We spend most of our energy focusing on those “big-ticket items” throughout life - marriage, buying a home, finding the right job, children, etc. We often put so much significance on these issues (and every aspect surrounding these issues) that we forget the power of smaller decisions.
As we approach a new year, Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries wants to highlight the power that every decision we make holds – big and small.
Our Decisions Can Impact Others
Most of the decisions we make throughout the day don’t even register to us; sometimes, we make a decision without even realizing it. But it’s important to remember, even the smallest decision can impact others – positively or negatively.
Maybe your spouse had a rough day and asks if the two of you can have his/her favorite dish for dinner. You respond, “Sounds good!” - a small decision that could positively impact their attitude.
On the other hand, maybe your spouse has a rough day and asks if the two of you can have his/her favorite dish for dinner. You respond, “I don’t feel like it, let’s have ____ instead.” – another small decision, but this one leaves your spouse feeling unheard.
Does this mean we have to put our spouse, friend, neighbor, etc. before ourselves every time? Of course not. But it reminds us that we have the power to impact another person and that even our smallest decisions can manifest into something bigger. Making a decision that reminds your spouse that they are loved and appreciated can result in reciprocated acts; making a decision that makes your spouse feel unheard can result in the same.
The Power of Choice
While many of our day-to-day decisions seem mundane or insignificant, we still hold the power of choice. When the barista gets our coffee wrong, we choose how we respond; when we get stuck in traffic, we choose how that impacts our attitude.
Life happens – kitchen appliances break, errands get forgotten, meetings run long. As we approach another year, we encourage you to spend more time choosing to be happy.
Approaching the New Year
The new year encourages many to create a New Year’s resolution, and most people focus on those big-ticket goals. According to the American Psychological Association, “…it is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.”
Instead of aiming for one large goal, focus on setting specific, smaller goals that can be attained throughout the year. “Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven (apa.org).”
Learn from Past Decisions
The most important thing to remember is that we can learn from every decision we make. For example, you go to get your morning coffee, and they mess up your order; you’re late for your appointment and decide to take your frustration out on the barista. Now, say your neighbor’s daughter is a barista, and you hear her sharing how one customer yelled at and belittled her because their order was wrong and how it humiliated her.
When you let out your frustration on the barista, how do you think he/she felt?
These small decisions and reactions can be learning moments of how we treat others, how we expect to be treated, and the example we want to set for our children and family.
At the end of the day, nobody is perfect. We will say the wrong thing or react the wrong way, but we can decide to grow from it. If you snapped at your spouse for forgetting to do something, apologize. If you’re feeling frustrated or stressed, take a deep breath, and practice gratitude.
At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, our Christian counseling services aim to guide you through the challenges and help you become the person God created you to be.