Blogpost, self-reliance

100 Choices (Base Hit Mentality)

Most of us are not dealing with nuclear physics on a daily basis. Our decisions are not all that difficult. For the most part, we know what to do. Given the choice between drinking a Coke and a glass of water, we know which is the right one for our health and wellness. However we often make the wrong choices in many situations because we are overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment. Despite knowing the right answer, we make a choice that does not support our best interest.

Although the number is most likely incorrect, let’s say that you make 100 choices in a day. Most of those choices are not unique. They are the same choices you had to make yesterday, last week, and last month. It is more than likely that you’ve chosen the same way consistently. That consistency is great if you’ve selected the right thing over and over again. It’s digging you a hole if you’ve made the wrong decisions, perhaps literally.

More often than not, change is difficult because the emotion of the moment is too much for us to counterbalance with our will. So we stay the same. I’ve estimated a number of 100 choices in a day. Again, it’s probably not accurate and it would be a HORRIBLE idea for you to try to adjust even a quarter of those at once. So I am not going to suggest that at all. The plan that I am going to suggest is start with identifying.

Take some time today to identify as many choices as you possibly can. From what you have for lunch, how you treat members of your family, when you wake up, what you watch on TV, what you do when you have free time. Here is a starter list for you to build from. After you have this list, write down the choices that you are getting right. Then pat yourself on the back or whatever congratulations you feel appropriate giving yourself. Remember that you’re not perfect and whatever you’re getting right now is a foundation.

Once you’ve identified your foundation, look at the remainder of the list and start writing down the ideal choices that you should make. Don’t worry about changing any of them just yet. Only write down the option that would be best for you, your life and your goals. Once that is complete. Choose three that you are going to focus on for the week. Set yourself up to win. If it is a change in your lunch choices, then program a reminder into your phone for 15 minutes before lunch. If you’re trying to use social media less, put those apps in a folder on the third page of your home screen. Set up rules around when it’s ok to go there. You know you. So you know which ones need changing quickly. Don’t be afraid to go there because it is in the service of you. You deserve the best version of your life possible. Now you get to decide what is important to you in your choices.

Hopefully by doing this exercise, you get some clarity on the fact that you can control the moment. Making decisions before they come up in the day is key. If you wait to decide about eating the doughnut when it is in front of you, the odds against the right decision are high. So think of this as your grocery list. If you have a list when you go to the market and stick to it, then you can be efficient about your purchases and get it done. If you have no list, then you wander around the aisles and pick up things that you really don’t need. Choose what you want before the possibilities jump out in front of you.

The idea behind all of this is not that you’re going to hit home runs every day. You are aiming to hit base hits repeatedly. Although people may want the outcomes to be instantaneous and exciting, most of the things that we want for ourselves depend upon consistency. So you don’t need to swing for the fences, just aim for consistent base hits. That’s your winning strategy!

Have a great day or not. The choice is yours!

Pete

Blogpost, self-reliance

Day Three of My New Life

With the season of New Year’s Resolutions descending upon us quickly, I thought it was time to give an alternative. “Day Three of My New Life” is actually the name of one of my favorite albums of all time. The band Knapsack released it while I was in college. Through my weekly radio show, I got introduced to the album and the band. None of this is why you clicked on this post, so I’ll move on but the album is worth a listen.

Knapsack – Day Three of My New Life

Several times I’ve dissected the title of the album for myself and attributed a thought process to it. For the moment at least, I’m going to say that the following is what I believe about change which is what resolutions promise. It’s unfortunate that the word resolution has gotten associated with so many failed enterprises by people over the years. The definition of a “firm decision to do or not do something” is a powerful alternative to the impotent leanings that most people have. So even though New Year’s Resolutions tend to be weak, the word is intended to be strong.

Day Three of My New Life plays perfectly into this thought process as it puts a line of demarkation between the past self and the present. Humans tend to lead with belief and therein lies the power of this thought process. Normal resolutions fail because it is the same old version of you, trying to do a new action. Unfortunately the life that you lead is resistant to change, especially when giving up something that is coveted. At this time of year, change is all the rage. So it is not truly a resolution but a form peer pressure that most fold under. It is crucial to birth a new version of yourself. So rather than the first, maybe it’s better to start on the number day of your birthday. That makes it personal. A part of your identity that you get to carry forward.

In addition to the decision there need to be reminders of the new you built into the day. You need to have arrows to the action that you recognize and utilize. Few of us have the willpower to overcome all of the obstacles in our way, so we need to be set up for success. Running shoes put next to the bed, reminders in the cellphone, post it notes on the refrigerator or the simple favor of having a friend as an accountability partner are all possible ways to point you in the right direction. No answer will be perfect but functionality is the key. Every day of your new life, you’ll need to put on the boxing gloves and fight the old habits off. It’s a balancing act to be sure but the shape of the fear that you feel is always your own shadow. The feeling that you are not enough to fill the new shoes that you’ve fashioned for yourself.

So as we move into the new year and new possibilities, choose the new life that you want to lead. If you want to stay true to form, that’s great! It means that you’re happy with this version of you. If not, then resolve to adopt this new life and go well past day three!

Happy New Year!

Pete

PS – My favorite song by Knapsack is “Arrows to the Action.” Even though Day Three… was the main topic here, This Conversation Is Ending, Starting Right Now is possibly a better album but it’s really close!