Reality Check: Recalculating

Year end is a fine time to think about the big questions of life, such as: Where do I want to go? How will I get there?

If you’re familiar with a certain brand of GPS (I call mine Martha) then you are also familiar with a matter-of-fact voice that says, “Recalculating.”

In case you haven’t experienced the joy of a GPS telling you where to go, here’s the scoop. You enter your destination into the GPS. She (or it, if you prefer) determines how to get there and tells you the first step toward that direction.

If you have the audacity to defy her instruction, perhaps because she is directing you down a muddy cow path or through a blocked detour, she notices! As you drive past where she expects you to turn, she announces, “Recalculating” and works out how to get you back on track.

What’s the choice theory connection?

If you want directions from your GPS, you need to first tell it where you want to go. Martha can’t tell you what steps to take unless you tell her where you want to end up!

Unless you know what you want your life to be, you may feel like you are muddling through each day, going round in circles. So a classic choice theory question is, “What do you want?” Once you know your destination—your goal—you can make choices each day that bring you closer to the life you want.

Another point is that Martha always works from where you are—your present location.

When you find yourself in the wrong place, it can be tempting to think that you need to go back over every mistake or negative thing that happened before you can move forward. But Martha doesn’t care how you ended up where you are. She just looks at your current position and calculates what it will take to get from there to where you want to go.

Wherever you go, there you are. If you’ve managed to get yourself mired in mud far from where you want to be, it’s from there that you have to move.

Similarly, you may find yourself mired in a life that’s far from what you want. Perhaps you have accumulated debts, dropped out of school, become jobless, or destroyed important relationships. Regardless of how you got there, it’s from there that you need to move.

Again, it helps to know where you want to go. Do you want to rebuild your relationships? Change your financial life? Become respected, responsible, and competent?

Start by figuring out your destination. Then, take that first step in the right direction. Just like Martha, recalculate your behaviour so that you are repositioned, pointing in the direction of your destination.

There are times when your direction is such that Martha commands, “Make a U-turn.” That’s sometimes appropriate in life too, isn’t it? If your path is leading away from what you’ve said, or think, that you want, then a U-turn may be in order!

How do you set the direction for your life?

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