8 – HOW TO MAKE DECISIONS
Listening to your body is one of the best things you can do for yourself in sports. It literally tells you what to do.
Feeling tight? Go stretch. Feeling tweaks in your muscles? Hit up the trainers and back off a bit. Have a dry mouth? You’re way past dehydrated and need to drink water. Your body tells you when you need to rest and recover, and you all know the difference between soreness that you can push through versus having a real problem.
It’s up to you to have learned to listen to it over the years and make the right decisions to keep you at the top of your game. Otherwise, you’ve paid the price when you didn’t.
It might seem strange, but this doesn’t change after sports, and the more you can be in tune with your body, the better. Your intuition and gut instinct will manifest itself as a physical response to the choices you’re trying to make if you learn to listen. Stay with me here.
Normally as graduation nears, there are a good amount of unknown and lots of decisions that will need to be made. And I know that a lot of times, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options that it becomes paralyzing.
I know right now, you may think you don’t have options, but you do. How are you going to use this time to benefit you? What can you do now to set yourself up for success when the time comes? You may have so many options, you have no idea what to do, where to start, or even what direction to head in. So you don’t do anything, which is actually the worst choice that could be made. It’s not going to help you at all, and you’ll just stay stuck in your rut and constantly be playing all of these ideas over and over in your head.
What should I do? What should I choose? Where should I go from here? How do I decide? You might be facing these same questions right now.
There are a whole bunch of ideas when it comes to sorting through your options when trying to make a decision. And a lot of them say just pick something and run with it, see if it works. If it doesn’t pan out, try something else. That’s great, and it can totally work for some people.
But that doesn’t help you actually go through HOW to make the decision. What questions to ask yourself and things to evaluate. And from everything I’ve been through, that’s always the question that comes up the most. Of course, I can pick something, make my pros and cons list, but what about that choice makes it the best one for me to try first?
The first thing that I found that really works for me is asking myself, “Will I regret this if I don’t try it?” and “Is this a theme that keeps recurring?”
I personally never want to have a regretful “what if?” What if I had really tried that thing? How cool would that have been? What kind of impact would that have made? Or what kind of legacy could I have left if I had just tried?
You have to listen to that still, small voice that’s inside of you — it is your gut, your intuition. It is your subconscious telling you, “Hey, this is it. What if we tried this? What if we were able to make this work?” I always want to be able to say, “Well, tried it, totally sucked at it, so I’m trying something different.”
Take small steps if you need to because action is the best indicator of where you’ll go for the next step — adjust and move forward. Fail and move forward.
What if I went on that trip? What if I did move to a new city? “What if” all these different things because the more what-ifs you ask, in terms of the positive perspective and possibility– those are the gold. The more you can think of those, the more you’ll be open to new ideas and trying new things. You’re not going to have the regret side of “what if I tried that?” because you already did, which is so awesome.
There are also times when the same theme keeps occurring in your life. The same thought keeps surfacing, the same idea, the same “what if”– and this could be over years– and your heart lights up when you think about it. This is called a sign. If this keeps happening, give it a shot! Follow your gut. Listen to it. It is your guiding light.
As you’re asking yourself the questions above, take it a step farther by being in tune with your body. This is where learning to listen to your body translates outside your world of sports. This version is to actually stand up, ask yourself the question out loud, and then notice your body’s physical response. Does your posture shrink? Do your shoulders slump? Does your body open up? Does your head raise a bit higher? Do your eyes get wider? Does your breath stop for a second?
Notice these things because your body will actually tell you how it feels about it — that’s your gut and intuition manifesting as a physical response.
I truly believe that listening to it and acting on it will bring the most fulfillment. It’s not quite the same as it was in sports, and it might not be as easy to identify in the beginning, but the more you look for it and think about it, the easier it will become to notice. Slow yourself down and notice what your body is trying to tell you to help you make decisions as you move forward.
Stay strong and take care!