How Student Athletes Can Start Making Better Decisions Today [Part 2]
Making better decisions is possible, but it all begins with personal environment and self-awareness. Remember this, willpower is weak, but habit is strong. Here’s what I mean. Your willpower is a finite source. Like gas or even physical energy, the more you use it, the less you have left (for that day). Which also makes the opposite true. The less you use it, the more you have. So how do you use less? The answer: Habit and environment.
Habits, in simple terms, make thoughts and behaviors automatic. When these become automatic you know longer need to think about them to make a decision, which requires willpower and mental energy. This is precisely why Steve Jobs always wore the same outfit. He wanted to preserve his willpower and mental energy for making more important decisions. As student athletes, you don’t need to use this strategy exactly how he did, but you can all put this to use. The key is to plan ahead and stick to a consistent routine, so it then becomes automatic (ie. habitual), thus freeing up mental energy and willpower to make better, more important decisions.
Planning ahead and setting up your personal environment requires self-awareness. Again, you must know what’s important to you and why. That in a nutshell is self-awareness. Taking the time to think about what’s important to you and why. When you know this you can then use a planner to prioritize what’s most important and set up your personal environment to focus on the essentials and minimize distractions. Distractions are the death of progress, so get rid of them and put only what’s essential to progress on your most important goals within your personal environment. Only you know what these are, so get busy setting up your environment for success!
The final component to making better decisions is to utilize the acronym S.I.M.P.L.E., which is a short series of questions to ask yourself when you’re making BIG decisions, not necessarily smaller ones. Here are the questions:
1. Is my decision selfish?
• Who all will this decision affect?
2. If I do… vs If I don’t…
• What is the best / worst case scenario of each choice?
3. Have I considered multiple options?
• Don’t think “whether or not.” Think ”AND not OR.” Have 3 or more options, not just 2.
4. Does this decision line up with my core priorities/values?
• Think about the big picture and stay true to who YOU are.
5. Am I lying to myself or others?
• Meaning, are you being overconfident? Remember to “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” Have a balance in optimism and pessimism. Don’t have blinders on in either direction.
6. Am I letting short term emotions skew my decision?
• Attain distance before deciding (ie. “Sleep on it”). Remember, “High emotion typically equals low logic.”
That officially wraps up our 2-part series on how to make better decisions. I hope you’ve found some value in my philosophy on this topic and now feel fully confident to go out and start making better decisions for your future starting today.