Various internet sources estimate that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day (in contrast a child makes about 3,000). This number may sound absurd, but in fact, we make 226.7 decisions each day on just food alone according to researchers at Cornell University (Wansink and Sobal, 2007). As your level of responsibility increases, so does the smorgasbord of choices you are faced with.
I feel we can greatly improve our success and happiness if we learn to make some choices once and then not have to make them again. How many times have you made the choice to eat better, exercise, read more, stop smoking or drinking and so on? When raising our boys we work to help them understand making a decision now about drugs, premarital sex or serving a mission allows them to automatically avoid some pitfalls. If we make the decision to never use drugs then when we are asked to or given the opportunities to use them we can simply say no because we have already made the choice. There is no reason to think about it or ponder the decision.
If we will discipline our thinking to choices made in many areas of life, we limit the number of things we have to make decisions on each day. This will give us time to focus on the really important questions that can be procrastinated because we have so many other choices to make. The easiest way to lose weight is the diet and exercise. If you have to make a decision every time you are ready to eat of what you will have today, you will fail. If you have to make the decision every day to work out or not you will go back to bed or watch T.V. because it is the path of least resistance.
You must make the choice once to eat right and exercise and then make those choices the path of least resistance. Change your behavior by planning each meal ahead of time to eliminate the choice. Have your gym clothes and shoes ready to put on when you wake up and put your alarm across the room or in the bathroom so you have to move. When we make a commitment to a new way of living we have to change the path of least resistance and make it easier to stay on that path.
We have had issues with some staff just not being motivated to do the right thing because they were allowed to get away without accountability for a period of time. When you start to reestablish accountability it can be a challenge for those that like not being held accountable. If you do not make the choice to improve accountability once and understand you may lose some of your current team then you will not succeed. Just as with eating right, if you make the decision to hold others accountable on a case by case basis you will lose.
Choices have increased in our life time exponentially. Just go to the supermarket and you can see all of the choices we have for basic items. How many different ketchups do I really need to pick from anyway? In our current society I feel an ever-increasing need to make certain choices once and then simply commit to those choices rather than making them over and over. If I had to make the choice to wake up each day at 4 AM, read and study books and write my blog post it would not happen. My phone went off at 4 today and the thought in my mind was like every other day, it would be too easy to just go back to sleep. Thankfully I put in place a morning routine from the books The Five Second Rule and Miracle Morning that made getting up the path of least resistance. It may be hard to imagine a path less resistant than just closing your eyes and going back to sleep but it is possible.
Choose today to make fewer choices. Commit to the choices you have made and know you should be doing. Last night it was not hard to sit with my wife and children as they ate pumpkin pie with whip cream because I had already made the choice to my way of eating three weeks ago. Remember we seek things that bring us pleasure and avoid those things that bring us pain. By making the choice weeks ago to be my goal weight the pain of eating deserts is greater than the pleasure of the weighing my goal weight. I pray you will each have the ability to test this principle and that it will impact your life in the way I have seen it impact mine. Commitment to a choice is more valuable than having more choices. Freedom to choose is both a blessing and a curse. I have attached a TED talk to help with this point (warning he does use an image I would not use if I was giving the talk). Thank you, and may the choice be with you, always.