The person I am today vs. the person I was a year ago are two different people, and though I am not where I want to be yet, I am in a much better place mentally. Here are the three shifts that I have made recently and I hope this helps someone out there.
- “Decision Debt”
I heard of this phrase from the Life Coach School podcast by Brooke Castillo about a year ago and it has stuck with me ever since. My interpretation of her idea of “Decision Debt” is that we have only a limited amount of mental energy every day and we waste that energy when we do not make decisions. For example, if I spent all day wondering if I should buy a couch or keep my broken couch and I don’t make a decision, my mental energy was wasted for that day. Now, this does not mean that I should just make hasty decisions, but if it’s not going anywhere, or if you have other things to worry about, you can just make the decision of “I’m going to keep the couch that I have until October 1, then I will reconsider.” That way, you free up all your mental energy that is spent on buying a new couch until October. We stress ourselves out over decisions because we think there is the right decision and the wrong decision, but it’s not as clear-cut like that. When we consider decisions to be neutral rather than “which one is the right decision?”, things are less stressful. There are SO many things to think about, so you need to free up your mental energy by making decisions so you are actually getting somewhere with that situation, even if it means to make the decision to think about it later. I’m not sure if it’s totally generalizable, but make as many decisions as you can so you can spend mental energy going forward with a path rather than spend all that energy stuck on step 1.
- Procrastinate the bad things
Are you good at procrastinating? GREAT! Use that to your advantage! I had an epiphany about 10 weeks ago when I wasn’t happy with my weight. I ate fast food maybe every 3 days which definitely contributed to the weight gain. I told myself that if I want to lose weight, I need to stop eating fast food. Then I made a plan that whenever I am tempted to get that late-night Taco Bell, I tell myself “I’ll get it tomorrow,” then keep repeating that phrase every day until I just don’t crave it anymore. And so far, it’s been over 9 weeks since I had fast food! It really works! Procrastination is a good thing if you apply it to bad things. Besides fast food, you can apply this to other things too, like being anxious about something. If you are anxious about a friend’s response, or anxious about a test result, just say “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” This kind of ties in to #1 in that you deserve to free up your mental energy for things that are worthwhile.
- Focus on contentment over happiness
When talking to my therapist about a year ago, I kept talking about just wanting to be happy. She mentioned that we shouldn’t focus on happiness, but rather, contentment. To me, I thought they were the same thing initially, but she said that contentment is different from happiness because contentment is about being okay with whatever happens. We can’t be happy all the time; a lot of situations do not call for being happy. But what we can do is know that from all of our past experiences, time after time tells us that everything will be okay.
Once again, I hope at least one of these three shifts in mindset help you. Please let me know if it does! Thanks for reading.