The house smells like cardamom buns. There are carnations on the table and my fingers burn against the ceramic mug in front of me. We’re talking about work and trying to decide what we want to do in the future and making plans and I just can’t stop thinking about how I can’t even decide what I want for dinner tomorrow night.
I think that there are only so many decisions that we as humans are capable of making during the course of a single day. I wake up in the morning and reluctantly get out of bed and press my feet against the freezing floor instead of curling myself deeper into the covers. I decide whether I want an Americano or if it’s a honey late type of morning. I get in my car and drive to work and have to choose whether I’d like to listen to CCR or Pantera or The Smiths. Do you allow yourself to be angry at the person that just cut you off on the freeway or do you let it slide and continue calmly making your way to your next destination?
Research shows that the average person makes 35,000 decisions per day. If this research is correct, that means that we are making roughly 2,000 decisions per hour or a decision every two seconds. As we age and gain responsibility, the level of decision making increases and we are faced with a variety of new choices and decisions that need to be made.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. There are consequences for our decisions — good and bad — and these consequences compound over the course of time. When we sit down and start thinking about how each decision we make creates a ripple and start trying to comprehend how these ripples affect the experiences we have, the people we meet, and the projects we work on, we can start understanding how we can be more mindful. Eating a piece of chocolate may immediately gratify your tastebuds. Coming into work early may ease stress later in the work week.
Taking a step back to analyze your behavior is an important step towards understanding your decision making process and pinpointing how you can improve. Look critically at your impulsiveness. Do you like doing everything yourself or do you delegate well. Do you take time to balance your life. How well do you prioritize? Do you push unpleasant tasks off and avoid them for as long as possible or do you buckle down and take care of it right away?
When I began thinking about my decision making process and started to really look at the stressors in my life, I was able to strengthen some of my weak points. If you know you have a hard time deciding what you want for lunch, try meal prepping. If you always choose relaxing at home over making it to the gym after work, bring your gym back to the office and throw your running shoes on before you leave. Eliminate your objection and consciously decide ahead of time so you can get yourself on track. Your life will become more fulfilling, focused, and balanced as you change your decision making process.
There are lots of great resources out there for learning about mindfulness and focus. Check this one out!