We are always making decisions.
One of the roles that I serve my clients with is helping them to make decisions.
See, we THINK that there’s a right decision and a wrong decision: Should I change jobs? Or not? Should we go to Florida for our vacation? Or California? Should I go to this movie? Or that one? Should I cut my hair? Or keep it the same?
In a world where so much importance is put on us making the ‘right decision’ in regards to vaccines and choosing political leaders, it’s no doubt that so many of us suffer from analysis paralysis.
We see this all the time when it comes to deciding which gym to join, which fitness class to go to, or which dietary guidelines to follow. We get so in the weeds of gathering information that it keeps us from taking action – which then ironically just delays the decision.
Many times, making a decision & having your own back is the best decision to make.
You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 32.
Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.
Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.
The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.
I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.
If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.
Let’s get started.
Hello everyone, welcome to our episode today on making decisions. Now, before we get started, I just have to do a huge shout out because I have been talking to so many women who have been telling me that they listened to the show when they’re out doing their walks.
And I love that, I couldn’t be more excited that you’re listening and that you’re excited about what I have to say. Because I know that when I started listening to podcasts, it was when I was walking first thing in the morning, myself. That I was tired of my playlist that I kept listening to and I needed something different.
And I was more interested in personal development, and I wanted to read more books. But I felt so almost guilty for sitting on the couch reading when there was so much that I had to do. Podcasts and audio books just became part of my life at that point because then, I could walk, and it was almost as if I could process the information a little bit better because I was walking and I was just thinking about what it was that was going into my ear.
So, I am so glad that you’re here and I couldn’t be happier that you’re listening to me.
Now, that being said, I record my episodes pretty far in advance. As of right now, I have just finished the launch of the feel-good sisterhood. And I could not be more proud of the 14 women who have raised their hands and said, I want to go on this journey for the next six months.
Now, I know that there are a lot of women who wanted to join the Feel Good Sisterhood, but just weren’t able to for logistical reasons or whatever. But know that I will be launching it again, hopefully around the end of October this time. And this time ideally, I would like to have an evening session.
So, if that’s something that’s interesting to you, what you can do is you can go to elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching, all one word and get on the wait list for the next release of the Feel Good Sisterhood. And again, hopefully that will happen in October, and it will be an after-hours group.
Now, I’ve launched group programs before and what I really loved about this launch was the ability to help the folks we’re interested in the program really make a decision about whether this was the right program for them or not. And it’s something that I do actually within my one-on-one coaching sessions too.
Whenever you sign up for a mini session with me, one thing that’s really important is that you make the best decision that is right for you at that moment in time. And it’s not to say that later you couldn’t come back and say, “okay, now is a better time for me to start.” But really helping folks make decisions about what it is that they want to do.
And as a coach, I help clients make decisions all the time. And it’s really interesting when someone gets on a mini session with me, and I asked them if they want help making the decision to coach with me or not. And what happens at the end of a lot of sessions is that people say that they need to think about it.
And that’s such a curious thing for me, it’s such a curious statement. We all say that I need to think about it. I’m not saying that we should rush into decisions like this. In fact, I don’t think that we should, but making the decision and making the commitment are two completely different things.
We can make a decision that we want to follow coaching, but not yet make the commitment. Once we pay, then we’ve made the commitment. And it’s a fine line, but it is aligned definitely in deciding and then committing to do something.
What I want to do in this podcast today is really talk about, how we can make better decisions? Because so many of us have so many questions that go on in our brains. We constantly are second guessing ourselves; we have self-doubt about what if I make the wrong decision and we put so much pressure on ourselves to make the right decision.
And what’s so interesting about that is right now, in this climate of either getting vaccinated or voting for the right politician, we’re hearing that a lot that we need to make the right decision. And it’s almost like there’s this severity around it, but what if there really is no right decision? What if that making a decision is really just the process of making a choice?
And then following through with the choice and not looking back. And also, not having the negative self-talk that happens on the other side of us imagining what life would look like if we had made the other decision.
Now, here’s what happens when we decide to make a decision. We go on a fact finding mission, right? We go out and we look for all of the information that we can, that will help us to support one way over another. And we see this in dieting all the time, don’t we? Or in deciding whether we should join a gym or not.
We go out and we find all of the gyms that are near us, and we put all of their amenities into a spreadsheet, and we just try to figure out, which one is the right decision for us? Which choice is the best one?
And at some point, all of that information gathering that we start to do, just becomes noise. What we need to do is we actually need to get really super quiet and figure out, what are the questions that our brain is offering us?
There’s this lovely phrase that a confused brain stays stuck. And it’s absolutely true, how many of us have done this when we have so many questions about what should I do? All of a sudden, we don’t do anything.
When we’re confused, when we don’t know what we should do, we keep doing what it is that we are doing, which generally is nothing. What happens is when we are trying to make a decision, our brain starts freaking out.
On the one hand, we can actively imagine what the future will look like if we commit to decision A, what would that look like? We can imagine enjoying our life in that scenario. And then we also have decision B, and we think about, well, how would that look, right? And all of a sudden, your brain starts throwing up all of these questions and objections.
Our brain asks questions like, well, why don’t we know what to do? Why aren’t I passed this? Why can’t I do this on my own? Why is this so hard? And what the problem is that these questions, really have no good answer that we can ever answer. Our brains also love to ask us questions like, well, what if this is the wrong decision?
Or what if I can’t do this? Or what if I give up or what if it doesn’t work? Right? And when we are asking those questions, that’s ultimately what we produce. When we think the question, what if I fail at this? What happens is we produce failure. If we think the question, what if I can’t do it? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; we can’t do it.
If we ask the questions, well, what if I give up? Or what if I don’t follow through, then guess what, that’s actually what’s going to happen. Because whenever we have questions that are phrased like that, like what if X, then what’s actually happening is our brain is thinking X. So, if you’re asking the question of what if I fail at this, your brain is actually thinking I am going to fail.
It’s really important for us to get really quiet and understand all of those questions that we have. Because the way we think creates how we feel and how we act, and we will just create more of whatever it is that we’re thinking.
So, if your thought process is, what if I fail? Then, you actually fail ahead of time or you half asset and then fail. Because the thought of failing creates this helplessness and hopelessness in our brains. And then our brains just turn off and any problem solving that potentially could be an option, just goes away. Because we have completely hampered that.
Whenever we want to make decisions, we want to make decisions from the place of asking ourselves, “not, what if I fail?” Because that’s the worst question to ask ourselves, but what if we succeed? Not, what would I lose? But maybe, what do we have to gain from doing this?
Being afraid and being doubtful is totally normal. Especially for women, we have so much self-doubt. We are socialized to doubt ourselves, to think that we can’t do things, to second guess ourselves, and to believe that we aren’t enough and that we can’t succeed.
We’re also hypercritical of ourselves when we don’t do things perfectly. Many of us won’t actually attempt to do anything new. Because we know that we’re not going to be perfect at it and we’ve been socialized to criticize ourselves, when we don’t make the perfect decision. .
We are actually just humans who need to unlearn all of the unhelpful myths that we’ve been taught since we were young, right? So, it’s totally okay to feel doubt and fear.
But what I want to do is I want to walk you through the process of being able to make decisions. And then on the other side, having your own back so that you don’t have the doubt and fear that creeps up when you’re on the other side of making that decision.
So, here are the steps that we’re going to take in order to make a decision.
When you’re trying to make a decision, what I want you to do is I want you to make two lists. Make a pro list and make a con list. And just throw up, throw onto the page, all of the reasons why doing this? Why making this decision is a great idea? And then write out all of the reasons, why making this decision is a bad idea?
Now, traditional advice is that whichever lists has more than you should go with that. I’m going to say that that’s the wrong way of approaching it. What you really want to do is look at which reasons do you like better? Which reasons resonate with you more?
As we were talking about before, a lot of times making a decision to do something or not, we will think about the questions of; what if I fail? Or what if I feel bad? What if I’m going to criticize myself? Or a lot of times we make decisions in the respect of trying to control other people’s opinions of us.
So, for example, when someone asks us to make three dozen cupcakes for the PTA, I know most of us aren’t in that age range anymore. But we say yes to it, not because we want to help out the PTA and we want to spend our time doing that. But because we don’t want to disappoint the person who’s standing in front of us. And that’s actually a really bad reason.
Not, do I really want to do this? Really getting into your body and really understanding how you feel about potentially committing to this thing. Understanding what the reasons are for doing it and what are the reasons for not doing it. And then making the decision from a place of power, not from a place of fear.
So, as I mentioned, what you want to do is again, write down a list of all of the reasons why you are wanting to do something and all of the reasons why you don’t want to do something. And it can actually be really helpful that if you have multiple choices that you make three different two-sided lists; reason for doing A, reason not for doing A; reason for doing B, reason for not doing B; reason for doing C, reason not doing C, okay.
Just so that you can really understand what all is going into it and how you feel about each of your different options.
To give you just a little bit of my experience. This weekend, I went, and I got my hair cut and colored. So, living in Mexico, and it’s summer. It’s very hot out and I have a lot of hair and my hair is long at this point and it’s also very hot.
I went and I got my hair cut and over the past few days before I had made the appointment. I was thinking about cutting my hair to chin length, how my hair was when I first moved to Mexico? And I just kept looking at old pictures of myself during that time and wondering should I cut my hair?
And as I was getting my hair cut and I was talking to my hairdresser about it. I realized that the question that I was asking myself was, should I cut my hair? But really the question that I was asking myself was, will I regret cutting my hair? And it’s so interesting how subtle those changes are.
But when we ask ourselves a question again, like I was saying earlier, what I was thinking is I will regret cutting my hair.
Ultimately, I decided not to get a major style change this time but hold off on it, and if I really want to do it later, I can cause I can’t glue the hair back on, right?
But that’s a really good example of how when we’re confused about something, how when we’re not sure what we should do about it, we just do what we’ve always done. But here’s the thing that’s actually way more important than making the decision or the outcome of the decision.
To be honest, it doesn’t matter whether I cut my hair or not, right? It doesn’t matter if we spend money on product X or product Y. It doesn’t matter if we move, or we don’t like none of that really is that big of a decision.
We think that it’s a big decision, but ultimately, it’s not. What happens is, what we fear isn’t actually the decision, what we fear is the negative self-talk that happens on the other side of us having thoughts about that decision, right?
So, if I were to cut my hair, then looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, “oh, well I can’t put my hair in a braid,” or it’s too short for me to put into a ponytail, or I shouldn’t have done this. And why did I do this? And feeling uncomfortable with the new style.
And I know that I’m talking about hair right now. But this can be applied to anything, it can be applied to a job change, it can be applied to a move, it can be applied to going to see one movie over another, or even choosing one entree in a restaurant over something else.
How often do we do that? We decide one thing and then we see someone else with the other choice. And we’re like, ‘oh, I should’ve ordered that,” right? And when we have those thoughts, we reinforce that we cannot make the right decision.
I want to suggest that when we make a decision, we can choose and not have any more thoughts about it. That the negative self-talk that happens on the other side, the self-doubt that questioning and second guessing, that is completely optional, and we don’t have to do it anymore.
I truly believe that every one of us is doing the best that we can. And when we apply that thought of, we are all just doing the best that we can, it really invites compassion to making decisions.
Many of the decisions that we make really are not reversible, right? We can always go back to the way that we were doing things before.
When Gary and I decided to move to Mexico. Of course, we had the thoughts about, is this the right decision for us? Would this be a mistake? Our thought process at the time was of course all of those questions that I had before, like, would we fail? Would this be the right thing? Would something happen? And it would change our relationship, or we wouldn’t be able to go back to where we were. But making this decision was actually one of the best decisions that I think that we ever made.
And we did it from a place of knowing that we could always go back to how things were before. We could always move back to the United States, if we wanted to. We might not be able to move back into our house because we sold it, but we could always go back and live in the United States again. That in and of itself, just the impermanence of that decision, made it not that big of a deal.
I love the saying that based on the information that I had at the time and my beliefs about the decision I made the best decision possible, because it’s absolutely true. When we think about the two pieces of information that we have, when we think about the information that we have and our beliefs about those pieces of information, we can only make the best decision possible.
When we come from decisions through that lens, then it’s so easy to stick to it and to have your own back. And again, when I talk about having your own back, what I’m talking about right there is so super important.
It’s making the decision and then not second guessing yourself, not going back and forth of questioning yourself, but rather having confidence that what you did was the right thing. And it’s an option for all of us.
So, go out and make a decision and then have your own back, it’s totally optional for you.
Have a great day everyone, I will see you next time. Thanks for listening. Bye-bye.
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