Choice and Accountability
Since I was a child I’ve been taught about the importance of choice and accountability. My parents, church leaders, and teachers frequently spoke of the importance of making good choices, the responsibilities that accompany the right to choose and the consequences that we must live with once a choice is made.
For those of you who may not know, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). Our Prophet, President Monson, recently spoke the priesthood holders of our church regarding the Three R’s of Responsibility —outlining that we essentially have the right to choose, which comes with the responsibility to choose wisely, and ultimately we must live with the results of our choices.
This talk has been the impetus for a lot of thought on my part lately as it relates to the choices that I make in the arena of my own health and physical well being. When you think about it, it really does come down to choice. Yes, there are some things that are out of our control that we have no choice about. Sometimes an illness is present and we need to learn to deal with the challenges it presents. We don’t have a choice as to whether we have the illness or not in many cases, but we do have choices within those circumstances. We may have work or civic responsibilities that, out of necessity, must factor into our lives and will affect the choices available to us. However, within that circumstance we have the opportunity to make choices every day that will either help us or hinder us—whatever area of our lives we are struggling with.
The realization for me is that I have choices every day—perhaps even millions of them—that can affect my life positively or negatively. What a blessing that is. I have the right to make decisions that will propel me down the path of my own life. I get to make those choices for myself. In large part, I determine what my life will be and I am grateful for that!
Along with that realization comes the reality that I have not always taken appropriate responsibility for making those choices. It is up to me to weigh my options and make the very best choice possible—the one that will help me be the person I am meant to be. I’m not just talking about big choices here either. I think this is where I’ve gone wrong many times before. Even the little choices matter. What I choose to eat today (and tomorrow and the next day) may seem like insignificant choices at the time, but they become significant when the right or the wrong choice is made time after time after time. Small choices become the equivalent of those big, life changing choices when they amass over time.
Regardless of the choice made there will be a consequence. As it is with the choice, the consequences amass over time too. When I consider where I am today with my health and fitness I realize, with much regret, that I am living with the consequences of poor choices. I can look back now and see that those seemingly insignificant choices I made about what I eat, how much I move, how well I sleep, have combined to provide the circumstance I find myself in now.
The beauty of this thought process and principle is much like the beauty of the gospel. I can change. I can learn from my mistakes and move on. I can start making better choices right now. I have the right and the responsibility to start with my next meal and how much I move today and the result of good choices will provide results. Just as the poor choices amassed to bring a result that is difficult, good choices I make from here on out will also combine to my benefit and this fills my heart with hope!
I don’t anticipate that I’ll be perfect from this point on, but I’m definitely going to be looking for those millions of little times each day where I have the opportunity to chose to make my life what I want it to be and I plan to live up to my responsibility to make the best choice possible so that I can have results that will make me healthy and happy for the rest of my life.