Have you ever said, “Oh, one bite won’t hurt”? What if you’re wrong? What if one bite actually does hurt? Not in terms of calories or overall weight loss/weight gain in that moment, but rather over the long term. What if small decisions matter more than the big ones?
Most of us know how to make the big decisions support our goals. We go to the gym a few times a week. We get at least seven hours of sleep. We know to eat lean protein, vegetables, and fruits, and to stay away from things like cookies and soda at least 80% of the time.
It is the small decisions which add up. A second glass of wine on Tuesday because you just, “need” it. Finishing off your kid’s animal crackers because no one wants to waste things. Drinking a sport drink after a workout because apparently water isn’t good enough.
Small decisions matter if you are wanting to meet your health and fitness goals, or really any goals in your life – health related or not. Here are three areas you can start making better decisions in immediately, and quit the excuses holding you back.
Small Decisions have a big impact
There are three main areas small decisions have a big impact – and cause a slippery slope situation when you stop focusing on just how important those small decisions are. These three are your nutrition, your fitness, and your relationships.
Small decisions matter in nutrition as much as anywhere. In nutrition coaching, these little moments are sometimes called the Bites, Licks, and Tastes. They add up to lots of unaccounted for calories – and a stop to your fat loss.
How many times have you walked past your co-worker’s candy jar and thought just a few won’t hurt? Are you putting a packet of sugar in your coffee, and having three of those per day? These small decisions add up to a lot of sugar in your diet, and a few hundred empty calories. Do that every day for a month, and five pounds happens quickly.
Too many “Health Foods”
A less easily identified problem comes from one of our all time favorite foods here at ISN – peanut butter. Nut butters (when all natural) are a healthy choice. But you have to practice moderation. The small decision of putting the top back on and not having that extra spoonful is at least 100 calories in the bank each time. Make it.
In the gym, you have to keep challenging yourself to see progress and continued results. If you’ve been using the exact same weight for the past four weeks, how do you expect to improve? At some point, you have to make the choice to trust yourself enough to get better.
For many people, this stems from being worried about getting injured. However, if you’re at a group fitness class, you can trust your coach to get you through new movements and new weights safely. At our CrossFit box, we are encouraged to go up in weight – but only when we are ready. It isn’t a pressure thing. It is a desire to see improvement that makes us want to go just a little harder on the next set of squats.
The other small decision you may subconsciously make to hold yourself back in your fitness is believing just showing up is enough. You can go hop on the treadmill, spend thirty minutes jogging and watching Netflix, and reach your goals, right? Wrong. You cannot fall into a repetitive routine which leaves you doing the same things over and over and over again. We know going outside of your comfort zone can be hard. But doing exactly that is the only way to really improve your fitness. Make the small decision to be better.
If you believe you don’t have time to truly invest in your relationships, the truth may be you’re making a series of small decisions which are sucking all of your time away from your relationships.
Take a second and see how many hours you’re spending on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media networks. In reality, these are mainly a wasted suck on your time. If you’re not finding time to invest in your family and friends, take the hour on Instagram each night out of your life and see what happens.
Spending too much time at work
We are go-getters. We encourage you to go out and make your dreams a reality. However, if you’re at the office every night, every week until 8:00 or 9:00 pm, is that really necessary? Do an evaluation on your focus during the day. An eight hour work block is a long time, and we’d argue you can get the vast majority of your work done during that time. See if you can eliminate distractions and start getting home in time for dinner with your family. It matters more.
How are you improving your small decisions?
Overall, we’re asking you if you’re prioritizing your life in the way you want to. What’s more important, feeling confident on the beach when you’ve reached that fitness goal, or another handful of M&M’s? Do you care more about testing your body or playing it safe all day every day? Do you want your career at the expense of your relationships, or are you willing to find balance?
These are all personal choices, and there is no wrong or right. Just small decisions to be made daily which impact your life for years to come. You choose.