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Every day we make choices. What we do. What we say. What we buy. How we respond. How we interact. Who we spend time with. How we treat our bodies. How we nourish our minds.
I’ve been reading a yoga-inspired book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and one big takeaway is how so much of our success and happiness boils down to choices – even choices we might not realize we’re making.
“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices. Some of these choices are made consciously, while others are made unconsciously.” – Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Which makes me wonder, how can we be more conscious of our choices to positively impact our financial and personal goals?
Here’s how I see this mindset impacting money and why the framework is also helpful for raising kids.
What I’m learning on our path to financial independence is that success toward a financial goal is all about choices. By choosing a frugal and intentional lifestyle, we are choosing financial independence.
We can make big choices, like to live in a modest home. To bike commute. To buy a used car instead of new. To live below our means. To collect memories instead of stuff. To have big goals for the future.
But the devil is also in the details. We make a million smaller choices every day, too. To pack a lunch instead of eat out. To go hiking instead of the mall. To set boundaries (and say no) to our kids. To be hopeful instead of pessimistic. To use limitless thinking instead of restrictive.
All the little choices – both in our actions and in our energy and attitude – add up. And yet, when we’re tired, overwhelmed, anxious, hungry, rushed, or bored, it’s much easier to make a choice that doesn’t serve us down the road.
Making More Intentional Choices
So, how can we set ourselves up to succeed?
Automation, lifestyle design, and clear goals/intentions.
In some scenarios, it is helpful for me to reduce the number of choices I have – especially when life gets busy or stressful. I meal plan and shop once a month (or 2-3 times a month) to take out decisions (and life energy spent) on meals and grocery purchases.
We’ll go on a spending freeze, as it’s easier for us to say, “we’re not spending money on extras this month” rather than, “we’re cutting back.”
We automatically divert money to our savings each month to eliminate the choice to spend it freely.
But it’s not all about reducing choices, it’s also about being more aware we make all of these little choices and being intentional about our choice (and the consequence).
“What is the consequence of this choice that I’m making” and “Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?” – Chopra
As a Parenting Tool
Teaching kids their choices have consequences – and that many actions/reactions are indeed a choice – is a powerful parenting tool.
For our preschooler, we use realistic choices to give him some power as well as tie a consequence to his choice. “You can choose between A or B” or “You can do that, but if you do x, y, z will happen — and that is your choice.”
For our school age boy, we can help him observe and identify his own choices can bring awareness to the control he does have in his life.
A Million Little Choices to A Million Little Dollars
A million dollars – or whatever your savings goal is — can seem far off. And while it doesn’t necessarily take a million little choices to get there, it does take setting goals, being intentional and consistent with our choices, and reflecting if our choices are conscious or not.
What do you think? Is this framework helpful in thinking about your goals or parenting? Join the discussion below.