Invest In Yourself
About Lesson

Small Choices Can Have Big Results

One, small choice… big consequences. That’s what I mean when I tell you your choices don’t just affect you today. They affect tomorrow. They affect your future choices. They affect your abilities and opportunities, too. 


When you feel out of control, whatever the situation, you are likely to withdraw from everyone and everything. You do it to avoid your problems. It’s an escape. You escape from those challenges, but by escaping them, rather than confronting and overcoming, then you only prolong them. Your choice is doing you no favors. 

The degree to which you withdraw in an attempt to escape your problems impairs your ability to face up to the challenge you deal with now. More importantly, it impairs your ability to deal with future challenges and obstacles. Life doesn’t get easier, even with an increase in wisdom and a growth in confidence. It’s always a challenge. It’s always difficult. 


That’s the nature of life. As we evolve as people life grows more complex because the choices we make have more stakes. One choice serves as the foundation and more choices build on top of that choice. As this unfolds your ability to handle difficult situations increases. By avoiding choices you add to your overwhelm. 

It isn’t enough to just make great choices, you have to recognize just how powerful those choices are. Your choices impact your life now and they impact your future. Those choices can also have an impact on the lives of others. 

Moreover, the choices that you make help shape your thoughts, habits, and actions. Your actions are then interpreted by the people around you after they receive them. They shape the feelings and opinions they hold about you. It alters their perception of you. The perception that others have of you can have a massive impact on your future. 


Let’s break it down with an example or two. 

You have to make choices regarding your financial well-being. You make the best decisions you possibly can, but if you have a partner and family then those decisions also impact them. If you make good financial decisions, then you ensure your family is provided for beyond their basic needs. If you make poor financial decisions, then you put their needs at risk just as you do your own. 

You have to make choices that involve your values. The choices that you make should always align with your values, which is why it is so important that you have a good handle on what your values are. 

You can’t make decisions that align with your core beliefs if you have no idea what those beliefs and values are. Those values are your guiding light and if your choices stray from them you will go nowhere fast. Certainly, nowhere you want to be.


You make choices every day as to how you treat the people around you, whether it’s your spouse, children, parents, co-workers, or the barista at your local coffee shop. That shades their view of you. But everyone who sees how you treat others builds an opinion of you.

The person you bump into when you’re running late and you don’t apologize because you are in a hurry and then you arrive at your meeting with a new client and that person is staring back at you. Every choice matters. It isn’t always easy to see the influence of your choices, though some are obvious and immediate. 

It is you who controls your thoughts and actions and in turn, it is you who controls your choices. You have to decide how to act and think, even if circumstances feel as though they are outside of your control. 

You can’t control everything, there are constantly external factors that try to get the best of you. You can’t control those, but you can control you and how you react to those factors and circumstances. 


The Elements Of Choice

It comes down to these elements and when one of these elements changes, then the rest follow. How you think influences your actions. How you act influences your feelings. How you feel influences your well-being. To get a better idea of how this idea works, we should look at it in action. 

You have made a choice regarding your physical well-being. You set a goal to get into better shape. That isn’t specific enough, so you narrow your goal to running a mile without having to stop to catch your breath. It’s a really great starting point for your fitness journey. You feel exhausted all the time, both physically and emotionally. 

So, you are taking action to change that and by focusing on your fitness you are choosing the most effective way to do so. By taking the first steps to reach a greater goal you spark your motivation and start to think more positively. This in and of itself will ensure you feel better emotionally. The physicality will come as you pursue your fitness goal. 

The point is, you make a proactive choice about what you think and what you will do. That had an immediate impact on your emotional state. Proper action begets positive thoughts begets motivation begets the change you want to see. 


On the other hand, there are the people who struggle to get motivated. They want to make changes, but they don’t know where to start. They work really hard to convince themselves to exercise. 

Have you ever been in that position? If so, the only way to counteract it is to break it down into smaller steps. If it’s too overwhelming, then you haven’t broken it down enough. You have to make one choice at a time. You choose to get up off the couch. 

You choose to change out of your clothes into workout gear. You choose to stretch before you exercise. You choose the first exercise and so on and so forth. Do that every time and you’re making a series of small but powerful choices. When marathon runners set off to tackle the 26.2 miles in front of them… they start with a single step. 

If you want to improve yourself, change your life, and positively impact your future, it starts with a single step. Just one decision at a time.


What is your destiny? 

It’s your choice to make to ensure that it unfolds. It’s in your power you simply have to start being mindful about the decisions that you make and start making positive choices to shape your future. 

The sum of your choices is the life you create for yourself, whether those choices are conscious or not. The reality is, you can control the choices you make you simply have to take control of every area of your life and engender self-awareness. 

Examples Of Specific Choices Made Today That Can Affect Your Future

  • The choice to go to college or not can predict the jobs you can get in your lifetime and how much money you will make.
  • The choice to eat healthy and exercise will affect your health in old age.
  • The people you choose to surround yourself with can affect who you will be, the things you will do and your mindset in life.
  • Planning for or not considering your goals and what your life will be in 5, 10 or 15 years are more choices that will shape your future. 
  • Leaving life to chance is another choice that can greatly impact your future, versus deliberate and proactive action. 
  • Choosing to be a dishonest person will affect your future relationships, career success, social health and more. 
  • Choosing to ignore your personal issues, such as unresolved childhood trauma or other deep-rooted pain can affect all areas of your life, including personal and professional.
  • Retirement planning involves key decisions that will affect your future. 
  • The mindset you choose to adopt is a huge consideration that can influence your future. For example, optimists and positive thinkers enjoy better physical health, may live longer, enjoy personal wellbeing, and generally live more successful lives (source: Mayo Clinic). 
  • Choosing who you marry has great implications on your future and can affect your personal and financial wellbeing. 
  • The choice to be self-reliant can open many doors that will positively shape your future. 
  • The choice to live a life that yours, not one dictated by someone else, such as your parents or other authorities is a huge choice that will influence all areas of your life. 

There are many more examples, too long a list to count. 


The test when you are faced with a decision is to consider: how will this affect my tomorrows?

The Reality Of Choice

Just about everything offers you a choice. Every moment of your day includes choices. It’s a truth, equally, it’s a difficult lesson to learn because it highlights just how powerful we truly are. 

The power you hold isn’t over others, it isn’t over external circumstances, it’s over you. So, start making decisions to your benefit. Start making choices that positively influence your future. Make choices to shape your future the way you have always visualized it. 

1| Create The Destiny You Desire

The one choice you can’t make is when you depart this earth. What you do choose is how you decide to live it. You have to dream big, you have to find your purpose, pursue your passion, and commit yourself to achieve it. You have to create the destiny that you truly desire and then make the choices necessary to ensure it unfolds before you. 


2| Self-Belief

It’s necessary to trust your gut. Your instincts, attuned to your values, can guide you to make the right decisions. You need to acknowledge your strengths and believe in your ability to do what it takes to get to where you want to go. You are strong enough, good enough, and you are absolutely smart enough. No one should be able to tell you any different. 

3| Self-Discipline

You will not taste success until you do the hard work to earn success. That, my friend, requires effort and it requires self-discipline. If anyone understands this concept, it is athletes. They understand the level of choice involved in becoming the best of the best and they have to constantly make those choices to support the dream they’re following. 

It takes commitment to the right diet, to the long hours of work they put into their bodies, honing their craft. Serena Williams won a Grand Slam tennis tournament while she was pregnant. She got to where she is because of her self-discipline. When you set goals, you need to set them high, you have to be prepared to stretch yourself and make successful choices to support them. 

4| Present Living 

There is not a single thing that you can do to change the past. That’s history. Nor can you get yourself stressed out thinking about the future because it hasn’t arrived. You can, however, shape your future and to do so you must live in the present. 

By focusing on what you can control, concentrating your energy on making good choices, you are taking small steps to shape the future you want to see for yourself. 


5| The Right Choice

Whatever happens, know this – when you choose to do the right thing it will always be the right thing. The hardest question is determining what the right thing is because it isn’t always the easiest choice. It certainly isn’t always the painless choice. 

But a good way to figure out if you’re making the right choice is to answer two big questions. Does the choice you plan to make compromise your integrity? Are you using good judgment and common sense in making this decision? 

6| Seek Support

You will find success much easier if you are prepared to seek support. Even the world’s most successful people know that it’s important to seek support from others. Sometimes there will be a gap in your knowledge or a skillset you lack. That’s where others can step in to help you where you need to go. 

7| Take Risks 

Don’t take every risk, take calculated risks. With every risk you take, you accept that there is a chance that you will fail. But, with every failure comes a lesson. You either take a risk and succeed. Or you fail, learn a lesson, and try again. 

Ultimately, if you aren’t failing in life, then you aren’t growing. If you aren’t taking risks, then you aren’t learning. And, if you aren’t taking risks, then you’re experiencing a sort of failure anyway so why avoid failure by failing? It’s just failing in your comfort zone instead of failing outside it. 


8| Never Give Up 

Life is temporary and so is your position in it. Where you are right now is fleeting, but where you end up… that’s all down to you. It’s difficult to keep going when it feels as though everything and everyone is against you. It’s easy to feel as though that’s the case, especially when dealing with obstacle after obstacle. 

Ask yourself whether that’s real. Is everyone really out to get you? Is everything truly against you? As much as it feels like it, you need to understand that it’s your primal negative brain whispering nonsense in your ear.

Every feeling that you experience is valid. Every emotion that runs through you as a response to what you’re going through… it’s valid. As valid as those feelings and emotions are you have to remember that validity does not equate with truth. Just because you feel it does not mean that it is fact. You can acknowledge your feelings and emotions without letting them run roughshod over you. 

What you need is persistent determination. A never say die attitude. Never give up, friend. You can do it. 

9| Self-Acceptance

There is nothing more exhausting than pretending to be someone you are not. When you wear a mask and act like someone else it wears you down. Why would you want to be anyone other than who you truly are? It doesn’t matter what other people think. 


It doesn’t matter what other people choose. You have to choose you. If you aren’t willing to choose yourself, who do you think will do it for you? 

You have to practice self-acceptance. The only way to truly invest in yourself and make choices that will shape your future is to start by believing in yourself. 

10| Positivity 

I know that people are tired of hearing they should be more positive, but it’s true. A little positivity can go a long way. That doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time or positive every second of the day. 

It just means that when you slip into a negative mindset or you feel a negative thought pattern taking hold, you correct it. Often, these negative thought patterns are mindsets are false. They are built on nothing but lies based on the incorrect stories we have been telling ourselves. 

You cannot lead a positive life if you are harboring a negative attitude. Even when you are faced with difficult times, you should take a moment to remember that every day you wake up is a gift. It’s a fresh opportunity.


Life is far too short to live it any other way. You certainly wouldn’t want your nearest and dearest to wake up feeling miserable and live that existence on a daily basis, would you? Why would you want to continue in that vein?

You can write out positive affirmations, you can meditate, you can keep a gratitude journal, whatever it takes to inject positivity into your life. 

11| Gratitude

There’s something special about learning to practice gratitude. It might be a bit difficult initially, but as you get into the swing of things you start to see how much more you have than you realized. 

When you treat life as the gift it is, it isn’t difficult to see all of the incredible people you have by your side. It isn’t hard to find the silver lining in even the darkest rain cloud. It gets easier to enjoy the bright spots. It becomes second nature to search for all of the blessings. 

12| Role Model 

You can’t control other people. You can’t control the choices that they make. You can’t control the way they choose to live their lives. You can’t take control of the values they ascribe to, the beliefs they hold, the thoughts they think, or the actions that they take. 


You can, however, influence them. How? The best way to influence others to make good choices is by being a role model and making good choices. Live your values, make choices that align with them, and live positively. The rest will fall into place. 

13| Hold Onto Your Integrity 

Think about how you lead your life right now. Now imagine that someone started speaking ill of you. Would others believe it? Live your life with integrity so that no matter how terrible someone speaks of you, the people who know you would never believe a word of it. Don’t leave room for people to question your values. Make grounded decisions and stick to your beliefs. 

14| Let Go 

What is it that is holding you back? You have to be prepared to let it all go. When you let it go you free yourself to embrace the good things waiting for you. You can hold onto positivity while letting go of the rest. You have to have faith in yourself to make your way forward. 

15| Focus On Your Locus Of Control 

There is no point getting caught up with the things that you cannot control. There is no purpose in trying to control people, external circumstances, or outside factors. Right now, all you can do is focus on your locus of control. You can only concentrate on what you can do and what that comes down to are your actions and attitudes. Focus on that, it’s the only way to shape your future. 

16| Assess Values And Beliefs 

We have discussed values and beliefs an awful lot. Now is a good time for you to sit down and assess yours. You should think about what is most important to you in this life. You should think about what you believe in and why you believe in it. Often, we carry values and beliefs with us that don’t truly belong to us


At some point in our lives, we picked them up from parents, teachers, youth pastors, pastors, siblings, relatives, and other authority figures in our lives. It’s the type of thing that someone said to you once and at that moment, it resonated and you held onto it. But, at some point it stopped resonating with you yet you still held onto it. 

Your values and beliefs can change throughout your life. They shift and evolve with you as you grow, develop, and improve as a person. Invest time into figuring out which values and beliefs you have unconsciously carried with you despite moving on from them a long time ago. Let go of those old values and beliefs and get in tune with the ones that truly matter to you. 

17| Know Your Value

You don’t have to prove your worth to anyone, especially if they have an inability to recognize it. You know your worth and you can prove it to yourself with the choices that you make. It is only you who you need to prove your value to. 

No one else matters. When you look back on your life, you should be able to say that you were always yourself, that you always believed in yourself, and that you never wasted a second trying to be a person you aren’t. You should be able to see that you embraced your worthiness. That you never settled for a single thing less than you deserved. 

18| Action

Procrastination will get you nowhere fast, you have to be prepared to take action! Be eager, be passionate, push your productivity, chase success, and go after what you want. That all begins with the choices that you make today. 


Making Better Choices 

1| Keen Awareness

So much of the time we live life on autopilot. We do all of the things we do and we do it unconsciously. If you want to start making better decisions, then you have to stop and be aware of what’s going on around you. Think before you act. 

2| Careful Examination 

It might sound silly, but sometimes a list of pros and cons can help you make a decision in a pinch. It’s easy to over-analyze a situation and get yourself stuck. A list of pros and cons can be drawn up quickly and it can guide you to the most important points related to a decision. 

You’re standing in front of the fridge again and before you reach for that frozen pizza you run through the pros and cons. It takes seconds to do and at the end, you leave that frozen pizza where it is, it will have its day eventually but tonight you have time to make a healthy dinner. 


3| Visualizing Your Future Self 

When you’re making decisions that contribute to the shaping of your future, then you should think about your future self. The decision you’re about to make… would your future self be happy with it? 

Your future self won’t be happy that you chose pizza over a healthy meal. Your current you will enjoy it, you will get that instant satisfaction you were looking for, but you’re contributing to a poor diet and negatively impacting your physical health. 

4| Big Picture Thinking 

You will make multiple choices throughout your day. You make a choice now. If you are being realistic, you know there will be another decision to make, another one similar or entirely different. Life is filled with choices and you have to factor in the big picture.

What is the long-term outlook for the choice you’re about to make? What’s the long-term outlook for several choices like the one you’re about to make. Think about how you will feel about it later. Think about the potential consequences. 

If you consistently make unhealthy choices, then you are shaping a future for lifestyle diseases and misery. If you consistently make decisions based on your ego, then you are shaping a future filling with meaningless relationships. If you consistently make decisions that prioritize your career, then you may end up in a job you don’t like because you chose to chase money. 


Does any of that sound like a life you want to live? 

That’s the difference between making choices as they come up and consciously making choices with the big picture in mind. 

5| The Wisdom of Hindsight

Hindsight is 20/20. If you want to make better decisions to shape the future that you want to live, then use the benefit of hindsight to drive those decisions. We’re all human, we all make errors, we all experience failure, and make mistakes. 

But the key to bouncing back from those errors, failures, and mistakes is learning lessons to ensure you don’t repeat them. The lessons you learned from the past can help you shape your future because those lessons can help you make wiser decisions than you were capable of making before.

Life is a funny old thing. When we taste failure, it can feel as though it’s the worst possible thing that could happen. It hurts. It stings. It is humiliating. It shouldn’t be humiliating because you’re not the only person to ever fail and you won’t be the last. 


The beauty of experiencing failure isn’t just the many lessons you learn, it’s that in order to fail you first have to put yourself out there and take risks. You won’t get anywhere in life if you aren’t prepared to take risks. 

You could embrace doom and gloom every time you fail or, you could recognize that you only failed because you had the courage to take a risk to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. 

To recap. Failure is a good thing if you learn a lesson and hindsight is 20/20. Use both to your advantage to invest in your future self by making positive decisions today that shape it exactly as you have always pictured it. 

Final Thoughts 

Not every choice you make will lead you to untold success because not every choice you make is as big as that. However, every choice you make opens the door wider to the future you have imagined for yourself. 

With every good choice, the door creaks open a little bit wider. Keep making great choices and watch the door fly open to welcome you into the future that you want. 

Your choices feed your future, but how it shapes up is absolutely in your hands. So, what choices are you going to make today to make sure that your future unfolds as you have been picturing it?