I flopped on the couch, a ticking time bomb by my side with 60 minutes on the clock. Some two hours earlier I’d tried every settling technique to sooth my furious baby and finally, finally, he had gone to sleep. That meant I had approximately 60 precious minutes before we would start the cycle again.
With a hot tea in one hand and Glennon Doyle’s acclaimed ‘Untamed’ in the other, I basked in the sunlight streaming into the lounge about to enjoy a moment of bliss...and then the mind chatter started.
“I really should go for a walk.”
“It’s too beautiful to be inside.”
“Who knows what the weather will bring tomorrow.”
“This could be our last bit of sunshine for a few days.”
I summoned my weary body off the couch and within minutes was regrettably pounding the pavement whilst thinking about how much I wanted some ‘me time.’
Sorry, let’s replay that.
I wanted ‘me time’, had the opportunity for ‘me time’ and yet somehow me (and only me) had willingly opted out of ‘me time’ in place of light exercise.
I’d wanted to read my book and so what did I do? Went for a walk.
We make decisions like this every single day. We take, what should be, easy questions about ourselves and what we want and we make them complex.
We follow the breadcrumbs of ‘should’ and absorb the pressure of what’s more socially acceptable. “You’ve done nothing all day, you should get outside.”
We fortune tell and inspire FOMO within ourselves. “We won’t get another day like this.”
We make negative predictions to guilt ourselves into things. “I’ll feel crap if I don’t go.”
We follow this process so effortlessly that the decision to walk, when all I actually want to do is read, feels completely rational in that moment.
Going for a walk in place of reading a book might feel small but it affirms this type of decision making, making it even easier (instinctual even) to ignore what we really want next time.
What other types of decisions do we make like this?
We crave a night in so… we go to the party.
We want meaningful relationships so… we agree to dinner with friends we’ve outgrown.
We want to love our work so… we stay in the job we hate.
Disrupting this type of decision making happens by simply changing the question.
“What would make me really happy right now?”
Be brave enough to answer that and watch your life transform.