It’s a new year with new hope and new plans to be the very best you! Right?
But your habits didn’t get the memo.
Change is challenging…and exciting. How are you going to keep yourself on track so that you can get more of what you want? More of the great things you can see in your future!
Are you super fit? Did you go on some awesome vacation? Did you pay off debt or get a promotion? Are you less anxious, kinder, more confident?
We all want these things—that vision of the best version of ourselves—but it’s so easy to do what we’ve always done.
So, here are 3 questions to protect you from you. To help you stay on track and full speed ahead towards what you want most this year.
Question 1: Is this going to get me closer to or further away from the thing I said I wanted?
Repeat the question out loud: Is this going to get me closer to or farther away from the thing I said I wanted?
Physically, relationally, financially, spiritually? Is this going to get me what I want?
- If I say this to my spouse, in this way, will it create the kind of relationship I want?
- If I buy this awesome gadget or get another credit card, will it get me closer or further away from the financial stability I want?
- If I visit that website, will I be closer to or further away from the habits and mindset I want?
- If I eat this cookie, will I be closer or further away from the body and health I want?
Sometimes we make the mistake of telling ourselves, “it’s ok if I don’t follow through on this thing I’ve decided was important, but only this once.”
Anytime you find yourself making an excuse for a decision, recognize you’re making that excuse because you are about to do something outside your own value system. You’re doing something against what YOU said, thought, or decided that you want in life. Not what anyone else wants for you, but what you want.
These things that YOU have said, that YOU have thought, and that YOU have decided—they’re important! You owe it to yourself to think the question through. Is this going to get me closer to or further away from the thing I said I wanted?
The thing you said you wanted might not feel possible in the moment, because life throws curveballs. That’s OK.
If you must do something that’s not in line with the future you were hoping for, make sure it’s a choice you’re making for good reasons—and with your eyes wide open. You can’t always do things that get you closer, but you can choose not to double down on the things that get you further away.
Question 2: How am I going to feel after I do this?
Remember your Thanksgiving dinner? You think to yourself, “I want another piece of pumpkin pie.” But after you eat it, you think, “why did I do this to myself?”
How will you feel after you say something, lose your temper, get the credit card, or eat the whole cheesecake? How will you feel after you do the thing? It’s important to play the tape forward. Pause with this question and think it through.
If you do that thing, what will happen? Maybe nothing. If you do that thing repeatedly, what happens then?
If the first time a person smoked a cigarette, they immediately developed stage 4 lung cancer; then no one would ever touch a cigarette. If you instantly gained 20 pounds the first time you ate a potato chip, no one would eat potato chips.
Why? Because you want to live a long time and fit into your favorite jeans while you do it! So, stop and think about where that thing your doing could take you. If you want anything to stick, you’ve got to attach an emotion to the outcome.
Think about and feel how it could be ahead of time, or you’ll feel it in real-time. If you choose to feel it now, ahead of time, you might never have to feel it in real-time. Sit in the discomfort of how bad it could be and let that save you from the real thing.
This question swings both ways. Could you choose to feel proud of yourself if you go for that walk or choose the salad over the burger? How great will you feel when you meet the deadline, make the phone call, or pass the test? How amazing could your life feel if you choose to follow through?
We tend to think happiness or feeling good comes from doing what we feel like doing whenever we feel like doing it. But that is a lie that we tell ourselves. Happiness comes from the ability to trade what you crave now, for what you crave most.
It’s building yourself into the kind of person that loves the things you value. Those annoying people that run marathons and eat kale. It’s because they LIKE it! I’m not saying they like the taste of kale over Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. But I am saying that they learned the most rewarding thing is progress.
They have trained themselves to like the process that gets them what they want most.
You crave what you repeatedly do. It is that simple.
In the long-term, you’re only going to keep up with the things that you feel like doing. That’s why the magic is in training yourself to be the kind of person that feels like doing those things.
Question 3: When I’m looking back on this moment a year from now, how will I want to have handled it?
Imagine in your mind that it is one year from now. When you look back on this moment or time in your life, how would you have wanted to handle it?
I usually hear things along the lines of:
- “I wish I hadn’t been so hard on myself.”
- “I wish I had worried less.”
- “I wish I had said how I really feel.”
- “I wish I had asked for help sooner.”
- “I wish I’d just enjoyed the baby stage more.”
- “I wish I’d been more confident.”
Putting some distance between you and the moment can drastically change your perspective. It gives you a chance to see things from the future version of you—the version of you that has already conquered the issue. It reminds you to have a little more grace with yourself in the now.
Ask these three questions before you do anything, and your future self will thank you!
1) Is this going to get me closer to or further away from the thing I said I wanted?
2) How am I going to feel after I do this?
3) When I’m looking back at this moment a year from now, how will I want to have handled it?
Are there any past decisions that you would have made differently if you’d asked yourself these questions first? Is there a decision ahead of you that you think this will help you with? If so, please comment below and let me and others know how you would have or will do things differently.