Using Your ‘Choosing’ Muscle

by Joanna on January 12, 2012

Have you been thinking (maybe dreaming at your desk?) about what you want in 2012? Maybe they’re not ‘resolutions’ anymore, but this time of year, with all the newness, lends itself to dreaming about what could be in the coming months. Hope for something better invigorates us. Whether your goals for the year are health-related or not, you might find it useful to build up your ‘choosing’ muscle.

Some habits and goals in our lives are so easy to do- they come naturally. I grab my toothbrush, I put the toothpaste on, I brush. You know the drill.

And yet, I don’t always notice that I’m choosing these things. I’m choosing to grab the toothbrush. I’m choosing to grab the toothpaste (think of all the other interesting things there are to choose from in the bathroom!). I’m choosing to brush.

They are easy choices because I’ve built up the ‘choosing’ muscle that goes along with these actions. Building up the ‘choosing’ muscle is necessary for any goal. Without it, you’re left with daydreams that don’t reach fruition.


Luckily, building up the strength in your choosing muscle is just the same as building strength in your physical body:

1. Repetition builds strength. Performing the actions, or steps, of your dream regularly will make it more and more easy to do. Just like lifting a weight over and over again challenges and builds a muscle. Choosing towards your goal, time after time, builds mental strength and connects your intention with physical action.

2. New supports will arrive. When muscles work, they need more blood, denser bone, and new materials to repair cells. These things arrive just when they’re needed. Be on the lookout for serendipitous supports for your goals- books falling on your head (yes, this really does happen), anonymous comments, offers from encouraging friends. Say ‘Yes’ to all of them and watch yourself move ahead with less effort (because you’ve got more support- cool how that works!).

3. The muscle will reach efficiency. There comes a point when a developing muscle can perform its function with ease and efficiency. (Two sets of pushups? No problem!) There will come a point when the goal you’ve been moving towards will just be there. You’ll have created what you want or made the new habit not just a chore, but a part of your life. Celebrate!

Wanting to change your life for the better is courageous and hopeful. With some intention and effort you can make your way towards your dreams. And your ‘choosing’ muscle can give you the power to get there.

PS- Building muscle can be tough. Sometimes the muscle gets tired and needs a rest. If your choosing muscle needs a break, take Susan Piver’s advice: skip the middleman. Leave behind the item/person/experience/habit that will make you feel happy/good/ healthy/complete and just hang out with that feeling for a while. Her directions on how to do that are here.

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Here's my disclaimer: I'm here to let you know that you alone are responsible for what you do with the information found in this website. What I offer is information, not medical advice. I'm not a registered dietician. I'm not a nurse. I'm not (technically) a therapist, although I've been trained as one. I've also been trained as a health educator and a minister. I've got several degrees that make me a bonafide smarty-pants, but whatever information, tools, and ideas I share with you are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. I do hope that you will help yourself to anything you find useful and that feels safe for you. Because while I may not be a doctor/ lawyer/ nurse/ whatever, I do know some stuff and I am here to help.