How to Make Better Choices Without Freaking Out
How many times have you started a new diet or exercise plan and immediately starting stressing about whether you have the motivation, time, support, or willpower to stick to it for the long haul?
Let's be honest: Our brains do not like big, sweeping changes.
No, our brains much prefer our old, familiar eating habits and routines, even if they make us unhealthy, exhausted, and unhappy.
Knowing this about our brains, how can we begin to make healthy changes without triggering the “I'm already freaking out next month” blues??
Take a deeeeeep breath and say to yourself: Just for today, I will do/not do___________.
This simple phrase has been a complete game changer for so many of my clients.
Each of them expressed some version of dread at the idea of giving up all their favorite things for the rest of their lives (ever and ever!). This powerful tool allowed them to shift their thinking from worrying about the future and focus instead on what they were willing and able to do just for today.
To understand the power of these three simple words, check out the two scenarios below:
Scenario 1: (aka "How to Derail Your Goals in Under a Minute”)
You’re driving by your favorite donut store. You ask yourself: “Can I really give up donuts foreverrrrr?”.
All you can think about is how frustrated and bitter you feel at all the people who get to eat donuts while you’re over here resigned to a life of wilted celery and deprivation. (Ok, maybe this was just me…)
In this moment, you feel like you’re making ALL the decisions about what your future will consist of (sadness, in all likelihood). You can’t remember one good reason you wanted to get healthier in the first place.
Scenario 2: (aka: How to Stay Calm, Avoid Drama, and Adult Like a Boss)
You’re about to pass the donut store. Instead of freaking yourself out about your soon-to-be donut-less future, you simply say to yourself:
“Just for today, I’m going to drive past the donut store and go home and eat the food I prepared.”
Driving past the donut store is now just what it is: Driving home on just this one day.
It doesn’t signify a long-term break-up with donuts. It doesn’t mean you’re on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon with no way out of this decision.
The donut store (tacos, pizza, whatever) isn’t going anywhere.
Tomorrow, you can make another choice because you're a grown-up living in America. No big deal. You are calm.
Can you see how powerful this is?
Instead of generating friction about your future choices, the phrase “just for today” allows you to focus your energy on THIS moment.
As cliché as it sounds, life really is an accumulation of single moments and individual choices.
In order to show up for these moments, we must learn to harness our thoughts. Instead of dwelling on past choices (shame) or worrying about future choices (fear/uncertainty) do your best to be here now.
Focus on THIS moment, on THIS choice, on what you can do “just for today”.
It’s amazing how quickly these “just for today” wins start to create momentum.
Give it a try. What can you do “just for today?” I'd love to know what you discover.