Have you ever stopped to consider the consequences of choices that you make? I hope the answer is yes. You make many choices every day. Some choices we are aware of and others are so ingrained that they have become habits. There are some healthy choices that I make every week that help me to be happy and content, but before I share those, let’s look at some of the consequences of choices in our lives.
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What are Choices and Consequences?
According to the dictionary, choice is defined as ” an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.” The definition of consequence is ” a result or effect of an action or condition.” While both of those definitions are fairly short and straight to the point, they still leave a lot to talk about when it comes to our lives.
Does Every Decision Have a Consequence?
Yes, every decision has a consequence. The consequences may be small or they may be huge, depending on what the choice is. For example, if I decide to have a doughnut for breakfast one day, the consequences will be fairly mild. I will likely enjoy my breakfast very much, indulging in sweet, fluffy, fried dough goodness. My fingers might get sticky, which washing them with soap and water will cure. I might also get hungry before lunch because though the sugar rush tastes great, it does not have a lot of staying power when it comes to keeping me full.
If, on the other hand, I decide to have scrambled eggs with vegetables and cheese, I am filling myself with protein. I will likely stay fuller longer and have a steadier stream of energy. Consequently, my focus will be better and I will not be starving after my morning work-out.
The consequences of these choices are fairly mild over the course of one day. However, if they start becoming a habit, my waist-line will probably feel the consequences of those choices much differently over the period of a year.
Related: How to Set Your Priorities in Life
How Do Choices Affect Our Lives?
Choices shape our lives. Our lives that we live in today are a result of the consequences of our choices. Some of them are easy and others are extremely difficult. Sometimes a choice might be too hard, so we simply decide not to choose. While this may feel like you have dodged a bullet, deciding not to choose is a choice too.
For example, let’s say that you are faced with a choice between two job opportunities. One is on the East Coast and offers less pay, but better vacation and benefits. The other is on the West Coast. The pay is better, but the cost of living is higher. The benefits and the vacation is not as good, but it fits your area of expertise better.
So which one do you choose? We can clearly see the importance of the consequences of choices in our life in this scenario. This choice will have a huge impact on your life, either way. It will change your income, where you live, and pretty much everything about your daily life. So which one do you choose? Perhaps you choose the East Coast or the West Coast, or you could decide to choose neither and stay where you are.
So is life all about choices? In a way, yes. The daily life that you live now is a sum of the consequences of choices you have made up to this point, be it good or bad.
Yes, there are some things that happen in our lives that are unforeseen. We will all encounter setbacks from time to time, or we may have a great opportunity fall in our laps. However, how you deal with the setback or that opportunity is your choice. You choose how you respond.
How Do Bad Decisions Affect One’s Life?
Choices affect our future in many ways. If you have made a bad decision in life, know that it’s part of being human. To some degree or another, we all mess up from time to time.
What matters more than making a bad decision in life is how you deal with it once it has been made. Are you going to keep making bad decisions or are you going to reassess and start going in a different direction?
When you make a decision, think about the consequences of the choice. What will happen in the future if you take the course of action you are thinking about? Often bad decisions are made on the spur of the moment or taken because they are an easy out. The right thing is often the harder route, but it will always be worth it.
The danger in making bad decisions is that you keep on going down the same path instead of stopping and reversing directions. You can think positive thoughts all day long, but if your life is a mess due to bad decisions, you still won’t be happy.
If you have made a bad decision or a series of bad decisions and your life is a mess, stop walking down that road! Stop and ask yourself “How can I clean this up? How can I make better decisions?”
Friend, it is impossible for you to make a mess of your life so big that God can’t clean it up.
There is hope. There are better choices and decisions to be made. You are not too far gone.
Why Is It Important to Make the Right Decisions in Life?
The consequences of choices that you make now can have long-term effects, especially if they are major life decisions. Your life now is the sum of the decisions you have made up to this point.
For example, I chose to marry the man that is now my husband. Together, we chose what house to buy along with where and when. We each chose our professions and how we would pursue the education that we needed to be qualified. I chose to quit my teaching job and become a stay at home mom when my oldest son was born. That, in turn, enabled me to be in a position to say “yes” when asked if we would be willing to care for an elderly relative. While I was caring for her, I chose to start a little blog called Contentment Questing, which led to self-publishing my first book, “The Pearl Perspective,” and many other opportunities. At each phase, I could have made a different decision and as a consequence, my life would have gone in a different direction.
The right decisions for your life will not look the same as the right decisions for my life. It is important to make the right decisions in life because the consequences of the choices are what drives your life in a certain direction. The right decisions for your life will depend on the direction that you want your life to go in. That’s why goal setting is so important – it defines the direction that you want your life to go in so that you can consciously structure your choices around it.
What Are Some Major Life Decisions?
Chances are, if you are being faced with an important decision in life, you know it. Those big life decisions usually make you stop and consider the consequences of choices in your life. For instance, some examples of important life decisions could be:
Education – What do you want to pursue? What field do you want to work in? Do you want to go to college? Trade school? Graduate high school? Get a GED? What level of education do you want and where/how should you get it.
Major financial investments- college loans, housing, vehicle
Job– what kind of a job, where you work, pay you want?
Location – Where you live and your living conditions
Relationships – Who, when, and where are your non-negotiable boundaries?
Children– Do you want kids? How many and when?
Faith – What you believe and how you practice your faith
Core Values– What is most important to you in life?
Attitude– We may not always be able to choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react. Many people do not realize this is a choice at all, but it impacts how you see the world.
How Do Our Choices Affect Others?
Part of the importance of choice in our life is that our choices don’t just affect us, they affect others as well. It’s easy to tell ourselves that our choices are no one else’s business. While that may be true, stop and consider that the consequences of choices you make impact others.
Let’s go back to that example choice of trying to decide to take the East Coast job, the West Coast job, or staying where you are. If I make a choice and take the East Coast job, that means I’m moving my entire family. We all pack our things and start a new life in a new place. Each of us has to make new friends.
My parents too would be affected by the move. (Don’t panic, Mom. This is just an example. I’m not moving.) They would be hours away from their grandchildren. Family holidays would require considerably more planning and juggling. Plus, I never know who I am setting an example for. All the people that depend on me now and friends I have made would also be affected by my absence.
Choices and Consequences Examples
Though we have already seen several examples of choices and consequences, here are a few more:
|You Study for an Exam||You Get an A|
|You cut class and don’t study for the exam||You fail|
|You Play PC games instead of working on a big work presentation||You get fired|
|You decide to buy something that’s out of your budget||Too much month at the end of the money|
|You apply for a new job||You land an interview|
|You don’t prepare for the interview and bomb||No new job|
|You sign up for my email list||You get VIP access to my freebie library and inspirational emails from me once a week.|
What Affects our Choices?
There are several things that affect our choices.
- Past experiences
- How much we think (or don’t think) about the possible consequences.
- How much research you do
- Cogitative biases (science speak for what you already think or believe about something.)
- Individual differences
- personal relevance
- degree of commitment
How Do You Make the Best Choices in Life?
There are many ways to make good choices in life. One way to do that is by setting goals. When you set goals in life, you are looking up from your daily tasks towards the direction that you want your life to go. Not setting goals in life is much like walking around, always looking at our feet. We can’t see what’s in front of us, so while we are putting one foot in front of the other, we are not taking charge of where we end up.
Sometimes we have to suffer through some hard times to get to a desired goal on the other side. For example, when I started this blog, which has greatly enriched my life and I hope enriches yours as well, I struggled. I published posts on a regular basis, but they started out not very good. (Which is why I have them hidden away in the archives.) Gradually, my writing skills improved and I learned little bit by little bit. I had to suffer through no one reading my posts before I got to thousands of page views a month. (Which, frankly still amazes me. Thank you for being one of them. <3)
Similarly, when I decided to start working on some fitness goals, I was so sore the first week, I felt like I was 90 years old. The best choices in life are the ones whose consequences align with your long term goals, even if they are hard in the beginning.
What are the 6 Steps to Decision Making?
So how can you make the best choices in life most of the time? How do you find the choice that has the consequences that you want the most? Different sources have a different number of steps in the decision making process. Though they may be segmented differently, the ideas are all similar. My favorite one is the DECIDE model since it has an easily remembered acronym. It sets a framework so that you can consider the consequences of all the choices available to you and then decide on a plan of action.
D – Define the problem
E – Establish the criteria
C – Consider all of the alternatives
I – Identify the best alternative
D – Develop and implement a plan of action
E – Evaluate and monitor the solution
10 Choices and Consequences Quotes
Looking for some great quotes to help you remember the importance of the consequences of choices? Check these out. and share all you like!
“And in life, it is all about choices we make. And how the direction of our lives comes down to the choices we choose.” – Catherine Pulsifer
“Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.” – Anthony Robbins
“Did you know that to worry about a situation you are making a conscious choice to do so?” – Mike C. Adams
“In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction. Your life is a product of choices.” – Dr. Kathleen Hall
“The choices we make every minute of every day can contribute to making someone’s life a little bit better or worse even without intending to.” – Chikamso Efobi
“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela
“I discovered I always have choices, and sometimes, it’s only a choice of attitude.” – Judith M. Knowlton
“You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.” – Zig Ziglar
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” ― Roy Disney
The Last Thing You Need to Know About the Consequences of Choices
I think that choices are a very personal thing. Each of us makes different choices and have to live with the consequences of those choices. For myself, I joined a local gym, and am trying to make small changes to improve my diet. I admit the consequences are not immediate. I did not have six-pack abs after the first week of working out. In all honesty, I still don’t but I am moving closer to my fitness and health goals. Sometimes the consequences of our choices are not immediate, and we must wait patiently for results.
Whenever you make a choice, make the most informed one you can and consider the consequences of that choice. When I am trying to make a very hard choice, I do a lot of praying about it. The right thing for me to do that has the best outcome, is not always the easy road. Often, it’s the harder road, but it’s always worth it to do the right thing in the long run. Making good choices is a very important part of creating a life that you are happy and content with.
What is your best advice on making good choices? Leave me a comment below!
Sources: LifeHack: Choices and Consequences