Creating a New Life By Choosing

“If you’re not changing, you’re choosing.” ~ Unknown

You’re in a dead-end job.  Your relationship sucks.  You never have enough money.  You have little energy and can’t lose the weight.

You want to make changes but don’t know how or are afraid of change.

As much as our lives may suck, the comfort of that suckiness can feel better than the fear of the unknown of the change required to create something better.

As the quote above says: If you’re not making changes in your life, whether you realize it or not, every day you’re choosing the life you have today.

“But I don’t have a choice!  I have to work.  I can’t leave my partner.”

You always have a choice.

If you think there aren’t any good jobs or better mates out there, think again.  You never know what’s out there until you start looking.

If you hate your job, spend most of the time you’re not working either looking for a better job or start building that business you’ve always dreamed of.  Stop the TV and internet surfing.  Start learning and researching things that light your fire.

Spend time meeting and getting to know people who are on the path to living the kind of life you want for yourself.  Your current friends and family may give you a hard time about making changes in your life.  That’s their problem – not yours.  They’re not living your life.  You are.  Their opinions, regardless of how well-meaning they are, don’t matter.

Surrounding yourself with supportive people is one of the most powerful things you can do to initiate positive change in your life.  If you don’t have a direction, these people can help you.

If your relationship is sucking the life out of you, it might be time for a change.

For anyone who has had a hard time in past relationships, my first and most important bit of advice is: Figure out how to be happy by and with yourself.  It’s best to do this outside of a relationship.  Whether you need to take a break or call it quits, you need to get to the point where you can love yourself and be happy by yourself before considering starting a new relationship.

Without taking this step, you’re bound to repeat your relationship patterns.  Bringing your old self into a new relationship isn’t going to change anything.

Someone else won’t change you or complete you.  That’s your job.

Once you get into a new relationship, know that you won’t change or complete anyone else, no matter how hard you try.  This is usually the source of many problems in relationships.

Choose yourself.  While this may sound selfish, it’s the most selfless thing you can do.

Bring a new, happy you into your relationships.  It’s also a good idea to find a mate who can do the same.  If they’re looking to you to turn their life around and make them happy, it’s a recipe for disaster.

What Are You Choosing?

Everything in your life now is there because of little choices you made along the way.

You chose that job, that mate, what you’ve spent money on, what you put in your mouth, whether or not you exercise.

It’s not anyone’s fault that your life is what it is.  You chose it all.

Starting today, use a bit of mindfulness to notice what you’re choosing throughout your day.

What and who are you saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to and why?

How you spend your time demonstrates what’s important to you.

If you say that your family is important to you but your kids have forgotten what you look like, you’re lying to yourself.

If you say that your health is important to you but you eat fast food and don’t exercise, again, you’re lying to yourself.

Start to think about the long-term effects of the little choices you make every day.  Yes, it’s “just this one time.”  But if you excuse the same choices on a regular basis, “just this one time” becomes a habit whose results start to build.  Notice how often you say that to yourself.

“If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~ Lao Tzu

Choose Your Attitude

While some things in your life may genuinely need to change, others may not be as bad as you think.

So much of your experience is based on your attitude – how you choose to see the world.

If you’re an undervalued office drone, looking for something new is probably wise.  But, while you’re looking, see how you can change your attitude about where you are.

Instead of sulking by yourself or commiserating with your coworkers, look for opportunities to help others – ways to brighten their day.  This could be a smile and ‘hello’ to the person who always seems the unhappiest.  It could be bringing someone a cup of coffee or little treat when they least expect it.  It could be anonymously leaving a tray of cookies in the break room for everyone.

If your relationship has simply gone stale, it might be time for a break from the norm.  Take a vacation together and do the fun things you’ve been talking about forever.  Take turns thinking of little adventures you can embark on in your hometown and do them.  In order for these things to work, you have to change your attitude to one where you know that your relationship can be fun.  Start to find the fun in everyday life.

As long as you think your life sucks, it will.  When you change your attitude to be happier and hopeful, your life will magically begin to change.  You’ll see things differently which will cause you to act differently and make different choices which will lead you to a different life.

Make a Different Choice Today

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” ~ Jim Rohn

Making new choices can be scary because you don’t know what the outcome will be.  Instead of being scared, try seeing the unknown with child-like curiosity.

Instead of thinking, “Oh no!  If I do X, who knows what will happen!” (bathed in worry), think, “Wow!  I wonder what will happen if I do X.  Let’s see!” (bathed in excitement).

Every new choice is an experiment.  Failure is impossible.  Failure is a word created by people who want to keep you small and control you.  It’s the misconception that you won’t meet their expectations if you do something they don’t want you to do.  Did you sign up for their expectations?

Experiment often and see what works for you and what doesn’t.  Do more of what works.

Making new choices can mean something as small as getting your coffee at a different coffee shop (you never know who you’ll meet or where the detour may take you).  Or it can mean something as large as leaving your job and career of twenty years to start a business you’ve been dreaming about for a decade.

Start with baby steps to help you build courage and confidence in your ability to make great decisions.  They won’t all be perfect.  They won’t all work out.  So what!  It’s more important to take action, any action, to move forward instead of wallowing in the undesired current state.

What new and different choice will you make today?


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  1. Pingback: Feeling Lost? What To Do If You Haven’t Got Your Life All Figured Out Yet

  2. Hi Paige,

    Another great post. I love the way you write.

    This – “Everything in your life now is there because of little choices you made along the way” is something I truly believe. It is hard for many though to accept his because it means taking responsibility and owning your life. It means you can’t blame a partner or colleague or the economy or the government. It is liberating when we do own it though. Only then can we see that anything is possible. The only thing we need to be careful of is that it doesn’t turn inwards on ourselves, becoming a stick to beat ourselves with for everything’wrong’ in our life.

    • Given the societal programming that most of us receive, it’s difficult not to play the blame game, either blaming others or blaming and beating up ourselves. Taking responsibility for everything in our lives can seem scary but it’s so liberating. As you said, that’s the point when you know that anything is possible.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..My Life Sucks – Now What Do I Do?My Profile

  3. Pingback: How To Change Your Life In The Moment

  4. I’m an author by occupation and it’s totally clear to me that given that I began blogging, the amount I write has boosted tremendously, my everyday interactions with the sights of others have actually never ever been so frequent, the diversity of voices I engage with is far above in the pre-Internet age– and all this has actually aided me come to be much more moderate as a thinker, even more open to mistake, much less focused on what I do understand, and a lot more considerate of just what I don’t. If this is a deterioration in my mind, then much more, please.

  5. Paige, this is really great. You are absolutely right, we ALWAYS have a choice.
    I am still learning to practice this when it comes to working in a job that is a means to an end rather than a meaning in its own right. I spend a few minutes outside every morning before work, consciously choosing a positive attitude for the day. How long it lasts depends on the drama that awaits inside, but I remind myself frequently that I can choose to not let it get to me.

    (On a side note, I know I can also choose not to have said job, and in a few months, I will make that choice :) For now, I have prioritised paying for flights to spend Christmas with my family!)
    Annika Stahlberg recently posted..Is Your Dream Really YOUR Dream?My Profile

    • While it’s easier to do in some work environments than others, I like to find ways I can contribute to others or change the way I see my environment, even if the job I have doesn’t seem all that thrilling. Although some of the tasks I do may seem mundane, how I interact with or inspire others can change my mood.

      Yes, everything is a choice. It’s good to know that you’re always choosing instead of feeling like a victim of someone else’s choosing.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Finding Balance Amidst the ChaosMy Profile

  6. Hi Paige,

    I must say this about change – that change is the only route from stagnation to growth.
    Nothing much ever came through without change. Evolution, remember, is not an event. It is a process, a process of change. Without change we might still be single celled amoebae, after millions of years on planet Earth.

    The only reason we resist change is that we are compelled to work and put in effort.

    richmiraclefiles recently posted..Change Is Your Lifelong Company; Make Friends With ItMy Profile

    • Lots of great points there Mona! Wishing and wanting change won’t make it happen. We have to take action to create the change we want. Sometimes that change is scary because it’s not what we’re used to.

      Many times we say we want things to be different without realizing that, to bring “different” into our lives, we need to let go of the “comfortable.”
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Mindfulness In a Bad RelationshipMy Profile

    • Yes, it does. Coming from a left-brained, corporate, financial goal-oriented background, it took me a while to truly understand the concept. Trying to fit “no goals” into that kind of thinking doesn’t work. It showed me how I needed to change the way I look at the world, what I do, why I do things and how I work internally. Definitely an eye-opening experience and an incredibly valuable one.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..The Ultimate Productivity HackMy Profile

  7. “Failure is a word created by people who want to keep you small and control you.” Love this! Reminds me how harmful it is to let the expectation of others hold us back from what we want.

    It can be hard to ignore the negative comments of others, especially when it’s from the ones we love. This is something I’ve been trying to stay mindful of- I’ve found it helpful to detached from expected outcomes by working toward goals that simply make me happy to work on, rather than doing things for others’ approval or money, etc.
    Thanks for the reminders, Paige! Your articles never fail to inspire :)
    Meg Sylvia recently posted..A Holistic Guide to Balancing Your EmotionsMy Profile

    • Thank you! Thank you, Meg! Sometimes when I’m having a hard time reaching a certain goal, I notice that I’m chasing the goal for a not-quite-right reason. When I can shift my reason or goal back to something that resembles “because it’s fun,” achieving the goal seems easier (or, at least more fun).

      Shifting from focusing on a goal to focusing on the journey, as you’ve mentioned, works so much better. It’s the core of the concept of “no goals” (something I first learned about from Leo at Zen Habits). You can still achieve a lot but you’re not attached to the end goal. You do things because you enjoy them and the “accomplishments” are simply part of the journey. With this way of thinking, there’s never any failure or coming up short of your goals (things that actually keep you from meeting your goals).
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How to Shift from What’s Wrong in Your Life to HappinessMy Profile

  8. Paige,
    you are amazing!! I want to say I really appreciate your words and wisdom!!
    what you are doing is great, I was ‘lost’ for so many years and I read a lot of books and a lot of stuff online
    it really is all about your attitude :-)
    I say this to my children all the time

    • Thank you so much Laverne! With all that you’ve told me about yourself, you’ve made some amazing changes over the past year. You’re a strong and amazing woman and a great mom with a wonderful attitude!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Choose YourselfMy Profile