Make a Better Decision

Well we are now 7 days into the New Year, so how are your "resolutions" holding up? 

We often paint "resolutions" as black and white changes - I will exercise x number of times a week; I won't eat any dairy for 2016. Because of this it can be very easy to throw a "resolution" out the window when life gets in the way and derails us. Does this suddenly mean that our "resolution" is busted? Should we just say f*ck it and sit on the coach eating a tub of ice cream?

Life WILL get in the way, we WILL be derailed. Trying to deny that will only lead to beating ourselves up when things go sideways and there is nothing helpful about that. The real, long term success comes not from never getting sidetracked, but in knowing how to get back on track, again and again and again. I hope this post will help give you a way to rethink "set backs" and how to get back on track after they happen.

Have you ever had this conversation with yourself? "Well, I woke up in a bad mood so I treated myself to a doughnut; Today's already f*ucked, I might as well keep eating crap." I know I have. But it's just not true.  

Every time you choose to eat or drink, you can make a different decision. So you had a doughnut for breakfast, that does not mean you should have a whole pizza for lunch. Instead, as Kelly Starrett says, you can make a better decision. What's great about this is that every day, multiple times a day, you have the option to make a better decision.

No single decision has to affect any other; they can stand-alone or build on each other. Yes, once you've made a less than ideal decision it is easier the next time to make another less than ideal decision, but that is also true of the better choice; it is easier to make a better choice once you've already made a better choice. One less than ideal choice is easier to come back from than 21; the sooner you make a better choice after a less than ideal choice the easier it will be.

One way I remind myself of this "power of choice" is to take some time 1 day a week (for me it's Sunday) to think about how the week before went and how I felt about my decisions; and to think about the week to come, what decisions I might want to make differently and any times that I might already know about that could be tempting. This allows me to check-in with myself and recommit every week. Consistently recommitting means that I am less likely to completely fall back to poor eating patterns, so every week I start in a slightly better place than I did the week before. And with each passing week I find myself making more "better decisions."

When life throws celebrations, stress, treats, etc. in the way, it is OK to indulge - occasionally. Enjoy them even! They are not "cheats," they are not "bad" foods; they are foods chosen for reasons other than nutrition. But the following time (or three) that you have a choice to make, make it based on nutrition. Nutritional health is based on long term decisions, a single less than ideal choice will not ruin everything; but what will is letting that less than ideal decision lead to another and another and another - Make a better decision.