to make an exception. Additionally my workplace routinely gave out ice cream or candy as incentives. Then there were times friends told me to just indulge my sweet tooth because “one time won’t make a difference”.
Every single one of these moments was a small everyday decision when I was asked to make an exception. If I had eaten something bad on each of those occasions, I wouldn’t be sticking to my goal at all.
If I had been asked only once to make an exception, the decision would have been too small to make a difference. But cumulatively, they would have completely undermined my dietary goal.
So what are all your everyday decisions adding up to?
It’s good to ask yourself how your everyday decisions are affecting your life.
• What are all your everyday decisions adding up to?
• Is this truly an isolated decision or a trend?
• Can you see these decisions as part of the bigger picture?
• What kind of decisions do you make on a regular basis?
Your Small Decisions Affect Big Decisions
Seeing how small everyday decisions can accumulate into big changes is only half of the story. They can also affect your big decisions too.
Someone can make small decisions every day to build up their confidence. Eventually all that confidence you build up can give you the strength to make a huge decision you wouldn’t have done otherwise.
You can make a decision to write every single day. That can build up really good writing skills. Then one day you might make a huge decision to write a book.
Of course, how much your small decisions affect your life depends on how well you see the bigger picture. Seeing the choices you make every day as too small and insignificant might mean seeing them too narrowly.
Put all those choices together if you want to see how much they can really impact your life. One way or another, your everyday choices are adding up in the life you have now. Make sure it’s adding up into something great.
photo credit: zaqi
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