Written by Dr. Dane Donohue, Co-founder of 8WW
I thought about the end of the year, about how to make 2021 a fantastic year for myself and others. Many of us need it, many of us deserve it. To see people suffer needlessly is one of the hardest things to witness, especially when it's preventable. There is so much depression, anxiety, needless suffering, and death due to diseases, poverty, homelessness, broken relationships and the list goes on.
I believe life comes down to 2 things, our environment, and our choices. I've seen people who are in bad environments make amazing choices that propel them to success in life whether that be in a relationship, in health, in their finances, in education, in spirituality, etc. I've also seen people in seemingly good environments make horrible decisions that cost them their relationship, their health, their wealth and their morality. I myself have made good decisions and bad decisions and I like to think that I've learned something along the way. Where you are in life is the sum total of all the decisions that you've made up to this point. Now, that may seem depressing but it should also be uplifting. Why? Because you can change your life by changing what you decide to do from this point forth. Will the decisions you make in 2021 be better than the ones you made in 2020?
Here is what I ultimately believe will determine whether your decisions in 2021 will be good ones or bad ones. The consciousness or lack thereof that you bring to them. C'mon Dane, it can't be that simple, can it? Yes, it can. Let me explain.
Most people bring very little consciousness to the important decisions they make every day. Let me use an example. Most people with regards to their health today will give very little thought to those decisions. They will simply make similar decisions today to the ones they made yesterday. For example, what and where will you eat today? Same types of things and places you ate yesterday or the day before right?
However, what if I called you in the morning and said "Ok Bob, here's the game plan for today, write this down".
1. You're going to wake up early, do some breathing and meditation,
2. You're going to watch the sunrise and give gratitude for the things you love in your life.
3. You're going to plan your meals and make healthy choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No bad food today ok?
4. You're going to take your essential supplements this morning like vitamin D3, Omega-3's, probiotics, zinc, and a multi.
5. You're going to exercise for 30-45 minutes and get that heart rate up and lift some weights.
6. You're going to put a little money in a saving account today.
7. You're going to take a walk with your wife and tell her you love her and talk to her about your day and hers.
8. You're going to get to bed early around 9 or 10 pm.
Now, what if I got in Bob's head and did that every day over the next 365 days? Do you think Bob's life would get better? Of course, it would because he's be making much better decisions. Why? Because I've made him more conscious of making better decisions. Nobody would argue with any of these decisions above and how they could improve your life. The question is "Why the heck don't we do things we know would improve our life?". The answer, because we don't think about them and act on them. It's mental laziness.
The real answer is lack of consciousness. We either bring consciousness to our lives or we let the world into our consciousness and determine it for us! We are either consciously competent or unconsciously incompetent. What is it for you? Do you bring consciousness into the important areas of your life: your health, your marriage, your significant other, your spirituality, your finances, your legacy, your friendships, your happiness, your family, your future, or whatever I missed here?
Growing up, I wasn't taught to "think critically". Thinking critically is a process in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. In other words, it's bringing massive consciousness to what you are thinking about and deciding what's important to think about?
The one thing that has helped me in this area more than anything else is my morning ritual. It is usually an hour but sometimes it's 90 minutes or 2 hours. It's that important. I get up early usually around 5 am and so yes, I go to be early. It's a habit. I've conditioned my body and anyone that knows me knows that I'm usually falling asleep by 9 or 10 pm because I'm up early. My "hour of power" as it was taught to me is the most important in all 24 hours that I will be given today. Why? Because it is my most conscious hour. I read, I meditate, I write, I plan, I think, I pray, I show gratitude, I program my day and I consciously watch the world wake up.
This one simple act, one simple habit, one simple routine has made an enormous difference in my life. I think about my life and how blessed I am in so many different areas. Although I know luck plays a part, most of my good fortune has been the decisions that have come out of the consciousness I have brought to them. Learning to use your mind to help shape your decisions is one of the greatest things you can learn. Don't let the world do the thinking for you. Seize control of the steering wheel of your life by taking control of your mind.
Here is how to do it. Determine to get up early, at least an hour before you have to "get going". Find a great spot in your home or out on your deck when it's warm (in the summer my favorite spot is on my boat). Make yourself a great cup of tea or coffee. Then meditate, pray, read inspiring literature or something that will make you think about how to do life better. Think about your day, think about what you love, think about whom you want to help. Think about how you want to care for yourself that day such as the food you want to eat and the exercise you will do. Just think, no news, no Facebook, no boss, no distractions, just YOU and your THOUGHTS. I dare you to give this a try and see how it positively impacts your life?
If you have the discipline and courage to do this, please reach out and let me know how it goes. I wish everyone I know a happy, healthy and prosperous 2021!