Let’s face it, making good choices is hard, especially when those choices ask you to do something that is challenging or uncomfortable. Unfortunately, these are exactly the choices you have to make if you want to change your life.
My Wake Up Early Challenge
Recently I decided to try and wake up earlier. But every morning I faced a dilemma. The alarm would ring, I would open my eyes, and in my head, I had to answer the question: To snooze or not to snooze? And pretty soon I’d be drifting back to la la land.
Despite all my resolve, I couldn’t get up on time and I was amazed with all the reasons I came up with to prolong my slumber.
I’d tell myself that five more minutes wouldn’t matter. I’d tell myself that I needed more sleep to be ready for my day. Or I’d tell myself that I just wanted to snuggle a few minutes longer.
At first, I thought the problem was my excuses, but then I realized the real problem was my decision. Each time I had to make the choice, I would pick the path of least resistance. It was easy to say I was going to wake up the night before, but much harder to do it in the moment.
Once You Start
With so many things in life, the hardest thing is to start. Whether it’s a run, a blog post, or a business before you start everything seems challenging. You think of how hot it is outside, how you don’t have anything to write about, or about how uncertain running a business can be.
But once you start, your resistance drops away. Instead of getting caught up on all the things that could go wrong, you get caught up in doing the thing you wanted to do. And before you know it you’re in the groove and so happy you make the choice you did.
But even though I knew this, I still had the problem of how to make the right choice when my energy and inspiration was low. So I decided to shift my decision point.
And I vowed to only make this decision after I’d already started.
How does this work?
Well for me it was simple. As soon as my alarm went off, I would get out of bed as quickly as possible. If the first thought in my head was, “maybe I should get some more sleep.” I would simply tell myself, “maybe you should, but you can always decide that after you get up.”
And it worked. Most of the time as soon as I got up I realized how silly my excuses were. This simple shift helped me change my default snooze into a default boost first thing in the morning.
Now there were a few mornings after I had stayed up to late that I got up but within 10 mins knew I needed to go back to sleep. But in those cases, I really did need more sleep so I was still able to make the right choice even after I got out of bed.
How you can put this into practice?
But Toku! I don’t have a hard time getting out of bed! No problem the best thing about deciding after you start is that you can use it for almost any choice you have a hard time making. All you do is delay the choice, until you’ve built some momentum.
If you have a hard time going to the gym, only decide whether or not to go after you’ve put on your shorts and walked out the door.
If you have a hard time eating healthy food, only decide after you’ve ordered one healthy thing off the menu.
If you have a hard time leaving late, only decide to do more work once you’ve gotten ready to go.
It’s just that simple.
And the best part is that when you use this technique you don’t need as much motivation. You no longer have to decide whether or not to run five miles or start a novel.
All you have to do is decide to run for five minutes, or write one page. Then and only then do you have to choose to keep going or to stop. But by then, you’ve already done the hardest part.
So to review:
Pick a time where you struggle to make a good choice. Then instead of choosing before you start, take one small step. And then decide. If you decide to keep going, GREAT! If you decide to stop, GREAT! It’s not about being perfect, it’s just about giving yourself the best shot at making a good choice and building trust in your ability to live the life you were meant to live.