Rules For Success

Decide Beforehand and Make Things Simpler!

A while back, I wrote about Success As A Series Of Algorithms.  I stand by everything a wrote in that post.  I’d like to expand upon the matter a bit further here.

Will Power and Constant Discretionary Decisions Don’t Work

I spent about a month in Europe this fall, traveling and visiting friends (Zagreb, Croatian coast, London, Rome, and Naples).  Good times.  But the trip wreaked havoc on my routine.  Indeed, I gained a bit of weight eating all that Italian food.  No regrets!

After coming back home to Colorado and not losing weight despite having the intention to, I decided to set up a series of rules to govern my eating.  I already eat fairly well; so I was annoyed that I wasn’t losing weight despite moderate exercise, etc., etc.  So here are the rules I implemented.

Simple Rules, Powerful Results

  • The most important rule by far: only consume protein shakes, any type of fruit, plain yogurt, or more of an actual dinner meal after finishing the dinner meal.  This cuts out all the 9 pm snacking–the three bowls of cheerios with honey, the dollops of the peanut or almond butter for no reason, the handfuls of nuts munched right before bed despite not being hungry in the least.
  • Only eat nuts as part of another dish such as in oatmeal or yogurt.  (Yes, I know that nuts are super healthy, but I am not capable of only eating a few nuts!)
  • Never eat blue corn chips.  If I start, I won’t stop until the bag is gone.  Seriously.
  • Only eat yellow corn chips with something to dip them in.  And I can only eat as many chips as I can pull out of the bag with one handful (can’t go back for more).

That’s it!  The pounds are coming off with these super simple rules combined with lots of short walks and eating reasonable meals.  For the record, I’m not at all recommending these specific rules for you and your diet.  We are all different, with different cravings, needs, etc., etc., etc.  But this is what has worked for me and serves as an example of the broad concept.)

Decide Beforehand–And Lock It In

The reason I’m writing about this is that simple rules are immensely powerful.  By deciding beforehand what choices you make, you take discretion (and the potential for bad decisions) out of the equation.  No longer do I debate each evening if I should have that random bite that is full of calories.  No more do I unconsciously much on blue corn chips at 9 pm for no reason that I can identify other than just because!

These are little, tiny algorithms.  If you have already eaten dinner, you can only eat X, X, or X.  It just puts everything on autopilot.  Oh yeah.  I told my family all about my post-dinner algos, and they ask me if I’m sticking with them.  I’d be embarrassed to admit I went off the rails.  So that public accountability helps as well.

But what about you?  What little rules could you implement to tweak your life toward your goals?  Do you need to tell others to make the rules stick?  Or does an internal decision suffice?

Remember:

Having Rules = Finding Success

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