April is my favorite month of the year.  Not only does the temperature start warming enough to open up the house but more than that it is the month that I have the most flowers blooming in my garden.  I have blooms all year long but in April I may have 30 different types of flowers and I feel like a little kid in a candy store when I am in my garden.  While I was at the nursery to replace a plant, I had to decide what I wanted and then chose to buy it.  That reminded me of some conversations I have had with clients that didn't realize they could make choices for themselves if their life wasn't what they wanted it to be.  So, with that in mind, I thought I would write about choices this month. 


Live Your Life by Choice Not Chance

“What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Suppose a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you this question which was posed by psychologist and poet Mary Oliver. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to respond that you would spend your life exactly as you spent your day?

Your answer could be anything: doing work you love, caring for and giving love to your family, contributing to your community or the world, creating art, building a business, climbing mountains, or making music. Anything. The key is that how you lived today is how you would choose to live tomorrow and the next day and the next. 

Sometimes, the life you live day by day is not the life you would describe if you were asked Mary Oliver’s question. Instead, you might use phrases such as: “As soon as…” or “I’d like to…” or “I used to dream that…” while explaining a daily life tangled up in too many demands and never enough time or energy to get to the things that matter most. 

According to Jinny Ditzler, author of Your Best Year Yet, what drives most of us is the ambition to improve the quality of our lives while being true to ourselves and what’s important to us. She writes that “Although we may not be conscious of these basic motivations as we live day to day, these hidden drives are the strongest in our lives. The more conscious we are of them, the more we can empower ourselves to make the necessary changes in our lives.” 

Values are personal principles or standards—they are the qualities that are most important to us. A life based on values rather than reacting to others’ needs and wants or the acquisition of material things enables us to live in integrity with ourselves. This is how to create a rich and fulfilling life. 

Identifying your values can be as simple as asking yourself how you want to be remembered by others. As a person who cared about others, who made a difference in the world, who kept promises, who was self-actualized, honest, and trustworthy. Think of the qualities you most admire in others; these may be the values you claim for yourself. 

Once you become aware of your values, you can begin to restructure your life. With your values as your touchstone, you can create and live the life you want, achieve your goals, and realize your dreams. 

Within the boundaries of your values: 

  1. Become clear on what you want. Be specific; vague and undefined goals are difficult if not impossible to achieve. 
  1. Commit to giving what it takes. Saying “yes” to one thing means saying “no” to another. Acknowledge and accept what you must give up to get what you want. 
  1. Recommit to your goals every day. Begin your day by reminding yourself what your priorities are. Be mindful as you go through your day that you are making choices. 
  1. Do something every day. No matter how small, take some action toward achieving your goals. Remind yourself that a book is written word by word, a marathon run step by step. 

An old Chinese proverb says “If we don’t change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are going.” If you’re caught up in a life that’s not the one that you would choose, choose again.  Not every choice you make will have a profound effect on the whole of your life, however the ongoing and continuous act of making choices will.


When you start exercising your ability to make choices to change your life it can be scary, and it takes courage.  I have a self-study online course that deals with just that issue and is titled "Courage, Risks, and Rewards".  You can get more information by clicking


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Stay safe, healthy, and happy!

Coach Jan  

Jan Cerasaro
Jan Cerasaro Coaching