Monday, 28 November 2016

DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS


I've recently found myself giving the same piece of advice over and over again. It's a recommendation that I think every single person on this earth would benefit from considering, and its simplicity is so profound that it makes it possibly the most powerful piece of advice I'll ever give. And it's all about decisions...


On the face of it, making a decision is very easy: you either do something or you don't. But our lives are filled with decisions and it's clear that we don't make the right ones all of the time. So, at an extremely conservative estimate, let's say that out of the 35,000 decisions we make every day we get 10% perfectly right, we have an awful lot of improvement to make.

In my mind, at any moment in time, we're able to take a snapshot of the situation we're in and ask a very simple question: Is what I'm doing right now optimal? If you were to do this at regular intervals throughout the day I'm sure that the overwhelming response would be 'no'.

Many of my clients come to me looking for answers. These might be answers relating to weight loss, longevity, strength or nutrition. If I'm completely honest, most of what I tell them are things they already know. I might ask how many portions of fruit and veg they consume each day. They answer with a number that both of us know to be well below optimal. They know that they should eat more broccoli and so do I but they can't seem to control their decision making around this behaviour.

So, my advice to you is to try to question yourself at every available opportunity. This mindfulness will keep you focussed on your quest to be the healthiest version of yourself. The initial question should always be 'Is what I'm doing right now optimal?'. Followed by 'What can I do to make this better?'.

Right now, for example, I'm happy to critique my own behaviour. I'm writing this blog post at 9:19am. Here's a picture of my morning so far:

1) Woke up
2) Kissed and said good morning to my fiancé
3) Checked my email/text messages
4) Updated my list of tasks for the day
5) Responded to emails and text messages
6) Made breakfast and took it back to bed (I have a late start with Personal Training today)
7) Started writing this blog post

I've had multiple opportunities this morning to stop and question my actions. At times I have and at others I haven't. Let's go deeper into my morning so far:

1) Woke up (Suboptimal) - Did I have enough sleep? Should I have tried to get another half an hour because I know I have several very early starts this week?
2) Kissed and said good morning to my fiancé (Optimal) - Physical contact with someone upon waking makes you feel good.
3) Checked my email/text messages (Suboptimal) - Exposing my eyes to blue light that early in the morning would have immediately sent stress signals to my brain. Should I have taken a few minutes to practise mindfulness, done some deep breathing or simply reflected on my sleep?
4) Updated my list of tasks for the day (Optimal) - Getting tasks prioritised for the day ahead leads to an increased likelihood of enhanced productivity.
5) Responded to emails and text messages (Optimal) - Getting started on my list of tasks gets the ball rolling in terms of productivity)
6) Made breakfast and took it back to bed (I have a late start with Personal Training today) (Suboptimal) - Was my breakfast as healthy as it could have been? Did I remember to take my supplements? Should I really be spending any more time in bed if I'm awake and trying to work? Should I move to my standing desk?
7) Started writing this blog post (Suboptimal) - This task isn't really at the top of my list of priorities. I know I need to train this morning and blogging can wait for an hour or two.

Try it for yourself and you'll find, very quickly, that with just a bit of thought you can navigate your way through your day in a much healthier and productive fashion. But don't let it get on top of you and stress you out. For me, this line of questioning has resulted in calling a day on this blog post and heading to the gym to throw some weights around. MUCH better than sitting in bed tapping on my iPad.

Speak soon,



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