A few years ago, I remember standing in Atlanta’s International Airport and being reminded of how difficult it was to eat healthy.

After being on a plane for hours, I was hungry, I wanted a taco.

I looked left and spotted the only natural restaurant. It was not the taco joint.

There I was, standing in one of the world’s busiest airports and there was one real food choice in my view.

This was definitely a first world problem, but as we know, whatever we’re experiencing will eventually become everyone’s problem.

It was decision time and the contemplation cloud appeared…Jiminy Cricket leaning on his umbrella…

Where do you want to spend your money?

What do you want to put into your body?

If you want more real choices in the future, go left.

I didn’t get my taco.

While eating dinner, I reflected some more…

Why do I even have to choose between the unnatural taco joint and the natural joint, shouldn’t it just all be natural?

What will be served in the future if I stand around and merely hope that things will change?

The latter is more important to me since I stand for authenticity, as well as, taking action.

It doesn’t matter whether it is the food I eat or the people I surround myself with — everything stems from the value I find in genuineness.

This core value helps me to clarify my intentions, and my intentions determine my decisions.

Through my studies and in my work as a behavior change specialist, I’ve seen that…

The most effective soil for sustaining change and creating a life that you’re at peace with is figuring out what you value.

This might not be the quick fix you were hoping for, but here’s the thing:

If you don’t begin with self-inquiry, then you’re most likely going to set intentions based off of someone else’s values, which is not fertile ground for living authentically and owning what you can control.

Therefore, you’ll be incapable of identifying what needs to change, in addition to, creating and sticking to new habits.

Acute self-awareness changes the game.

When you can articulate and align with what you stand for, you’ll have a sense of purpose in your daily grind.

There will be more excitement behind everything you do, even what you consider to be mundane.

From there, it’s all about planting intentions, because will sprouts from those types of seeds.

Once we press a kernel into our soul, it speaks. And that voice directs the choices we make to support what we value.

In time, almost effortlessly, you’ll make values-based decisions in all areas of your life. And you’ll satisfy the innate human need to control, by controlling the only thing you can. Your actions.

Positive shifts in your life and a positive impact on the collective will follow.

You can begin or nurture an existing awareness practice by taking a couple minutes to reflect. Ask yourself…

What do I stand for?

What kind of world do I want to create for myself and others?

Now, see if you can pinpoint where you’re acting from your values and where you’re not. Write down whatever comes up first without judgment.

Once you’re clear, it’s time to adjust, set intentions, and commit to follow through.

If you begin and find yourself back where you don’t want to be, first, have self-compassion.

Then, you can try using the mantra, Control what I can to create more of what I want, or simply return to the two questions. Meanwhile, continue to be mindful that…

Every single intention you plant, and choice you make, makes all the difference.

Originally published at medium.com