It's so easy to fall prey to making decisions that set you back instead of propelling you forward. Obviously, you can't be perfect. Striving for perfection is the fastest way to make yourself sick on this roller coaster we call life. But it's true. Each decision we make, each step we take, changes our abilities for a positive outcome.
If you're at all like me, you'll make missteps when you aren't paying attention. Maybe it's late at night and the Mouth Monster hits. Maybe you're travelling and the breakfast being served includes those gloriously sweet, glossy breakfast pastries you haven't had since visiting a resort in Mexico. Or maybe you're about to have your third glass of wine, despite knowing about the effects on your meal plan and your mindset during the morning that follows. It's so easy to say, "why not?" or "yes, please!" to the wrong decision because making the right decision seems annoying.
But what if it wasn't?
What if taking the time to pump the brakes and consider your alternatives gave you a moment of clarity and allowed you to think with your full brain and not just with that part that is begging to be sated by something decadent?
I've been watching a lot of TV since I lost my job last fall. One of my favorites is the hilariously funny and canceled-way-too-soon "The Grinder". Rob Lowe plays an actor on a long running legal drama who is replaced by a younger actor. Believing he is a lawyer in real life after so many years "in the courtroom" (and detective and probably a doctor at some point), he joins his family's law practice. While he can't actually practice law, as he's not an actual lawyer, he is excellent at creating unusual plot twists in mundane cases at the family practice. It's called "Grinding" and it almost always starts with him looking over his shoulder at the defendant and saying, "But what if it wasn't?" This ultimately always leads to an insane plot twist that changes everything.
Wanting to purposefully change my own path, I decided to start creating my own plot twists. Why not? Where might I end up? Here's what happened the other night, after a really long day, which also happened to be my first day working for a new boss in 19 years.
It's late, I'm exhausted and in a comfy hotel bed with crisp, white linens (plus a terrifying pillow). The hotel has a large box of Oreos on top of my dresser, on a cute little tray. Oreos are a serious weakness of mine and breaking the seal is a horrible idea for me. I know this. But they are calling me and I really want to eat them.
Mindfully, I step forward, pick up the box and examine the serving size. Eight. That's sixteen total cookies and 37 Weight Watchers points. As I consider how many points I get for walking 13,000 steps for two days in a row, I start to flick the corner on the top of the box, mindlessly. Then a little voice creeps into my mind and says, "but what if you didn't?"
My mind begins to Grind. If I DO eat these delicious chocolate and creamy treats, I'll savor all sixteen in ten minutes. And those ten minutes will be grand. However, I'll feel sick and the glee it brings will be fleeting. I'll probably be sluggish tomorrow, when I need to bring my A game. My tomorrow is better if I don't. I won't be mentally beating myself up for ignoring my weight loss plan, I won't be sluggish and I'll be proud that I walked away instead of giving in to the Mouth Monster.
Channeling my inner Grinder brought me one step closer instead of one step further away. I passed up the cookies staring me down from the dresser. I was wide awake and excited for the next day and I didn't screw up my meal plan. I felt so full of win, my inner voice named itself DJ Khaled. Grinding is definitely a power tool in the arsenal of defeating the Mouth Monster, don't just dismiss it! Plus the self-awareness that you are Grinding will make you smile if you've watched the show.
Try it with any decision and check the outcomes of your sliding doors before you make your final selection. Pick the door that leads to happiness and healthiness and you'll be closer to your goal before you know it.
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Fox's show, The Grinder, is in no way affiliated with Gouldylox.com, other than its squishy place in my heart.
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