So the time has come, finals are almost upon us. For most people that means late nights, (or in my case, reeaally early mornings), frantic reading and writing, note cards full of big words and important people and most importantly, a lot of coffee. When we have looming deadlines and fear-inducing amounts of work to be done, making smart decisions can become even more difficult than normal. Maybe you stop eating healthy foods, or going to the gym, maybe your room become the remains of a hurricane and your sweatpants your main outfit…whether it’s little things like eating too many doughnuts or big things like dating someone who we know isn’t right, we all do things we regret. I know I make decisions I feel bad about regularly, and every time I do, I ask myself: why did I do that? Even though most of the time it’s just a rhetorical question, recently I’ve been trying to understand why we make bad decisions. I mean, it’s not as if we don’t really know in the moment that it’s a bad choice, but I think we always find a way to justify it.
Then we pay for it later when we feel bad about what we did. Not only that, but these bad decisions are holding us back from becoming the best version of ourselves. I know it can be hard to stop making bad choices, in the moment they just seem so inviting. But I know there are people out there who have mastered the art of making good decisions and recently I’ve been looking into the formula they follow, here’s what I found:
1) Stop. Think. Ask. Usually right before we make a bad decision, we don’t’ really stop to analyze it. The thought “this is a bad idea” might cross our minds but then our ego says “shhh, it’s okay because…[insert justification here]” So next time you find yourself reaching for your wallet or a doughnut, stop, think and ask this question: How does this serve my higher self? If the answer is “uhhh…” then stop. Your ego may come up with some lame excuse but don’t buy it! If you can’t come up with a really good answer to that question don’t do it. To help me with this, I have a reminder on my phone that shows up every 3 hours that asks the question, “how does this serve my higher self.” I helps me to have an outside reminder.
2) Picture it. We all want to improve some aspect of ourselves, we have an ideal self that we want to become. But those poor choices keep holding us back. To help with this, next time you’re on the verge of making a bad choice bring a picture in mind of what your ideal self. What is that person like? Confident? Do they have more money in savings? Are they healthy? If the decision you’re about to make does not line up with the person you want to become, don’t do it!
3) Make believe. Even though we all have a person we want to be, we always tell ourselves we’ll work on that later. We keep putting it off over and over again. So here’s another tip: pretend you are that person. Pretend you are the best version of yourself now. That person knows that you don’t really need yet another pair of heels, that person knows that you need to get that homework done now. So pretend you are the person you want to be and let that person make the right decision.
4) Determine when and where. Usually there is a specific time and place in which we tend to make bad decisions. For me the when is whenever I’m tired or frustrated and the where is often somewhere I don’t usually go like a restaurant or a friend’s house. Identify your when and where. Write them down or just keep them in mind so that you can a) avoid those specific situations and b) if you can’t avoid them find a better way to cope.
Try out these tips and let me know what happens! Did they help? When and where are you most likely to make a poor decision?
There is definitely an art to learning to make good decisions habitually and I’m determined to get this one down!
This week I challenge you to follow these steps and see if that changes your decisions, we can work on this together!
PS: this pic was taken at my godmother’s house, I went to visit her in Atlanta and we had a lovely time as always. She is a great decorator (this is the bedside table in the guest room), and her blog http://mixiedesigns.wordpress.com/ is all about organization and it’s awesome! She also has a great habit of making smart decisions which I really admire her for, yay for role-models!