Diane set a common New Year’s goal. To lose 10 pounds and get herself in better shape. Two days later, she’s at the food market pushing her cart around the store. Produce came first: a head of lettuce. small bag of broccoli, five bananas, and a ripe tomato. A great start in support of her goal.
Then the moment of trial. Bags of chips, pretzels and cookies lined both sides of the next aisle for the entire length of the store. Then another aisle stocked with nothing but sugary soda and candy – much of it on sale after the long holiday period just finished.
And this is exactly where the Moment of Better! occurs.
If Diane can make it down those aisles without reaching out and placing any of this junk food in her cart, she is setting herself up for Better Results! in the days that follow. Because if this stuff isn’t in her pantry or refrigerator when she hits that inevitable late afternoon moment of hunger for sugar, when she scans her kitchen for something to eat to kill the cravings she simply will not be able to give in to the cravings for junk food.
It’s just not there (but a banana is!).
To review, Diane set herself up for later success – her goal on her terms – when she made Better! Decisions while shopping days earlier.
David has an important meeting with the big boss next week. He’s nervous because his improvement suggestions are based in small part on data and in large part on his years of experience and gut feeling.
Let’s face it. David would be crazy to wait until the morning of the meeting to get ready. Instead he makes the Better! Decision of preparing five days in advance. He writes out a one-page agenda with the purpose of the meeting in bold at the top of the document. He prepares his talking points and a tight example of each. And then he does the two things that most of us forget or ignore.
One, he consciously takes the opposite point of view and prepares to refute his own suggestions. This makes him better prepared to anticipate the soft or weak spots in his recommendations as well as the specific questions he should expect.
Second, he rehearses for the meeting. Not just in his head. Out loud. And he records the dry run rehearsal so that he can both see and listen to himself make the presentation. No fancy studio. He just uses the video and audio recording functions on his mobile phone. Result: outstanding free feedback in a very private setting – allowing David to adjust his delivery and examples for Better! Results with the big boss.
And the goal is always Better! Results.
Terry had a crappy day at work. There’s just no better way to describe it. His boss was all over him. His cubicle mate spent the day on the phone arguing with their partner. He started the day with 20 unanswered emails, and 10 hours later ended the day with 35. Then there was the traffic on the way home. Normally a 35-minute drive, tonight it took over an hour.
So now late for dinner, he sits in his car in the garage about to head into the house where his bride and two children are waiting for dad to make his grand entrance.
How will he choose to feel when he walks through that door? What will he choose to say? Will he take a moment to collect his thoughts, take a breath or two, paste a smile on his face? Or not.
A decision moment for sure.
The Simple Lesson
In our complicated business and personal lives, so much is beyond our immediate control. So when we find that increasingly rare opportunity to control our results on our terms, we should reach out and grab it with passion.
We all have 100% control over our decisions. Every moment of every day in every situation. Whether to get up from our desk or couch and take a five minute walk. Whether to buy the junk food or not. Whether to prepare effectively for meetings and less-formal business conversations or not. Whether to turn off the TV and get to bed a little earlier or not. Whether to be kind to others or not. Whether to volunteer to assist a co-worker or not. Whether to talk on the phone while we drive or not. Whether to smile when we just don’t feel like it, or not.
Better! Results come from Better! Decisions. And opportunities for Better! Decisions are present hundreds of times each day. All we have to do is be present, see them, and Choose Better! in the moment.
Our Challenge Together
Positive change begins with being present and aware. Better! Results come from Better! Decisions at moments of opportunity.
Consciously mark one day on your calendar. On that day, stay present and mindful every time you face even the smallest decision. For one day, pause, give yourself just five seconds to take a deep breath, exhale, and then decide. Consciously. Which option that I have right now will increase the probability of advancing me towards my smallest intentions or larger life goals?