Life is full of choices. No matter where you live or what you do on the daily, we are all consistently faced with a number of decisions, most of which we make either unconsciously or very quickly out of habit.
While I'm all for efficiency, especially if it's rooted in following your intuition, I have some concerns — largely based in my own experience — about habitual decision making. Are these quick decisions always the best for us? Or are they simply what we have become accustomed to doing, despite being quite complacent or unchallenging?
Here is a list of 8 daily decisions that I feel we could all benefit from choosing to make a little more often:
The decision to say "no" to something or someone may seem quite common, but for many of us, it is an act which requires a significant amount of courage. So many of us have unknowingly become social doormats, spending a large portion of our daily life doing things for others. While some may call this admirable, and in some cases it certainly is, it's important that we don't let it make us completely self-less to the point where our well-being suffers as a result.
2. Changing Positions
I wasn't quite sure how to label this decision, but what I am referring to is the choice to frequently change your physical position whenever possible. An example would be to spend a part of your work day at a standing desk, or if you are chained to a seat, to opt to take a walk rather than laze out on the couch when you get home. I've recently incorporated time at a standing desk, stretching breaks, and even work time on a yoga ball into my regular routine ever since coming across this video, which illustrates just how detrimental constantly sitting can be to your health.
3. No Tech Before Bed
Another decision I've begun to incorporate as often as possible, ever since reading this article, is to avoid using technology a half-hour, if not an hour, before going to bed. As the article explains, the blue light produced by these common devices can trick your body into believing it's day, impacting your circadian rhythm and sleep. I personally find that my sleep quality, as well the length of time it takes me to fall asleep, have both improved since I've made a more conscious effort to incorporate this practice. Some simple alternatives are to read a book or meditate if you find yourself needing to do something before bed — both of which I find are fantastic at knocking me out cold.
4. Calling Rather Than Texting
Considering that sending and receiving phone calls was the initial and still primary purpose of cell phones, it's hilarious to think of how little so many of us use that function. While texting, "whatsapping," "telegramming," "snapchatting" and everything else that is out there may be more fun and/or efficient, nothing beats some good old fashioned verbal communication. And heck, it may just lead to some in person communication, which is all the better! But in all seriousness, let's cut down on the sloppy language and unnecessary misunderstandings — because I will forever say that nothing is worse than text messaging at delivering tone and sarcasm — and instead give our friends a phone call, even if it will scare them that first time.
5. Write Things Down
I'm a firm believer that we are all ingenious creators capable of coming up with at least one million dollar idea. The problem is that when most of us come up with the initial spark behind these gems we don't write it down, and as a result it gets lost in the never-ending abyss of our thoughts. Make the choice to always carry a pen and paper with you, and if that's too much of a hassle, become good friends with the notepad app on your phone. If making this practice habitual results in anything profitable, my e-mail is at the bottom of the article.
6. Say "I Love You"
We all know that life can be short, and even if we do find ourselves lucky enough to live a long one, that time goes by incredibly quickly. Make the decision to consistently tell your friends, family, and loved ones how much they mean to you and you may just be surprised by how uplifting it can be to both them and yourself. Far too many of us regularly carry around the burden of unnecessary "bad blood" and choose to bask in that rather than be appreciative for the positive relationships we are fortunate to have in our lives.
7. Minimize Multitasking
While some of us may see our ability to multitask effectively as an impressive (even marketable) skill, there are two definitive reasons why I personally am not a big fan of it:
It takes us out of the moment
It's often only seemingly more efficient
By carrying out multiple tasks at once, we never give each individual duty the attention it deserves and therefore do not properly go through the experience it has to offer. We may feel as if we are doing more, but what we don't realize is that each task took substantially longer to complete than it would have had we instead focused on it solely. This has been my own personal experience, at least.
I realize that starting this list with no and ending it with yes may seem contradictory, but it is all about circumstance. I'm not saying you should say yes to every request someone has of you, but rather, that you should say yes to your own desires more often — to go after things you've always wanted to accomplish but have opted not to since they are currently placed comfortably on the opposite side of a fence called Fear. No matter who you are, you can say to yourself with absolute confidence that "in this life, I am never going to be younger than I am right now." So if not now, when? Even if you aren't ready to climb Mount Everest (or whatever is on your list of dreams), start by tackling the dreams that are closer to reach so you can start building the roots for a more daring you.