Ever heard of the saying “the hardest thing is the right thing”; I am technically not sure how it goes but I wanted to emphasize on how decision-making is an indispensable skill to sharpen in our daily tasks, which can sometimes be overwhelming. From the time a person begins his day, he is faced with countless tasks requiring him to make a decision. As the day goes on, the fate of decisions persistently resurfaces throughout the individual’s day as he consistently contemplates on the outcomes of his choices (like is what I am choosing in the best interest for me or not). Oftentimes, a person navigates throughout the day completely oblivious to his willpower, that by the end of the day, there is little energy left in the tank to do the essentials to preserve other aspects of personal wellness.
For instance, think of the routines or hurdles you go through to get yourself up from bed and to start your day whenever you feel like rolling on the other-cooler side of the bed to catch some more sleep. It is definitely a task that I struggle with, particularly on weekends. Over the past decade, there has been numerous studies examining the relationship between decision-fatigue and willpower, and the results of these studies have been quite astonishing. According to Tierney, “the more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and it eventually looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless by choosing to act impulsively rather than thinking through the consequences or to avoid any decision”. It wasn’t until this past year that I began to understand the toll it takes on a person who is committed to a regular 9 to 5 job. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for hard work and providing for your family, but I also believe in harvesting the fruits of your labor, having adequate time to embark on hobbies, aesthetics or any entrepreneurship ventures. Typically, on my weekends, I found myself rationalizing my habit of choosing to binge watch on my favorite shows or indulging in nonproductive activities. What I learned from this behavior was that I was simply trying to numb the ongoing chatter in my mind, I truly believed that I was practicing self-care because of the long week I had just endured. Eventually, it became harder to go for a typical run on the weekend, drive up in the beautiful scenic mountains of the pacific northwest for a hike in nature, or even pick up an interesting book about any particular topic. Consequently, I found it imminent to change these entrenched habits and to adapt a new attitude critical to attaining self-discovery.
Living this auto-pilot life became very unsatisfying for me, because I could not find meaning in my life whatsoever. Sure, I would momentarily find fleeting happiness with my life but that empty void always lurked around the corner. These are some of the tools that I challenged myself to apply in my life.
- Choose the right environment for self-development: environment is a major key when it comes to self-development. It is important to surround yourself with a positive and supportive environment to better propel your growth. Make sure that the chosen environment wholeheartedly supports the desired habits that you are trying to implement in your life, because you are going to meet overwhelming resistance once you decide to embark on this journey.
- Adopt a conscious attitude of your decisions: practice an attitude of really questioning yourself prior to making any pertinent decision. “How is this useful?” or “Do I have the power to change this right now?” I share these two questions, because I have found these two questions to help me whenever I catch myself having a self-pity over past decisions or unwanted situations. These questions ultimately enable one to either change the situation in that very moment or to allow the situation to take its course because nothing is permanent.
- Give Thanks: GOE (gratitude over everything) and TGIA (Thank God I’m Alive) are two mantras that have helped me to continue forward in my path despite of my flaws, my addictions or insecurities. Adopting the aptitude to see each day as a blessing, a new life or a new opportunity to become better is liberating in every sense of the word. I started to thank any challenging circumstances because I began to understand that there is a lesson to be learned in it. At the end of the day, like Viktor Frankl said, “you ultimately have the power to choose how you react to your circumstances”. It is time to embrace your authenticity and to understand that your existence is not a mistake.