What’s The Cost Of Our Choices?

I’ve started leading a 10-week habit transformation course. I guide a group of up to 10 people through a habit and identity-shifting process.

We pick apart our daily routines and take a microscope to our existing habits and patterns. We drill down to the micro-choices that we take each day on autopilot and start to throw light on their true cost.

The link between cause and effect becomes very clear as we move through this process and start to skilfully implement new routines that will lead us to the optimum outcomes that we most want.

We design our lives with the end goal in mind: how we want to feel each day.

As I’ve participated in this 10-week programme, and now started leading it myself, I’ve become incredibly sensitive to the cost of my choices. I can trace back my current state (either good or bad) to the micro choices I’ve made in the previous 24 hours.  It’s become so obvious that it’s painful when I go off track. I feel it HARD!

An example from just this week. I worked on some intellectually stimulating material on my laptop in the evening. I also drank some herbal tea. I turned my laptop off at 8pm which is my electronics curfew. All seemed to be on track.

That night I went to bed early as usual and got to sleep. I woke up around midnight thinking about the stuff I’d had my mind wrapped around until 8pm. I also needed to pee. So up I got to go to the loo and then went back to sleep. It took me awhile because my mind was chatty from the project I had been working on, but I was eventually able to slip back into sleep.  

At 2am my partner woke up and could not sleep. So he got up, showered, and then came back into our bedroom to dry off and get ready. This activity in the bedroom woke me up. Again.

This being the second waking of the night I wasn’t able to get back to sleep.

Between the midnight wee, time spent trying to sleep again after that, and the next 2am disturbance, I probably had about four hours of sleep. i.e. not enough sleep by half!

I had to go to work in the morning. Disaster. The day was pretty much a write-off. Productivity and mood rock-bottom. Ability to safely navigate the M4 commute to work and back: sketchy.

My low energy triggered me to eat a lot of fatty and salty junk food at lunch just so I could lurch forwards to the end of the day. This in turn made me feel pretty sick. I woke up the next morning constipated  from the processed food which does my pregnant body no good. Too much information?

I want the point to be super clear.  This sleepless night cost me two days of my life where I just wasn’t able to function properly or enjoy life. 

There were a combination of factors involved, sometimes there really is nothing you could have done differently. But in this case, my own choices to get entangled in something mentally stimulating and drink a herbal tea before bed set me up for this epic fail.  Two simple, and fairly innocuous choices cost me two days of my life. Two days that just didn’t cut the mustard. 

We have the capacity to design our life. Design our experience. Design the kind of sleep we get. Design how we feel when we wake up in the morning. Design how much energy and vitality we experience. Design how much happiness and ease we’re willing to allow in.

Are we paying attention to our choices and noticing the full power of their effects? Just like the butterfly effect, even the tiniest of choices that we make on a daily basis can have a ripple effect that either supports or undermines us as our life unfolds.

Ask yourself:

How do I want to feel tomorrow?

What small choices or actions can I take today to align to that?

Author: Sam Vale Noya

Yoga instructor currently living and teaching in Reading, UK.