We all know that for every choice there is a consequence. Whether we talk about spending our money or the food we eat, our actions cumulate to mold our destiny in life. I’d love to have the mindset that before we make any decision, we pause and ask ourselves what will happen if I do this? Or if I don’t do this, what will the outcome be? This would be a skill for life to refine our goals in life and one we could pass on to our children.

We have many choices that we are faced with every day, how do we choose to create the life we love? While this could and maybe should be a point of deep reflection, here are some points to ponder and get us thinking.

? What brings you joy in life? Look for the simple things, the little things in life that we sometimes take for granted.

? Actively look for ways to be thankful. Sometimes we look at this as if the glass is half empty or half full? When we set the example in our family or within our worksite to appreciate the blessings we have we create an "attitude of gratitude." The energy that radiates from us is noticed by others, who likes to be around someone that’s in a bad mood all the time? Make it a habit to look for the good in people and focus on that, in other words "if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all." Remember that enthusiasm is attractive, make sure you tell the whole story and encourage others to join you.

? Be intentional about who you spend time with, who inspires you or teaches you? Who do you gain energy and motivation from and how can you share that with others?

? The world is full of change, is really another vision to adjustment for progress. Work with others, give them the benefit of the doubt and remember your words and actions are powerful. Remember those who have influenced your life, just as you are influencing others.

? Take responsibility for your own actions, and the results of your actions. It’s back to the life lesson that for every choice at some time, some way there will be a consequence.

? Evaluating the choices to learn from them for the next one is a critical part of life that we sometimes rush through. Take time to learn from your past as you plan your future.

? Where do you want to be in two years, five or 10 years? How are you going to get there, what are the steps in between? Taking time to reflect on what our values are, what’s really important will help guide decisions when they arise. Take control over the things you can in life.

? Take care of yourself and teach your children to do the same. Learning how to exercise, eat right and get enough sleep are important life lessons not only for us but for our children as they learn best through our example.

When we begin the day, the challenge I share is what can I do better today than I did yesterday? What can I learn or be challenged with? Who can teach me or inspire me today?

And then, at the end of the day a great reflection might be, Did I do my best to remain positive about my abilities today and focus on the possibilities? Did I do my best to challenge and learn from others? As you reflect on this you will undoubtedly have questions to add to your personal story, but the journey we take in life starts with one step at a time.

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.