11 Oct 2017

Sometimes not having a plan can be liberating and the notion of going where the wind blows – like a barefoot, wild-haired, nomadic gypsy – appeals to the romantic in us. But sometimes, it’s like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute – thrilling then immediately followed by all-consuming regret.

On one hand, we should be open and flexible to what the universe brings to us BUT if you really want something in life – a promotion, to lose weight, a family – are you willing to gamble it by leaving it up to chance? Understanding that we can’t control everything, don’t you want to do whatever you can to at least put yourself in the ideal position to achieve your goals?

If that’s the case, then your new mantra should be:
Don’t blow with the wind. Be the storm.

Be strong. Be powerful. Be a MF force of nature. Make decisions deliberately and willfully. Know yourself and what you want and stride purposefully towards it.

When you think about it, if nothing you do is premeditated, then everything is “spontaneous” so really, you can only truly be spontaneous when you have a plan to deviate from. Did I lose you there? That’s ok…I lost myself too.

Here are 7 ways to get what you want by living deliberately:

HARD CHOICES
Whether you’re a man, a woman, or a talking corgi with super powers (and a tv show), you cannot have it all. We only have so much time and energy, attention span and the more we disperse it, the less progress we make across the board.

We believe that making decisions limits the endless possibilities in our lives when really, it frees us from the unessential. Decide what your goal is and only pursue the opportunities that lead to it because by sticking your head in the sand to avoid the inevitable, ensures that someone else will make the choice for you.

GET REAL
It’s easy to get carried away by the enthusiasm for achieving our goals that we can become too militant with our initial plans, but will we be able to maintain it? We view the journey as a sprint, burning ourselves out as we race towards the finish line.

If you want to learn to cook, start with the basics like boiling water instead of attempting a beef wellington. Going from zero to one hundred is too drastic and a set up for failure down the line. Instead, think realistically to figure out how to gradually incorporate changes into your lifestyle so that it’s sustainable for the long haul.

CHOOSE YOUR STRUGGLE
The intersection of figuring out whether you really want something and whether you can realistically make it happen is choosing, as Mark Mason said, which “flavour of shit sandwich” you’d like to eat. No matter what amazing thing you choose to do, it’s going to suck at least some of the time.

The question isn’t “Do I want to have rockin’ abs?” (the victory) but rather “Can I handle having my ass kicked at the gym on a regular basis” or “Can I sacrifice carbs for sad salads?” (the struggle). We are more likely to achieve our goals if we can tolerate the inevitable dark days accompany the blue skies.

MAKE IT A HABIT
Do you know how long it takes for something to become a habit? Three weeks. And that’s only for something inconsequential like drinking a glass of water every morning, not for a more significant change.

Sure, in the context of your life it isn’t a long time but when you're attempting to transition to a healthier diet by ditching pasta in favour of salad, it sure feels long. It's going to be a struggle every day of those three weeks, maybe not ALL day but every damn day.

CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES
Did you know that we are only allotted a limited amount of decision-making juice a day? The phenomenon known as decision fatigue is that with every decision we make, the closer our tank gets to empty, leaving us feeling cognitively depleted and more likely to get frustrated and make poor choices.

Make sure that you handle what’s most important by making a list the night before of the top three tasks to accomplish for the next day. Avoid wasting mental energy by planning ahead like packing lunch so you don’t have to decide the day of, or picking your outfit before you go to sleep.

BE PRESENT
So often I fill the empty spaces with white noise – podcasts, tv shows in the background, music while I walk – anything to avoid silence. But it's in silence that we are able to think and therefore be prepared to make decisions.

When we avoid thinking things through, we end up making a decision last minute on an impulse; the path of least resistance instead of it being a deliberate choice that’s been reasoned out.

DECIDE NOW
Fear of making the wrong choice often stops us from making a choice at all. We put so much pressure on ourselves for everything to be perfect; to avoid failure, especially when it's something that we care about.

It’s more important to make a decision now (even if it turns out to be wrong) because everything can be fixed. Otherwise you’re just wasting mental energy dithering over something relatively unimportant.

ETC is the overflow of thoughts in the mind of Teri Yeung. It’s a place full of stories of travel adventures, imparted lessons learned from life’s achievements and failures, behind-the-scenes of projects and experiments, and anything else that inspires excitement and joy.

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