Make The Right Choice Later You Fool!

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.


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Make Decisions Easier and Better – 5 Steps to Minimalist Thinking

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Make Decisions Easier and Better –

5 Steps to Minimalistic Thinking

When I was in college, I studied philosophy. A subject matter designed to tie your mind into knots. Very well organized notated knots, but knots nonetheless. So, let me give you the history of western philosophy in 5 steps

1. We have no idea what’s going on.
2. I propose an idea of what is going on.
3. I create a big complex set of texts about why I’m right.
4. Some hotshot comes along and tears my idea to shreds.
5. Repeat

Though philosophy is fascinating to study and can teach you a lot about the way we see the universe, it’s a very specialized technique. Very often when we contemplate our lives we use these complicated techniques to analyze situations that really aren’t all that complicated.

So, since I’m often guilty of this kind of over analysis here are some techniques I’ve discovered to simplify thinking and make better desicions.

5 Steps To Minimalist Thinking Or How To Make Better Faster Choices

1. Preferences –
The first step to thinking more simply is to understand that most decisions are decisions of preference.

There are some choices in life that will really make or break us, but many of them will not. The kind of toothpaste you choose will not dictate your life span, earning potential, or attractiveness. Even most choices at work are not the kind that will make or destroy your career.

The trick is to figure out if the decision is about preference and if it is make a choice and move on. Neither you nor history will remember what choice you made and your brain power would be better used elsewhere.

2. Deliberation –
Ok so once you determined the choice is not one of preference. It’s time to make a deliberation strategy. The key here is to set a time limit. If there is no deadline, your mind will go back and forth forever.

Do this in 3 phases.
1. Set a time limit for each phase –
These can be as long or short as you like, but shorter is better. Most people allocate too long to make a choice and this actually makes it harder to decide.

2. Information gathering –
In this period, gather as much information on each side as is reasonable. Try to spend an equal amount of time getting information unless you already know a lot about one of the choices.

3. Consutation –
Identify two people whose perspectives would be valuable. Call and talk to them about your decision.
The best people are the ones that will ask you good questions about your choice. Pay close attention to what you say because it may reveal your own wisdom or a hidden perspective.

3. The List – Now that you have gathered information and sought counsel, you are ready to decide. Make a list of pros and cons for each option. Only include realistic options for each choice.

Take some time to review the lists carefully. Eliminate unrealistic fears (The zombie apocalypse might happen, but then you’ll have other worries.) and add others things that arise.

Usually one choice has a slight lead now and it’s time to dive in.

4. Taking the Leap
Making a choice is hard and often we end up fighting our fears that we are making a huge mistake. We fear future regret, humilliation, and ridicule. I find that asking myself these three questions helps me take the leap.

  1. What is the best thing that could happen?
  2. What is the worst thing that could happen?
  3. What is the most likely thing that will happen?

This helps reveal my fears and gain some perspective.

5. Tracking and Adjustment
Ok so you’ve made a choice. Now pay attention to what happens. Don’t fret about the choice but observe the results.

Chances are doom will not ensue. And if the choice wasn’t perfect, that’s just more information for next time. After a period of time ask the following questions:

  1. What do I wish I could have known before I decided?
  2. What factors did I not consider during my analysis?
  3. What factors did I consider that didn’t play into the results?

Deciding is hard, but if we stay focused and acknowledge our anxiety, we can learn to be more decisive confident, and minimal in our thinking.