We make decisions on a daily basis and these decisions are a part of our responsibilities as a human. The decisions we make not only impact he or she on an individual level, but may also impact the decisions that other individuals make. My decision to write this article, may or may not impact you to make the decision to make a change for a healthier you. After-all, it is your decision.
In essence, the decisions we make on a daily basis are critical to fulfilling the basic human need for independence (Rubin & Shoenefeld, 2009). When we allow ourselves to make well-thought decisions, we allow ourselves to live a healthier and more fruitful life.
We decide when we wake and whether we hit the snooze button or not. We decide when, where and what to eat and drink for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We decide what to wear to work, school, or lounge around the house in. We decide what to say via text to that friend or significant other, what we read, and how we spend our time throughout the day. We decide whether we go to college or not and, if so, which college. We decide what to buy and where to shop for food, clothes, gas, et cetera. We make the decision to either go left, right, or even straight. We make the decision whether we take a vacation or not. We even make the decision to laugh, smile, frown and so forth. As you can see, we make a lot of decisions and making such decisions is a life-long opportunity.
You even took a few minutes out of your day and decided to click a link to read this article–that, my friend, was a well-thought decision!
Much of those self-made decisions do not negatively impact our future. As a wellness and fitness connoisseur, I will use an analogy related to such a field of interest.
What if our goal was to lose weight? Would the decision to eat a McDonald’s breakfast, lunch or dinner one time hurt us? Probably not. Now, what if we made that decision every day for a week? Would it benefit our decision to lose weight? What if we decide to not eat breakfast, select our lunch from a vending machine full of snacks, and then eat a huge dinner to make up for the entire day? On top of that, you decide not to exercise due to a lack of time. Would those decisions benefit our goal to lose weight?
That one small decision may not impact your future directly, but the decisions we make everyday add up quickly.
Here is the problem many of us make: we do not see those small decisions as an issue! We do not look at the bigger picture and look at all of those small decisions joined as one. I discuss ripple effects quite often. That is exactly what small decisions built upon one another create. And when those small decisions are all small unhealthy decisions, a plague of bad decisions is created.
That plague of bad decisions create a ripple effect. Look at the photo below. That one small drop in the center is that one small decision we make on a daily basis.
Now, look at the ripple furthest from the drop in the center. That ripple is an example of all the small decisions we make on a daily basis combined. That ripple looks like it has a greater impact on our future than that one small drop, right? That one small decision over many days turns to years and those years turn into decisions we make to not be physically active, smoke more, eat poorly, drink heavily, sleep less, sit more, and / or even stress more. Those decisions build and build and build over many years and to the point where one becomes overweight, lacks self-confidence, becomes depressed, and finds themselves wondering how he or she got into such a place.
As I mentioned, all of this does not take place in just one day. It is the multiple days built upon one another that adds up from the decisions we make.
The other issue is that we have a society who want results immediately and wants results that are least stressful. So, after making those decisions for many years, we now decide we want to make a change–but, we want change immediately and we want the change that requires little work from us! Unfortunately, it does not work that way.
To develop healthy behaviors requires the same process as it took for one to develop unhealthy behaviors. It requires the analogy of the ripple effect once again. What if that small drop in the center of the ripple is the one small healthy decision we make throughout the course of a day?
What happens when we make that one small healthy decision once per day for a week? That next ripple will be larger.
A month? The next ripple will be even larger.
A year? That next ripple is much larger in circumference from the hundreds and hundreds of healthy decisions we have made in a year.
As you can see, those decisions we have made from past to present, and those we make in the future, allow us to become who we are.
Are you ready to make the decision to be a healthier you? Well, it starts with a decision made by you.
Many of us make decisions based on experiences. When it comes to eating, we make the decisions based on what we are most familiar with and most comfortable with. When we are unfamiliar with a particular task, we become uncomfortable and resort to the easiest decision. If we are unfamiliar with exercise and join a gym, we resort to hopping on the cardio equipment and performing the monotonous task many days in a row. We then get bored because that is all we are comfortable with performing.
So, what do we do to make a change for any particular aspect of our life?
1.) Determine Your Objective:
Make a list of goals and rank them based on what is most important to you. If your goal is to lose weight, then making the decision between pop-tarts and oatmeal should be a relatively easy decision when purchasing grocery items. If that decision is not an easy one for you to make, step 2 becomes useful.
2.) Develop Resources:
By developing a list of resources, you are allowing yourself the ability to make a better and more informed decision. Resources may and can include friends, family, professionals, social media, internet and so forth. By obtaining such resources, one is able to ask questions and learn from others in order to make well-informed decisions based on your aim. If your objective is to run a marathon, then your resources will consist of individuals who have experience running a marathon, such as, individuals from your local running store, friends or family, following particular blogs (such as mine 🙂 ), following professional / recreational marathon runners on varying social medias, purchasing books on marathon running, and so forth. If your objective is to lose weight, finding such resources will allow you to make that well-informed decision between pop-tarts and oatmeal.
After developing a list of resources based on your objective and goals, you now have the ability to create a list of options based on the information you have. More than one option is wise and ideal. The more the option you have, the better!
4.) Brainstorming Pros and Cons:
Upon creating such a list, we can now make a list of pros and cons for each option. This is important. The more options we have can be good for some and bad for others. So, with the resources you have created, it is now ideal to use them. By using such resources, we can narrow down our options to target our specific goal in mind. This will be more important when our list contains two or more options.
5.) Make The Decision:
It is time! You have created your objective, you have developed your resources, and you have created options with both pros and cons to each. If the decision is difficult, rate your options from most favorable to least. Begin scratching out options and work your way through the options until you have only one left. If you have two options left, go with your gut instinct.
6.) Analyze Your Decision:
Following the conclusion of your decision, it is now time to analyze whether your decision was a good option or not. This will be an important step as your experience develops. If your decision was a good decision, your experience will lead you to better future decisions. If you decide your option was a poor option, this experience will also lead you to better future decisions.