How to make hard decisions today that will influence your health for the better
Using 10/10/10 to make healthier choices with greater confidence
“I absolutely love making really tough decisions,” said nobody ever.
If you want to create a set of angst and overwhelm in someone, just give them an ultimatum, or make them choose an answer from a list of options that all sound equally as promising.
Throughout our lives, we’re faced with moments of making hard decisions. In the moment, we can react emotionally and make a poor choice. For others, we freeze in response to all of the options in front of us.
Think about large decisions you have to make in regards to your health:
Buying a gym membership
Hiring a coach
Speaking with a dietitian
Seeking help from a therapist
Making your annual appointment with you doctor
Booking your dentist visit every six months
Getting that sleep apnea test (Uh, boring. *snore*)
Most of these are actions that happen when we strike the right cocktail of timing, motivation, influence from others, and many other hidden forces.
For the large majority of us, these also don’t happen as soon as they should. They happen after the fact, once things have already started to slip or when too much time has passed.
How can you start to make the tough decisions today that will impact your health for the better?
The 10/10/10 strategy
This strategy comes from Suzy Welch, noted in Decisive: How to Make Better Choices In Life and Work by Chip & Dan Heath.
You simply reflect on how you’d feel at three points in time (in the future) after having make a choice.
The beauty behind this method is that it rapidly allows you to create space between you and the decision at hand, dampens short-term emotion, and makes sure your future self as a say in shaping your choice.
This means greater clarity and confidence in your decisions.
As the authors pointed out:
“The three time frames provide an elegant way of forcing us to get some distance on our decisions.”
Here’s how it works ↓
Step 1. Think of a decision you’re trying to make in respect to your health and fitness. Maybe it’s getting a new gym membership or picking up the phone to make a visit with your doctor.
Step 2. Give yourself some distance from the decision to see it from a broader perspective. Ask yourself:
How will I feel about this decision in 10 minutes from now?
How will I feel about this decision in 10 months from now?
How will I feel about this decision in 10 years from now?
It can sometimes feel like the decisions we must make in this moment are too complicated. Using an “emotional-sorting” type of strategy like this helps us get clear on the greater implications of our choices, and how they benefit/harm us in the long run.
“10/10/10 helps to level the emotional playing field. What we’re feeling now is intense and sharp, while the future feels fuzzier. That discrepancy gives the present too much power, because our present emotions are always in the spotlight.”
Thinking long term isn’t the only thing matters. Change happens in the present, and we need short-term emotion to help drive action. We just want to make sure that this immediate voice isn’t the only voice we listen to.
“…short-term emotion isn’t always the enemy…conducting a 10/10/10 analysis doesn’t presuppose that the long-term perspective is the right one. It simply ensures that short-term emotion isn’t the only voice at the table.”
What to do next
Think of a tough decision you’re facing. What’s the blockage? Why is it so challenging to make the choice? Is it important that you address it?
Implement 10/10/10. If you feel that this is something that is causing you some stress thinking about, and it’s important to resolve, work through the three questions to get some clarity.
Zoom back into present moment and take action. Having separated yourself from your shot-term voice, allowing your long-term voice to speak, what insights do you now have that can help you take action? Remember that making change happen is an action-oriented business - not a thinking one.
What do you think of the 10/10/10 strategy?
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