Too many choices can keep us from the Excelerated Life™. When we are focused on living a life of flourishing and well-being and a life of meaning, purpose and service, then we do not have so many choices. We don’t make the same decisions again and again. We make them once and cut off other options.
This is a story about two people, the choices they face in a typical day, and the results of their decisions. With a question for you at the end.
The first person is Sally. Sally set her alarm for 5:00 AM so she can get a quick start to her day. When the alarm goes off at 5:00, Sally has a choice. She can either get up as she planned or she can decide to sleep a few more minutes. She decides to sleep a few more minutes and hits the snooze button. A couple more hits of the snooze button and now it’s 5:45. Sally gets up.
One reason she planned to get up at 5:00 AM was to go to an exercise class at the local gym. She has a plan to work out at least 4 days per week. Sally has a choice. She can either go to the exercise class – if she hurries – or she can skip today and go another day this week. She decides to exercise another day.
Our default behaviors are, by definition, those things we do without thinking about them. It’s a good idea to step back from time to time and examine your defaults. You may want to change some of your “settings”.
Default Settings – Making Life Easier
My phone is old by cell phone standards. But I still remember when I got it, trading in my old flip phone for a smart phone. And it was smart. The technician at the store took about 15 minutes to set it up and save all my contacts. He handed me the phone and it was ready to go. Such convenience.
Willpower is like a muscle, according to some research, and gets depleted with use over time. Newer research has not replicated this finding, however. Other researchers believe willpower may get depleted because we think it will be. This is at the heart of the willpower question.
Cookies And Radishes
It was a cruel and heartless experiment . . . at least for the hungry college students taking part. They were told not to eat anything for several hours prior to the experiment so they were hungry when they arrived at the lab.
The students were divided into three groups. Group 1 was given a plate of warm, freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. And a plate of radishes. They were told they could have all the radishes they wanted, but they were not to touch the cookies.
Group 2 was given a plate of cookies and a plate of radishes and told they could eat all they wanted from either (or both) plates.
“Yard by yard it’s hard but inch by inch it’s a cinch.” Small actions made consistently over time add up to big achievements.
A Lesson From The Ants
As a boy, I became fascinated by ants. I read everything about them I could get my hands on. One thing I learned from my reading was how to construct an ant farm and how to capture the workers and the queen from an existing nest. I used this knowledge to build several ant farms using quart jars.
When I was about 9 or 10, I made my first farm. I flooded the nest, captured the queen and some of the workers and carefully put them in the jar full of dirt. I covered the jar with black construction paper to keep out the light. And I waited. Continue reading “The Little Things ARE The Big Things”
“When we try to change our behavior, we strategize about our motivation and self-control. But what we should be thinking about instead is how to set up new habits. Habits persist even when we’re tired and don’t have the energy to exert self-control.” ~ Wendy Wood [Life: Wellness]
The Parable Of The Threads
A father gave his young child a thread and directed her to break it. This she did easily.
“People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply: by the lives they lead.” ~ James Baldwin, No Name In The Street
The Key To Success
Once upon a time, there were 3 friends, Ron, Tom, and Oswald. (*This example is patterned after one presented by Darren Hardy in The Compound Effect. See Resources.) They grew up in the same neighborhood and remained good friends through school and later after they began their careers. They made about the same income. All three were married and were raising families. Continue reading “Your Super Power”
“There’s something magical about repeating the same positive habits every single day.” ~ SJ Scott
The “Magic Hours”
What do you do before breakfast? Hyrum Smith calls the early morning hours the “magic hours”, a block of uninterrupted time when you can concentrate on things beyond the normal urgency and routine of the day. Brian Tracy refers to this time as the Golden Hours — the first hours of the day which set the tone for the rest of the day. Continue reading “What To Do Before Breakfast”
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” ~ Joshua Becker
“I had seen successful people let go of very good things that were not the best things to them.” ~ Dr. Henry Cloud
Don’t let the Good crowd out the Best.
In the book 9 Things You Simply Must Do To Succeed In Love And Life, Dr. Henry Cloud identifies one of the 9 Things as “pull the tooth”. If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know that temporary measures to hide or mask the pain do not work for long. You may be able to forget about it for a short time, but the pain always returns. Until you deal with the source of the pain, the problem keeps coming back. Continue reading “Enemy Of The Best”
“Many of our repeated behaviors are cued by everyday environments, even though people think they’re making choices all the time.” ~ Wendy Wood
You and I may think we’re in control of our actions, but research shows that nearly ½ of human behaviors occurs in the same location each day and is cued by the environment. [Duke Today] Recall Charles Duhigg’s “habit loop”, the 3-step process that causes habits to develop. [Duhigg] The habit loop consists of 1) cue, 2) routine, and 3) reward. Repetition of this loop over time causes a behavior (the routine) to become ingrained as habit.
Ready? On your mark. Get set. GO . . . consistently!
Consistent action is the key to growth.
“Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.” ~ John C. Maxwell
Remember the fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare? The hare sped way out in front, then decided to stop for a bite to eat. The tortoise plodded along, slowly and surely, never wavering. When the hare saw that the tortoise was gaining on him, he took off again, far outdistancing the tortoise. He got so far ahead, in fact, that he decided he had time for a nap. Meanwhile, the tortoise plodded along, slowly and surely, never wavering. You know what happened — eventually, the tortoise passed the hare, who was otherwise engaged, and won the race. Continue reading “Steady Wins The Race”