A woman in a blue long sleeve shirt holds an apple in one hand, and a cupcake in the other, representing making healthy choices.


“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

— Dr. Seuss

This simple quote is a reminder of the delightful fact that you, as an adult, are in charge of your life.

As long as you have the ability to choose, and as long as you know what your choices are, you pick from a list of choices every day.

Think about all the choices you make every day — from what you wear, to what you eat, to how you spend a few free moments, to what you say, to where you go.

Each of these choices gets you closer to — or further from — a goal. If you regularly dress inappropriately for the weather, skip breakfast, spend every free moment on social media, pick fights with others, or spend your evenings at the bar, then you’ll have one kind of life.

If you regularly dress warmly enough, eat foods that nourish you, relax when you can grab a moment, hush when you’re irritable, and spend your evenings with family or playing a sport, you’ll have another kind of life.

This should be empowering. You have the power to choose in all these moments.

That’s the brains part of the quote. You determine your goals, and then you make decisions that move you toward those goals.

The next part — the feet in the shoes — is a reminder that you have the power to change what you do. You can go in a different direction. You can move your feet to where positive opportunity exists. (You can get your snacks from the health food store instead of 7-Eleven.)

Put together, your head and your feet truly give you the power to make healthy choices and to create a life you love.

Infographic: The Power of Choice: How to Make Healthier Decisions

How to Make Healthier Choices

It can be all too easy to fall into the mental trap that we don’t influence our own lives. Sometimes we default to patterns we learned in childhood and young adulthood, even if they don’t serve us well. However, we can always change direction, and the following tips can help.

1. Begin with the end in mind.

This Stephen Covey quote, and the second of his well-known seven habits, reminds us to become familiar with our values so that we can work toward an end goal.

What do you want in your life as you age? Do you want to be physically active with the grandkids? Do you want to live independently into your 80s? Identify those goals, and remember them.

2. Connect the goal to action.

Once you have goals in mind, connect them to actions that move you in that direction. Make choices to support those outcomes. When you veer off the path, don’t beat yourself up. Course correct and move on.

3. Make it enjoyable.

Have fun with your healthy choices. If you hate doing cardio on a treadmill but love playing basketball, find a group to play pickup games with. Find healthy food options that taste good, and enjoy them with friends or family.

It’s said that you’re an average of the five people you spend the most time with. Make sure your five people support your goals, even if indirectly. Find like-minded friends you can enjoy life with; be with people who don’t pull you away from the path you’ve set for yourself.

You don’t need to be miserable to be healthy. Selecting activities, foods, and people you enjoy will help keep you making healthy choices.

4. Inspect your habits.

Make time to take stock of your habits and choices. Notice what you’re doing, and if it’s unhealthy, examine the source. Is there a reason or an unmet need behind it? Have you simply gotten a little lazy? Course correct and move on.

(For help on how to do this, check out a favorite book of mine: The One Thing by Gary Keller.)

5. Keep learning.

Ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s a short lifespan. Throughout our lives, we evolve and grow; we discard outdated information and adopt new understandings.

If you’re interested in making healthy choices, you need to know what your healthy options are. Continue educating yourself. One of the best ways to do this is by cultivating a great relationship with your doctor. One reason I love the concierge model of practicing medicine is that I can develop genuine relationships with my patients and help them understand their health options.

Quote: The Power of Choice: How to Make Healthier Decisions

Making Healthy Choices: Conclusion

You have a superpower: making choices. Your sphere of influence over your own life is huge. You can decide what enters your life — from the food you buy at the grocery store to the content you stream on your phone.

To create the life you want, make deliberate choices that align with your goals, have fun taking action, review your habits, and stay educated.

David C. Rosenberg

Dr. David Rosenberg

Dr. Rosenberg is a board-certified Family Physician who obtained a BS in Chemistry at Georgia's Mercer University in 1983 and a medical degree from the University of Miami in 1988. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at The Washington Hospital in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1991 and then practiced Emergency Medicine at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center for two years. In 1993 he started private practice in Jupiter.

Dr. Rosenberg has been married to his wife Mary for 38 years and they have three grown children together. Some of his interests include being a huge baseball fan, sailing, snow skiing, self-development, and learning to play piano.