One of the ways we can lead a fulfilling and nourishing life is by making decisions that honor us. Every day — even every hour — is another opportunity to make a decision that honors our needs, desires, intentions and well-being. But sometimes decisions seem utterly overwhelming. And depending on the kind of mood we’re in, the stress surrounding us (and depending on how we feel about ourselves at the moment), we might forget our own boundaries and standards for self-care.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Nadeem Noor
When we’ve had a rough day or we feel like crap, the last thing we want to do — or can do — is making a nourishing, good-for-us decision. This is where a written, thoughtful reminder can help. In her book Life Is A Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally, author Patti Digh shares her own criteria for making decisions about potential projects. I think her criteria speaks to all decisions in our lives. Patti has 10 criteria for accepting potential projects. She makes sure that each potential project fulfills “at least four, hopefully, six, of these criteria.”
Her criteria include: listening to her gut and figuring out if the project will help her enjoy life more; grow as a person (“intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually”); making money and providing for the future; connecting to others, and truly help someone. For instance, these are some of the questions she considers: “Do I feel a heaviness or lightness when I think about saying yes?” “Will doing this help me consciously enjoy life, savor it, and live it fully?” and “Does this allow me to value my work, time, and energy and help me be financially responsible?”
Patti suggests creating your own list, folding it up, and keeping it in your wallet. The great thing about this criteria, as Patti notes, is that it’ll clear up your days and create more spare time for the activities you genuinely want to engage in. When creating your list, consider your self-care and your boundaries. Think back to the decisions that truly nourished and honored you; and to the decisions that clearly didn’t. Consider what makes you feel light. What kinds of projects, activities, and habits make you feel alive?
What would you like more of in your life? What does connection mean to you? How would you like to give to others? I know this might seem like a whole lot of questions. Whether you consider them or other questions you come up with, it’s important to identify and better understand what a nurturing and respectful decision looks like for you. The criteria you create can become a critical reminder of how you want and intend to live your life. A reminder that’s always with you, and one that you can channel into creating more nourishing, fulfilling, true-to-you decisions.