When the new year begins, many of us set intentions or resolutions. Even if this is not your thing, it is still helpful to remember that any intention or project is more easily accomplished in small, easy steps. In other words, we can experience a greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when we break tasks down into smaller portions that we can easily accomplish on a daily or weekly basis.
This makes sense. Yet, I recently read an online article about how our cognitive minds work. One of the biases that hit home for me was titled â€œThe Current Moment Biasâ€. *
What it said was that we, as humans, find it difficult to imagine ourselves in the future and alter our current behaviors and expectations to support a future vision. It says we would rather experience pleasure in the current moment than experience inconvenience or hardship even though it may lead to a goal that we value.
The article quoted a 1998 study on the effects of appetite and delay on food choice. It revealed that when participants planned their food choices for the coming week, 74% made healthy choices like fruit. When their food choice was for the current day, 70% chose chocolate. Hmmm â€¦ I can see myself mirrored here!
When we have a vision of a future self â€“ our journey of a thousand miles â€“ we need to keep our long-term goal in mind as we navigate present-moment choices. If your long-term goal is to feel more centered and you want to get there through meditation, it means planning ahead and then sitting down to meditate according to the plan you have established for yourself.
If it means more yoga â€“ which I endorse, of course â€“ then it means establishing a plan that may include going to classes, taking courses online or practicing on your own at home. If you make a plan and set aside the time you need to do what you have planned, then you are more likely to choose yoga over sitting at your computer, etc.
Deep down, we want to be happy and healthy. Whether we are already there or just setting out, this is a journey of a thousand miles. Each day we are invited to take a single step in support of our own good health and happiness. What will you do today? Do you have strategies for achieving or maintaining your goals? Iâ€™d love to hear from you!
Best wishes for a 2014 filled with good health and abundant happiness.
* http://io9.com/5974468/the-most-common-cognitive-biases-that-prevent-you-from-being-rational and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9831521