When it comes to intentional living, this phrase, “just because you can, does it mean you should,” is extremely important and helpful.

Our world today wants us to do the opposite. It wants us to not think. It wants to take control of our choices and decisions and it does it under the clever disguise of ease. They want you to believe that life should be easy and that life is easiest when you don’t have to think.

Some might say that the ideal life is one that is the easiest. That if only we had more money, more things, or better looks, or a special talent, etc…life would somehow be better. So when we get to a point that we can do something that we weren’t able to before, we believe we should do it.

Maybe you got a new job or a raise and you can now afford to upgrade your possessions. Maybe you just got out of a relationship and are ready for a new one. Maybe you lost weight after working it off and think, “I can eat whatever I want now”.

Here’s the problem: none of these things are bad or wrong. The problem is not in the action itself, but the thought process that should happen before a decision is made, yet doesn’t happen. Do we think about the impact our decisions have on our lives? Do we see how little choices have huge, long-term effects? Do we take time to reflect on where we currently are in our lives, what we want for our futures, and how our decisions impact both?

Or do we give in to impulse? Do we live in the now like the world wants us to? I have and still struggle with this. It took me awhile to make any lasting changes in my behavior, but I figured out two things that help.

Be aware:
Be aware of your current situation when making a decision. What emotional state are you in? What is your history with these kinds of decisions? Most important is asking yourself why. “Why am I making this decision?”

Make decisions based on what matters to you the most:
Your priorities should be your guide. If your goal is to get or be healthy, then let that help you when making a decision. If your goal is to save money, then make a decision that works towards that goal. One of our favorite quotes is, “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse”.

Before I committed to living an intentional lifestyle, I only thought about my natural cravings and tendencies before making a decision. For me, decisions were made solely on what would make me feel good, not necessarily what was good for me. There is a HUGE difference between the two (so I’ve learned).

There are two areas in my life where I have struggled with this. The first is with buying things- one area I have really grown in. The other is with food, and I still struggle with this daily.

One night of sushi. I love sushi.
One night of sushi. I love sushi enough to know I need control and limits.

What has helped me?

I ask myself, “Just because I can, does it mean I should?” Just taking a second to ask myself this has helped me to make better, informed choices. Each time I do this, I teach myself how to resist temptations and urges that I would have been susceptible to in the past (or didn’t even think about). I start building a track record of better choices and with that, my cravings lessen and the decision process become easier. The choice becomes clearer.

I become more in control of my life.

What do you think? Is this something that you struggle with as well? Are there areas in your life you could ask yourself, “Just because I can, does it mean I should?”

Let us know in the comments below.

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