I’ve heard it said that “it’s a battle out there” but what I’m learning is that the battles we face are a lot closer than “out there.” Standing in my kitchen the other day, I found myself starring in to the abyss of an open refrigerator. What do I want? I thought.
But I wasn’t prepared for the aha that followed… I had warring wants. On one hand, I wanted something indulgent because it had after all been a very challenging day. However, my momentary pause reminded me that I was trying to get back on track with healthy eating choices. Suddenly I realized that in many of life’s decision moments, we’re faced with warring wants and not recognizing the battle. There are several things we can do to wake up our inner warrior and come out a winner when we have choices to make.
1. Recognizes your conflicting wants.
When we boil our decisions down to their simplest form, we’re answering a question of “what do we want” when we make a choice. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to hit the snooze button in the morning without every giving it a second thought? But, when we reach for that button, we may be encountering our first conflicting want of the day. Do I want to rest a bit longer in my cozy bed, or do I want to get up and have quiet time before my family wakes up, go to the gym or in my case write? Choosing the snooze button is picking a winner between those two wants. Without actually saying it, we’re telling ourselves the rest is a greater priority over any of the actions we’d have taken if we got up.
The intersection of our choices reveals the battle of our wants. Do I want to indulge in a warm gooey brownie that is my comfort food love language, or do I want to move the number on the scale back to where I’d like it to be? Our days are filled with warring wants. But before we can begin to win the battle, we need to see the choices for what they are.
2. It’s not about good vs. bad.
Some decisions have more obvious or tangible impacts. There may be a clear winner in this is better than that. But, we can face similar battles when both choices seem good. Lysa Terkeurst’s book the Best Yes deals with just that. Sometimes in life we have to decide between two things that both sound good. Recognize that those moments have warring wants too. Take time to assess which is the “best” yes, which choice gives your time and energy to the people, activity, or things that have a higher priority for you? Sometimes you will need to say ‘no’ to good things so that you are free to pursue the better ones.
3. Realize it IS a battle.
There’s power in our choices, especially the ones we seemingly make on autopilot. Recognize that your old habits and patterns will challenge your desire for change with each decision you encounter during the day. Recognize your conflicting wants and the war they wage on your progress. Thinking through my choices this week, I realized that if you don’t acknowledge the battle, you won’t show up prepared for the fight. I haven’t had a warrior mentality when it comes to my morning routine or even my food choices. And, I’m sure I’m not the only one who occasionally beats myself up over not making the best choices.
That flipped this week when I recognized those moments as battles. The power is in the moment of decision. In those moment, identify the two wants – do you want to honor your commitment to building your nest-egg, or do you want that cute new outfit more? When emotional, do you want to choose the over-sized cookie over your desire to hit your goal weight? Which priority matters most? Recognize the warring wants and then give yourself power and authority to choose which want wins. Show up every day with a warrior mentality ready to fight for the wants that are most important to you.
4. Recognize the buy now, pay later traps.
Decisions that hit our Achilles heals don’t come with an advertised sticker price. Like a free 7-day trial, the cost isn’t displayed up front but slides in after you’ve “signed” on the dotted line. In the everyday battles we face we have to be honest with ourselves what we’re “buying” and how much it will really cost in the end. Don’t buy the party sized bag of chips if you know you can’t eat just one and are trying to lose weight. Don’t meet your friend at the mall or log into Amazon if spending is your weakness. Go to a coffee shop and not a bar if alcohol tempts you.
In the war of our wants, there are some that sneak in as small seeds that can grow deep roots if we aren’t careful. When a desire for temporary “relief” from stress comes in the form of something that can take us down the wrong path, we need recognize the trap. Want a healthy version of you more than you want the escape it provides.
5. Don’t fight alone.
Chances are you can already identify one of your decision trouble spots. You may find this awareness gives you just the fuel you need to take charge of your decisions. Or, instead you may feel like the new awareness is overwhelming. No matter what the area of your struggle, you’re not the only one!
You don’t have to look far to find others who are dealing with similar difficulties. Whether you find a Facebook group, a good friend, a support group, or a counselor, support isn’t far away. Also, don’t discount the power of leaning on your faith when decisions are tough. Scripture says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13. There is no battle you need to fight alone. Make this week the week that you find warriors to walk along side you in your battle!
It’s your turn.
I wish I could say that since my aha I’ve made only good choices but, that wouldn’t be the truth. What I have found is that I’m having a bit more internal dialog about a few of my decisions. In some cases, I’ve done well. In others, I’m learning that I need to do a bit more. What about you? Is there an area that you’re allowing autopilot to pick choices that aren’t what you really want? What will you do differently this week? Please comment and let me know if my aha encouraged you too. And if it did, why not share this post?
When you find yourself in a decision-making autopilot moment, ask if you have conflicting wants. Identify the warring wants and consider if you’re giving priority to the one that’s best for you. If you have an area that’s been a battle but you haven’t been showing up ready to fight, wake up your inner warrior – you owe it to yourself. Maybe this is the week you need to add to your team and stop fighting this battle alone. Identify a friend, counselor, or resource to add to your team and let them know what you’re struggling with.
Have a great week friend! And until next time, be blessed
A few other posts you might enjoy:
- What Tidying Up Taught Me About Perspective
- 4 Things You Can to do to Conquer Weary
- 5 Things You Need To Do When You Feel Off Track
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