Session #10: Control and Choice


 

Habit Check In

Each week we will check in on the daily habit you have set for yourself. What positive experience have you had with your habit this week?

 

Control and Choice

This week we are going to continue our journey of mindfulness. So much of what we have discussed so far is about awareness, and we are going to extend that into every aspect of our day. Whether or not we recognize it, life is simply a series of choices. No matter what happens, you have a choice. Someone insults you, you choose whether you’re going to be offended, whether you’re going to respond, whether you’re going to let it go. You roll your ankle in a game, you decide whether you’re going to tough it out or rest. You knock over a cherished family heirloom and it shatters on the floor, you choose whether to be devastated and for how long.

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .” — Epictetus

It’s important to separate out choice from control. You don’t necessarily have control over everything in your life, but you do have choice regarding your responses to control. And with an increase in choice and control over our own behavior, we increase our ability to influence situations that were previously outside of our control. If we can focus on making clear what parts of our day are within our control and what parts are not, we will not only be happier, we will have a distinct advantage over other people who fail to realize they are fighting an unwinnable battle.

This also applies to our goals. Often we determine that a goal is too big or unattainable because of factors outside of our control. We may also hit a plateau and determine that the solution is just not possible. One of the ways I have found the most success with goals is to hire an expert to walk me through the process. That may seem like a big step, but let’s review the benefits:

  • When you pay for a service, you are exponentially more committed to the results
  • An expert will have the knowledge and resources to help move you forward
  • By paying for a service, the expert is committed to your results
  • By committing to someone else, you increase the chances of completing your goal by as much as 65%
  • By committing to a specific appointment with someone else, you increase the changes of completing your goal by as much as 95%

As you move to move forward, continue to see the choices as they present themselves in your daily life. And as you see these choices present themselves, take the time to prepare your environment to ensure that the right choice is the easiest choice to make.

Evening Reflection

At the end of each day, before you retire to bed, practice the habit of asking yourself variations of the following questions.

  • What habit did I curb today?
  • How am I better?
  • How can I improve?

Each evening will conclude with reflection and analysis about how it all went, so that tomorrow you can be more patient, more effective, freezer from fear, and happier. It is a loop that, over time, makes us strong and resilient.

You can find this activity here.

 

Action Step

  • Practice the Evening Reflection activity
  • Complete and track your habit for the next 7 days