The thing we make the most of is decisions. Choices. If we aren’t good at it, we’re in trouble.
If we look closely at any area of our lives where we’re struggling, chances are our decision making needs some serious work.
If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, click here.
I recently shared with you that I’m going through Seth Godin’s AltMBA this summer and our current project is focused on the way we make decisions.
Most us react based on instinct or habit instead of responding & deciding based on logic and desired outcomes.
(Typically, we are better and more balanced in decision making in certain areas of life than we are in others. Today I’m talking about those areas where we struggle to make good decisions consistently.)
We focus on what we want most in the moment & on how we’re feeling instead of on what produces the most desirable outcome.
Seth Godin simplifies it this way: Understand the distinction between:
- how does this decision make me feel right now? and
- how does this decision increase the chances that I will achieve my long-term goals?
The other part of this, from my perspective, is the options you consider.
Our choices are not binary but we often approach them as if they are. We consider only the options that are most obvious or familiar to us.
For example: I’m hungry.
The reaction is often “Should I eat this or that” or “Should I eat or not eat?”
There are so many other considerations. Overlooking them dramatically increases the chances that you won’t make a good choice.
Through practice, train yourself to see the whole picture instead of defaulting to your most practiced options.
- Am I really hungry?
- How hungry am I?
- Can I wait?
- Do I need fuel?
- Is there something else going on that’s triggering me to turn to food for comfort or distraction?
- Are there options other than eating?
- Am I thirsty?
- What would be my best choice?
Another example: You planned to workout but you don’t feel like it. Your most practiced responses are probably binary. Either you workout or you don’t. You aren’t thinking much about it, you’re just choosing between those two familiar reactions.
Instead, consider all the options:
- Can I do it later instead of now?
- Is a different kind of workout more appealing than the workout you had planned?
- How about a shorter workout?
- An at home workout?
- What am I willing to do?
- What would be fun?
- If I do the workout I planned, how will I feel afterwards?
- Is it worth it?
- What holds more value to me, working out or not working out?
Expand your mental pathways. Think beyond your normal options.
Train your brain to make better decisions.
One of my good decisions today was my workout. I didn’t feel like going to the gym. I even considered the binary options of “go to the gym or stay home & work”. Instead, I chose both. Go to the gym so that I’m fresher and more focused for work when I get home.
This workout is an ascending ladder which means that you keep increasing the reps by 3 until time expires. After 9 you go to sets of 12, 15, 18, etc.
“Raise the Bar”
3 Thrusters (95/65)
3 Toes to Bar
6 Thrusters (95/65)
6 Toes to Bar
9 Thrusters (95/65)
9 Toes to Bar
Ah, thrusters. We have a love/hate relationship. Once into the set of 15 the thrusters got very spicy. And, having ripped my hand earlier in the week, hanging from the bar was NOT fun. But you know what? I felt really great afterwards!
On the food front:
I woke up feeling super hungry. I did think about eating before my workout (which I don’t normally do) but I decided to have my first cup of coffee & then revisit the decision.
After my first cup of coffee I wasn’t hungry anymore. Would you look at that?
I was, however, definitely hungry when I got home from the gym. I had a cobb salad and a bag of beet chips.
I’m heading out of town to a concert tonight so I wanted to eat before I left. I don’t know what food will be available at the show. Non starchy veggies for the win! They help me feel super full: brussels sprouts & grilled chicken and carrying along another bag of beet chips.
At maximum I’ll have one drink tonight but as of right now, I don’t feel like drinking. I’ll keep the food choices fat loss friendly & I’ll be sure to walk as much as possible!
Make it a great weekend!