Every year for about a month I do some sort of diet or fast, which involves eliminating things like dairy, wheat, meat, or only eating in a six hour window of time. Obviously there are some health benefits to doing this but that’s not why I do it. I do it to challenge myself. To prove I can do hard things, I can stay disciplined, and that I am in charge of my decisions and not my comfort, feelings, or temptations. It strengthens my resilience. The same way sports, conditioning, and early morning workouts prepared me for the grind of physical therapy needed to recover from my spinal cord injury.
When you think about your habits and decisions, who is in charge? The courageous side or the comfortable side? Do you cave to the part of you that wants to relax on the couch or the part of you that wants to be healthier? Do you give in to the distractions of your phone over the company of your family? Do you consistently press the snooze button for more sleep instead of getting up when you’re supposed to?
We never know when life will take a detour. So how will we know if we will make the hard decisions when we aren’t doing it now? We need to get into the habit to choose what’s best instead of what’s comfortable. One way to practice is by challenging ourselves. You can test yourself by going on a diet or fast, waking up earlier in the morning, taking a cold shower every day, or anything that is good for you but you aren’t always motivated to do.
The goal is to choose the action you don’t feel like doing. This will help you develop a strong sense of agency A.K.A. control over your decisions. Agencyis the technical term for feeling in charge of your life. This feeling gives you more of a say in what happens to you and a greater ability to shape your circumstances. The more aware you are of subtle sensory and body-based feelings, the greater potential you have to take charge and shape your life.
In my next email I’ll discuss ways of how I strengthen my sense of agency. In the meantime start challenging yourself in small ways to build your resilience. Good luck 👍