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Ep. 119 The Power of Choice

by Claudine Sweeney
March 9th 2022

Research shows we make about 35,000 choices per day. That is A LOT! The important question to ask is do you make choices on default or do you make choices with intention? Everything we do is a choi... More

This is episode 1 19. The power of choice. You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners today, we're talking about something that all of us do every single day. In fact, researchers at Cornell have said, we do this up to 35,000 times a day and that is making choices but art of choosing and even today for this podcast, Ashley, we have to make a lot of choices like what should the topic be? Where should we meet? What time shall we record? There were so many different things that came into just going, let's record and that's what it's like every day.

And even with food, They say we make up the 226 choices everyday just concerning food wow. And we don't always think about it really. We don't consciously think about it, but it is a choice. I mean I'll go into the pantry and just grab the chips without even thinking about it, but it's a default mode of thinking and it still is a choice. Yes, it is. And what happens is we get tired of making choices to we can have, you know, decision fatigue. We've talked about that before, but that's what we're talking about today, the art of choosing because it really does influence everything influences our whole lives. It's hard to rise up and shine if you're making poor choices. Yeah, absolutely. I think of, how many times do I tell my kids make good choices? Good choices. And it's kind of funny now when I think about it. Well, what does that even mean? Like we know how do we make a good choice? How do we know if we are making a good choice and there's so many different factors that play into that. Yeah. And when I think about it, I think good choices keep you heading in the direction you want to go. They align with your values.

That's what I think of a good choice and a poor choice will take you away from your highest and best self. That's why I look at it for me as an adult. Not that every choice I make altars that I mean, I don't think it really matters whether I eat, you know, green beans or artichokes? Really? Does it matter if you eat green beans or chips? Yes, that'll matter. And then that's where you ask, okay, what is better for me, what will best serve me in my life? And I really want to feel right well. And as christians, we know that God has given us free will. So we get to make these choices like we're not robots. We don't just do what, you know, whatever someone else says, we get to have free will, so it's important to know why and how we're choosing what we choose. And this is actually a really great episode for those people pleasers out there. I will say recovering people pleaser. It's still likes to rear its ugly head once in a while, but I have learned that I do have a power of choice. As do you? You have a power of choice. You have the power to please this person or you have a power of two.

Either honor your own needs perhaps or choose differently how to respond. And this is this really changed my life because I think for myself, I was when I was in this dark place right several, several years ago, I felt like I didn't have a lot of power in making choices because I was such a people pleaser, I think for many reasons, but I would kind of make choices based on what I thought other people expected or wanted, not really honoring my own needs or wants. And so and that gets us into a tough spot, right? Because then we're feeling unhappy and we're not honoring ourselves and we're not feeling like we're rising up and shining and powerful, you know, to make choices in our lives of what we want to go after or you know, just really taking care of ourselves even it could be in so many different facets of our life Yeah and you know every choice we make has a consequence, you know, and we believe here and we talked about a lot that we can create, we can design a dream life, you know, we can live life to the full, that's what jesus came for, that we could have life to the full and for me, I thought it would all just be given to me and I think when I said yes automatic, I'm like well I'm getting this life to the full, where is it?

And then I realized, oh my choices are impacting my results and I didn't know that, so once I realized that I could consciously make choices, make good choices and live the life, I really wanted to, it was so it was empowering, like you said it was empowering and it really takes awareness and recognizing areas in your life or just in your simple day to day, what am I doing on default mode and where am I actually intentionally making wise choices, good choices right there you go and I had to do that a lot and it was really transformative, I had to really just pause and I like to think, I have a power of pause, I can pause, I can pause and really think about okay weigh the options, what's going to be best, how do I want to respond here or what should I be putting in my body right now? Am I coping when I go for the chips? Or should I just have some carrots with guacamole? Who knows? Right, what am I going to go for? But if we really intentionally pause and think about it on a conscious level, it really does help you feel better, right?

Just feel better because you're making those good choices that are best for you that are best serving you? That's right. It's funny you mention that because I was reading that the conscious mind can only hold between 5-9 distinctive thoughts at a time. Now I thought that was really high. I'm like, do I even hold more than two conscious thoughts at the time? That was really my initial reaction. But apparently I can't believe it. Maybe you could. My mind, you know, we're still young kids at home. There's a lot to do. Yeah, maybe you're juggling nine. Maybe that's why you get Well, I'm like, I have two thoughts in my mind right now. This is what happens when you're an empty nester, right? You have more free time and less That occupies it. But anyway, I thought that was interesting. 5-9 distinct thoughts on the conscious level. So like you were saying, if we consciously choose, it's very different than going our default, what makes sense is why we do end up feeling fatigued, right? That decision, fatigue because there are so many choices to make day to day.

It just a minute to minute that can feel overwhelming. And you know, some areas in life where we have the power of choice that we may not necessarily recognize at this point is even in our thinking and our perspective, I recently sent out a newsletter about having the power of perspective. You know, we can choose glass half full, glass half empty. I know we've talked about it because we tend to look at things a little differently, but it's also a learned skill, our thoughts, choosing our thoughts wisely, choosing our perspective rather than on default based on just our personality type or just even on our own neural wiring right of how we've always looked at situations or even relationships, but what can I choose differently? I can choose to look at the situation more optimistically or pessimistically well, and we don't want to let fear and doubt impact our choices. And that's why it's so important to have the right mindset because I know for me when I've made decisions, I made choices out of fear, they are very different than when I make them out of faith.

I mean, fear and faith cannot coexist and it's very different how faith shows up and how fear shows up and that impacts our choices and every choice we make, like I said, has a consequence. And so again, it's weighing it out. It's just going to bring me closer to the life. I want to the relationships, I want to, you know, to feel better to live better, Love better Or is this choice going to give me short term pleasure satisfaction. Because when I, when I hear you talk about eating those chips in the short term, I feel really good. Not necessarily chips for me, it's more like ice cream. I like ice cream in the short term. I feel so good when I eat a bowl of ice cream, I told my husband it's sometimes it's like a glass of wine that makes me feel the exact same as a glass of wine, which is very wonderful. No, doesn't sound wonderful to me. You were just thinking red wine, ice cream. Oh, chips and wine. So the short term, I feel great, right? I feel relaxed. I feel satisfied, complication, but long term, how is that going to work for me?

Right. Here's another example I thought of because this happens with one of my Children and we actually had a conversation about this is sitting in your anger, sitting in your anger when you feel very justified, right? Feels good because you feel this sense of confidence, like, well I'm right and this is you know, I didn't do anything wrong or whatever. Whatever thoughts might be coming up. And I asked this child of mine, I said, but is that does that really make you feel good? Yes. I thought, wow. Actually there is some truth to that because in the moment we do it, we do feel good. We feel very justified and validated in our feelings. But what good is coming from that, you know, on the grand scheme of things. How is that helping the situation? How is that helping the relationship between this person that you might have the conflict with? How is it like long term holding onto anger? What benefit will that have in your life? Long term? That is such a huge question because again, if we go based on how we feel, well it feels good, you know, I feel like indignant and no, this is, you know, you want justice, we as humans want justice, but the grand scheme of things long run, how is that helping that relationship or how is that helping your own well being right?

Exactly. So let's share some practical with our listeners. Actually, I think when you're faced with making choices, choosing how do you make the best choice? Because sometimes we get stuck, sometimes we don't want to make any choice. A lot of choices like what we're going to wear today or clothes or whatever. Eat that seems to be on default, right? Like some mornings I don't even think about is jeans and a T shirt, not a whole lot of thought goes into that. But if I'm going out then I think a little more the weather, I have to, you know, way all my concerns who's going to be there, What type of event is it? How long do I have to sit in a chair? I want to be comfortable, I want to be right, well never for me I'm not impressing anybody here with my wardrobe. But um, so the first practical really is to have an awareness of the values, you know, what's important in making this decision and it's important to also recognize how you're feeling your emotions. A lot of times we get triggered and we just instantly react where again go back to that pause and you can intentionally choose how you, you know, the best way to respond.

What's going to be best in the grand scheme of things. Yeah, yeah, pause is a good one. Another one is to ask why up to five times. Like why, why, why do I want to do this? And then when that there's a response why Why 3-5 times and you'll get to the deeper root and sometimes that brings enough clarity that, you know, you can make a better informed choice. I mean, I think about, I want to get a new car, not new, new, but new to me. So, my husband and I were talking about it and he's like, why do you want a new car? Well, I wanted to have more space in the back. I want to be able to get things. Why? Well, because I picture myself going on, you know, these antique trips and I'm going to have to put my piece of furniture in there, you know, and it was just funny, it's peeling back the layers to get to the root value. And so it was just really helpful sometimes when you're faced with making a choice and you're not sure, Just keep asking why 3-5 times when you answer the first, why? Then say why again?

And it really it goes deep because I just want to that's what our kids say, why, You know, this is actually really good because I'll share even a personal experience and some might even relate to this in relationships. I specifically had a situation with a friend who we are longtime friends and um I was forced with this, you know, it kind of came to a head in the sense where were we good friends in a stage of life that we were having a similarity and a commonality in or is this like a friendship that I still want to fight for or just kind of accept? Like, OK, maybe this is just what it is right now. We don't really cross our paths, don't cross as much anymore. So maybe this is what it is or I can fight for it and communicate. And I did, I would ask the why, why would I want to because I asked myself do I communicate my desire for this friendship or just let it go and kind of just fizzle out if that's what's meant to be, you know, it's kind of that surrender or giving up.

Like we talked about one of our recent episodes, but I really had to think about why, why I decided I want to fight for this friendship and I would do that. Why? Why do I want to fight for this friendship? And it really brought up a lot of values, what I value in this friendship and what I don't want to lose. And so that's a really great practical to ask yourselves in certain situations. You know, whatever your choice is going to be, if I choose yes or if I choose no. Well, why why is that right? A lot of it, even in a goal you want to go after this goal. Well, why do you want to achieve that goal? What will your life look like or how you feel or if you don't go after this goal again? Why? And so it really gets to a good root level. A third practical is accept or are we on the fourth? I don't know, I've lost track awareness of our choice and values pausing before making a choice asking the wise, I guess this is number four accepting full responsibility for the consequences. This takes us out of victim mode and really give, puts the power back in us.

And next week we'll be talking about empowered living, but really when we accept full responsibility for the consequences, the choices we make. We really, um, come from a place of power. We're not victims, right? Well, so and so made me do it. And so and so we we give our power away to other people. And we can't make changes. We can't even redirect our course if we need to make some changes um, to live our best life if we don't accept full responsibility, because then we're always the victim were always like, well, I didn't do, I didn't want to do that. They made me do it and it's easier. We probably fall victim to this more when we're younger. Uh, then when we're older, certainly at my age, you know, midlife, you learned to accept responsibility for your consequence. But I was not good at this in my twenties or thirties. It was like, well, my husband wanted to do this. My husband wanted to do that. Always putting it back on him. Never expecting never accepting responsibility for where we were. Because really I just put it on him. Well, he chose this.

Like I was a silent partner at all and a victim, which wasn't true, which is why it's important to choose to communicate your own needs as well. Yes. Very important. Yeah. You have a choice to communicate or not. Yeah. Yeah. And for those of us that are married, this is important because we do a lot of times we have to make choices together, right? We want to keep the unity and keep the peace. We have to make choices together. Yeah, absolutely. One more thing I want to point out too is just remember that you have the power of choice and your thoughts right? The way you think your perspective we talked about that you can also choose how you want to feel in certain situations and that is very tied to our thinking. And if you've listened to this podcast more than one or two episodes, you would know exactly what we're talking about and the last one also is you have the power to choose your actions. Your behavior is how you respond in situations and that is so empowering, you know, hey, I again can pause and make an educated decision or a wise decision, something that's going to benefit your life and relationships rather than keep you stuck and that's the goal here, right?

We're trying to become unstuck a lot of times that happens in life, we feel stuck, how do I get out of this? And then we get out of it for a little while and then we fall back into feeling stuck a little bit. So these are such great practical is to help with just really empowering yourself and remember you have a choice, you can choose in so many areas you have your life Yes, and we're going to make a choice right now to end this episode right? And hope you got some tidbits and practical is to help you really rise up and shine and live life to the full now and I leave you with May. Your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears until next time. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rice. I've been shined podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com.

Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Yeah.

Ep. 119 The Power of Choice
Ep. 119 The Power of Choice
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