Deliberately choosing health, wealth and happiness has become my mantra, my go to approach, my new way of life. I strive to make the right decisions that keep me on the path of health, wealth and happiness. With that in mind, I am nowhere near perfect and sometimes making the right decision is a struggle that occurs in my head with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.
Sometimes life gets in my way and even decisions such as what to eat are a struggle. Today I literally stared in my refrigerator for what seemed like 5 minutes. The chunk of bread that came home with us after game night at my sisters was calling to me. I don’t know if it was really the bread I wanted or just the ease of prepping lunch with that as the main ingredient that was appealing.
My old standby of slapping cheese on bread and slathering it with mayonnaise seemed like a good idea. Luckily the angel won the battle today and I made some tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise and ate that along with a small salad topped with 1/2 of an avocado. I am still eating with a focus on decreasing carbohydrates and bread is not part of my daily eating plan.
The ongoing battle between the devil and the angel in my head occurs not only with food decisions but with financial decisions, work struggles, and interpersonal relationships.
Please tell me I am not the only one with a devil and angel perched on my shoulders squabbling about what should be simple decisions. Read more about my experiences with these 2 opposing forces here!
Assuming my long-term goals are truly important to me and reaching them is the best way to ensure my happiness, then it is my responsibility to help the angel win the majority of these daily struggles with the pitchfork guy.
I think one way to do this is to establish routines that help me to make good decisions. Routines are simply a sequence of actions that we follow on a regular basis. They help us form both good and bad habits that either keep us on the path we deliberately choose or the one we choose by default.
The path, I deliberately choose is to maximize my health, wealth and happiness. My daily decisions either keep me on this path or pull me off of it.
I have a sleep routine that helps to ensure I get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night. When the alarm goes off, I jump out of bed. No hitting the snooze button for me. I figure a good nights sleep is the best way to ensure I am on my game all day long!
I have a routine where I plan out my meals the day before so it is easier to make good decisions even when I am hungry. I have a routine of shopping with a grocery list and only doing retail therapy at thrift stores; keeping me from mindless spending.
When my sleep routine is disrupted, I become tired, unfocused, frustrated and lose my motivation. This tends to unravel all of my routines.
When this happens, the inner devil starts whispering to blow off whatever work I have scheduled. I speak without thinking and cause hurt feelings. I go shopping when I am bored, I make purchases without deliberating. When I am out of my routine, I engage in mindless eating instead of making conscious decisions about what I put in my mouth.
How come bad habits seem to be formed much easier than good habits?
My honey likes to say it is a “slippery slope” when we start eating things once in a while that are not part of our meal plan. A slice of bread or a bowl of ice cream is no big deal when we eat it once in a while. But having those items in the house increases our consumption and before you know it, they get added to the shopping list and eaten every day.
Similarly, one impulsive trip to a department store can be costly. I have goals that involve spending money in Alaska, not on a new jacket to add to my collection hanging in the closet. Not planning out my lunch in advance means either going hungry or grabbing something on the go which entails spending money I didn’t intend to on food I don’t want to eat. I like routines that keep me grounded and focused. Routines help me reach my financial and health related goals. When the devil and angel get into a struggle, hopefully the routine is, well routine enough, to kick in and ensure the angel is victorious and the slope not too slippery.
I don’t strive for perfection, but I certainly want to live a purposeful, strategic life that allows me to reach my short term and long term goals. Sticking to the routines that help me develop good habits is one way I intend to do this. Otherwise, I am likely to tumble down the slippery slope and end up on a path I didn’t choose and don’t want to be exploring.