Making Better Decisions
Imagine you are presented with the choice to eat a donut or a banana. Which of the two delights would you pick? Would you go with the fluffy and warm donut or the boring banana? Thinking of the donut …?
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Making the Right Decisions
Often, people select donuts over a banana because they know that you are not going to wake up unhealthy tomorrow. Yet, this is quite a paradox. While the little decisions that we make each day, do not impact us in the short run, the do in the long run. Hence, paradoxically very little decisions that seem non-influential matter completely as they compound. This can be both
- motivating: taking only small smart decisions will pay back in the long run with e.g. having a strong immune system, respectively
- frustrating: if you make healthy decisions like starting running every day, you only improve in speed over weeks.
Yet, subconsciously, we know that we want to reap the benefits of our decisions, like being long-term healthy, mindful, and as research recurrently concludes happy. So how do you make good decisions? Usually, it helps to have a certain level of will power. A lot of will power means having a lot of capacity to make the long-term decisions through and through. However, will power is like a muscle that can deplete as you may have encountered when choosing different kinds of breads or shopping for cloth for a few hours. Hence, it is important to train this ‘muscle’ to ensure that you can always consciously choose the glass of water, the fruit or the salad option over the lemonade, chocolate or greasy fast-food burger.
How Do You Train Will Power?
Recurrently, research shows that there are three simple bulbs that we need to illuminate every day because they help us to be happy. These bubbles are sufficient sleep, healthy nutrition, and endurance sports activities. Let us elaborate a bit on this.
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- Sufficient sleep: If you sleep less than six hours over a longer period then people tend to make decisions like children. Also, people that lack sleep show the symptoms of being mildly intoxicated which in turn clouds optimal decision-making. To sleep (and to fall asleep) sufficiently the following tricks help a lot: Keep a fixed sleep schedule in which you go to bed roughly at the same time each night and roughly wake up at the same time each morning. This should encompass a minimum of six and a maximum of eight hours. Interestingly, sleep research uncovered that resting more than eight hours may have adverse effects as you may be in bed too long. This can bad for your back. Once, you go to bed around midnight every night and wake up around eight in the morning, your body truly gets used to it which allows it to rest faster and, thus, fall asleep quicker. Also, it helps to turn on flight mode on your phone during night time to make sure you are not disrupted by friends or anything.
- Secondly, keeping a healthy nutrition allows you to make the right decisions. When we eat fruits, veggies, light meat, or fish dishes (with little butter, oil, or, fats) our body is less stressed by digesting and processing otherwise difficult inputs. With healthy food our body sources more energy from the vitamins that usually encompass these ingredients. A nice side-effect certainly is that you would also cumulate fewer calories .
- Lastly, endurance sports, e.g., swimming, running, or cycling, positively moderate the ability to make decisions and to cope with stress. People who pursue endurance activities - focusing on stamina - are usually more balanced and able to keep low stress levels once they are supposed to make decisions, e.g. at work. Additionally, sportswomen and men also benefit from the ability to reflect on themselves once they are doing endurance sports. You can do fairly little things aside running, for instance. Magically, you can also not worry while you are doing activities that boost your stamina, try it out, you will not be able to.
After having stated these benefits of the light bulb concept, one may wonder how to illuminate them over a longer period? Well, make them an integral part of your life by making them routine!
How do you get into a routine?
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There is an answer and practice to routines. Generally, researchers proved that twenty days is usually sufficient time to build up routines to level that you stick to them: If you manage to keep a physical practice for twenty days, you will be able to keep it forever. Usually, this concept is very useful if you are trying to learn something new. The only difficulty arises from making time. Therefore, I normally set up some penalties to make sure I keep my own integrity. It is easy: just set up an Excel table that allows you to share it with friends. They will hold you accountable. Such a document should be structured with boxes to tick daily, to ensure you follow strictly. The penalty would need to be paid if you miss out on one of your challenges. Please find such a excel file hereafter:
Become Happy - Choose the Banana more Often
Imagine your vision of what you want to be in a year is to lose 5 kg, learn a new language, and - or - get promoted at work. You can achieve this by setting up a routine schedule as presented above, run 7km, eat fast food only once a week, sleep roughly at the same times and thus deeply, and with such a fundament make all the little decisions that guide you there! Try it out and let me know how it went for you.
Did you choose the banana?
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