by Jessica Thiefels | Featured Contributor
The power of choice cannot be underestimated. We make 35,000 choices in any given day. I believe that each and every one of those choices gets us closer to or further from where you want to go, from the mundane to the serious. For example, choosing to eat a chocolate croissant rather than a rice cake with almond butter at 3pm is a choice that will affect how productive you are for the duration of the day. The croissant will make you feel sluggish in an hour or two, as your blood sugar drops, which potentially leads to the following:
- Slowed productivity
- Staying late at work to finish
- Choosing an unhealthy dinner in your rush to eat late
- Waking up feeling heavy and stressed because of unhealthy, late-night food.
- A bad day at work the following day
And the cycle goes on. Big or small, your choices every single day dictate where you end up at the end of the day or even five years from now. When you tap into the power of your choices—something that you can start doing this minute—you take the wheel.
- You get to choose which job you keep and which one you leave.
- You get to choose who you spend your time with.
- You get to choose whether you start writing that book.
For example, imagine the life that might come from finally choosing to leave that job you hate:
- You’re happier at work, so you’re working harder
- You get a promotion in the first three months
- You start making more money, so you buy a house
That’s the power you hold—already. You have the power to get from an unhappy junior employee to a fulfilled executive homeowner, if only you start taking your choices seriously. From the seemingly innocuous to the big and scary, the power of choice is your untapped superpower. Don’t let it go to waste.
Rethink Your First Choice of the Day
More than one-third of mobile users worldwide check their phone within five minutes of waking up, and 39 percent of Americans are specifically guilty of doing this. I did this for many years and found that my days always felt more hectic and stressful when I started by scrolling Instagram and checking my email in bed.
That immediate dose of stress, sensory overload, and all the mental hang ups that come with it, always ended the same way: dragging myself out of bed feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders—all before I even turned on the light. This then affected every choice that came after:
- I snapped at my husband as we crossed paths in the kitchen.
- I was frustrated when my boss didn’t answer an email.
- I worked myself up into a fit when traffic didn’t go my way.
I attribute this to the law of attraction, which is a significant factor in how one simple decision can have so many implications. In this example, I chose to take on the stress of social media, email and the demands of work first thing in the morning—and thus, I attracted it, creating more stress throughout my day. Living in this perpetual state of stress was not only frustrating, but it hindered my ability to make powerful choices. I was choosing from a place of frustration, not contentment and clarity.
Now, I don’t look at my phone until I’m out of bed. I give my eyes a chance to open and my mind a chance to adjust. Instead of jumping into technology right away, I take time to enjoy those first few blissful moments of the morning, comfortable in bed and happy to be unburdened, if only for a few extra moments that day. I check my phone only after I’m up and about or after taking at least five minutes to lay in bed.
Play With Your Power
Experiment with this simple shift. Leave your phone on your bed stand until you’re out of bed. Better yet, charge it in another room, so you’re not even tempted. If you have an alarm, simply turn it off and put the phone back down. Don’t take a peek at the notifications, which you will be tempted to do. This will still get your mind going about today’s to-do list, what you forgot yesterday, and all the other stressors we’re prone to feeling.
Create a Choice Roadmap
A “choice roadmap” is what comes out of goal-setting. When you set goals, the choices you need to make are clearer, and therefore, you can be more intentional with each and every one. For example, if you know you want to leave that job, you can start making intentional decisions to do so. This might include:
- Saying no to a promotion that will keep you at a company you don’t like.
- Spending 15 minutes each day looking for and applying to new jobs.
- Attending networking events so you can start making valuable connections.
In this way, your goal is helping you harness the power of your choices because you know which ones will get you closer to that goal—and which ones will take you further away. By creating goals, even just one, you give yourself a choice roadmap to follow.
Play With Your Power
Set a specific goal for yourself—like, create my business website by [insert date]. Figure out what you have to do to achieve that goal and then start making choices from that place. For example, instead of spending the night watching Netflix, you might choose to write the copy for your homepage and reach out to a few web designers. Suddenly, you’re moving toward what you want, not away from it—or worse, simply standing still.
Access Your Untapped Superpower
You have the power to get where you want and create an epic life you love, you’re just not leveraging one of the most powerful tools you have to do so: the power of choice. If you’re ready to tap into your superpower, I challenge you to start today. Will the first choice you make after reading this article take you further from or closer to where you want to go? You decide.
Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency for mid-size B2B businesses outsourcing content marketing. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter, @JThiefels and Instagram, @HowtoMastertheArt, and connect on LinkedIn.