There are moments in life when we have many options and moments when we have none. Sometimes, we can see what the long-term effects of our actions will be and other times nothing can be known. There are many forks in the roads of life, and every fork brings another fork, but some are more important than others. The question becomes, how can we develop our ability to choose the fork that will be most helpful to our future well-being? That is where cultivating the right coping strategy becomes important and totally life-altering.

If we cultivate the habits of choosing the right paths our lives will become happier, healthier, wiser and wealthier. If we consistently do the right things we will live longer and those around us will too. There are vast industries claiming to create valuable information and products for you to consume, but you may know their true motivations when your money and time consistently flows to their benefit. There are vast amounts of advertising spent to guide your dollars into their pockets. Drugs in all their varieties are easy examples of things that make money for others but often destroy your health.

An important way to guide your life is to analyse your options when you are feeling good. For example, say you have the option to go skiing one day. That implies you are feeling healthy, have enough money to spend on a leisure activity, and have some free time. What might be your motivations and how might they be directed into a set of habits that would improve your future life?

A childish approach is to go out to have as much fun as possible. To go down the hills as fast as you can and take chances that are fun and not usually injurious. It is the thrill of doing dangerous things, challenging the inherent fear of falling, and winning. A second approach would be that of an adolescent, who is trying to show off and prove that he is better than his peers by doing more spectacular things. And, perhaps, joining competitive sports where there are objective measures of his superiority. Another option would be defined as adult behavior, and that would be to go skiing in such a way as to help one’s family so they can all have enjoyable interactions together, and thus to form stronger family bonds. Yet another would be to go skiing to help your whole community become healthier. That could be done by working to improve the trails, or to join the search and rescue teams, to help distressed people.

Each of these activities are people doing similar things but their motivations are different, and the habits they will form for conducting their future lives are different. An adult could take their child on a ski trail-improving project for an afternoon, and that child would not only develop some skills skiing, but would help make the world a better place for everyone. As that child grows up, and the child could be your own self, their default habits are more mature. The feedback for doing the more mature things is that you cultivate the habit of treating your own self better.

What I should do is to create more mature habits when I have the chance to do so.