Many of our day-to-day choices have been taken away from us recently. From choosing to pop into a coffee shop the morning, to choosing whether to go into the office – these choices are now made for us. It can take a toll on our mental health. But there are a number of ways we can take control of our lives again.
It might not seem like we have a hold over the choices we make in our daily lives at the moment. But there are ways in which we can take control of them again. I don’t mean being disobedient. You can still be law-abiding, but still able to feel like you have control over the little things in life. You can still feel like you’ve made the most of your day with the options that you have in front of you.
Is it the end of choice overload?
You might feel like you don’t have a choice anymore and that everything you do is determined by ‘the rules’. But before the pandemic, we were overwhelmed choices.
A lot of people have been telling me that they feel stuck. But often that stuck feeling isn’t coming from a lack of choice. It’s still coming from ‘too much’ choice and not knowing which turns to take. Others feel stuck when they aren’t taking any turns at all.
There’s a study from Stamford and Colombia that goes into the ramifications of choice overload. To narrow it down, the findings were:
- Most of us prefer to make quick and easy choices
- People avoid complex decisions
- People find it stressful comparing alternatives
- If consumers don’t have a clear preference, they avoid a decision
So when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, consider all of the choices that you have made in the past few days. It can be anything from the last cereal you decided to buy, to wanting to start that small business idea.
To continue to move forward, the decisions you make have to challenge you in some way. For instance, by choosing the same Crunchy Nut Cornflakes (which you have done for the last five years) you might be avoiding the decision to become a little healthier. When you finally pick up those Bran Flakes, you are making the choice to start change.
When you take control, things start moving.
Start taking notice of these automatic choices that you’re making and ask yourself if it is time for a change.
By taking control of these choices, you are, in turn, taking back control of your life. Autopilot can feel fine, but in these challenging times, we all should look to the choices we are still making and can make for the rest of our lives.