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Live Life Fully: Ten questions to ask yourself when facing life's choices

By Linda Arnold

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We all make lots of choices every day. Some are minor and will only impact the next few minutes, hours or day. And then there are those life-changing decisions that completely alter our course.

If we want to understand why and how we created our present reality, all we need to do is look at the choices we've made in the past. (Of course, sometimes we have more latitude to make choices; other times we're boxed in more by circumstances.) By the same token, if we want to know what our lives will look like in the future, we need to look at the choices we're making today. Right now, today.

I was recently given the book "The Right Choices" (thanks, coach Barbie Dallman) by Debbie Ford. The author explains it's really quite simple. If we want our lives to be different, all we have to do is make different choices. Pretty easy, huh? Most of us act on autopilot though. We continue to make the same types of choices -- day in and day out -- out of habit, comfort, fear or laziness. And then we wonder why we don't get different results.

The truth is, we're so busy trying to get through each day that we don't even realize our choices and actions aren't translating into our hopes and dreams until much later -- yikes! We're too distracted with the "doingness" of our daily lives, so we take the easiest route or the path of least resistance. Then we're shocked when we wake up and discover that we've been working toward the same goals and desires for years, and we're still not where we want to be in our lives.

This often leads to pointing fingers and blaming others instead of looking at the choices we've made. "The Right Questions" presents a road map that helps to inspire and to guide readers, one decision at a time, to make the right choices.

The magic behind the questions lies in their ability to reveal what's really motivating our actions. Our answers to these questions will immediately clarify our thinking and support us in making the choices that are in our highest and best interest. They are amazingly simple, yet incredibly powerful, and can be used in any situation or at any crossroads.

The 10 questions

1. Will this choice propel me to an inspiring future, or will it keep me stuck in the past?

2. Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment, or will it bring me short-term gratification?

3. Am I standing in my power, or am I trying to please someone else?

4. Am I looking for what's right, or am I looking for what's wrong?

5. Will this choice add to my life force, or will it rob me of my energy?

6. Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve, or will I use it to beat myself up?

7. Does this choice empower me, or does it not empower me?

8. Is this an act of self-love, or is it an act of self-sabotage?

9. Is this an act of faith, or is it an act of fear?

10. Am I choosing from my divinity, or am I choosing from my humanity?

Whew -- that's a lot to consider. And, obviously, you wouldn't go through all 10 questions to decide whether to have green beans or broccoli. Most often, a couple of the questions may just nail it down for you.

Asking either-or questions, according to Ford, clarifies the results we can expect from our actions. They help to determine whether the choice comes from our vision and dreams -- or from our fears and doubts. They also help to give us the wisdom to make conscious what was previously unconscious. And we can make better choices when we're fully aware, rather than continuing in autopilot mode.

As you go through your daily life this week, you may want to take a few minutes to observe how you make your choices. Are you quick, or do you ponder? Do you find yourself justifying or rationalizing your choice? That could be a red flag. Chances are, you may find yourself "busted" as I did. That's the thing, though. We can always make course corrections.

Good thing. Our futures may well depend on that.

Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications company specializing in advertising, public relations, government relations and interactive marketing. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to livelifefully@arnoldagency.com.


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