Be Your Own Experiment
Science is cool
Even if you don’t consider yourself a lab geek, you can still benefit from a little science.
Because you’re part of one of the all-time best experiments: Your life.
In the experiment of your life, others can guide you …
only you can know for sure what’s the best decision for you.
Sometimes, that best decision will be obvious.
For instance, maybe you already know that every time you eat shrimp you blow up like a balloon.
Or that if you drink coffee after dinner, you’ll be up all night counting the invisible elves tap-dancing in your bedroom.
Maybe you’re pretty sure that at age 63, your chance to make the Olympics has passed, so you don’t need to leave your blood, sweat and tears on the gym floor every single time.
… other times, it won’t be.
For instance, maybe you’ve never really thought about or noticed how different foods affect your energy levels.
Maybe after years of full-time work and a few kids, you can’t even remember what good sleep is, so you’re not quite sure anymore how to get it.
Maybe you’ve tried so many diet and exercise fads, you find yourself trying to make a cabbage-bacon Slimfast shake garnished with a low-fat Snackwell.
Or you can’t remember if Richard Simmons is the Tae-Bo guy or the dude on the Bowflex (or was it Chuck Norris who wore sparkly shorts?).
In these cases, how do you know what to do?
How to be your own experiment
You don’t need a lab coat or Bunsen burner to do this. All you need is to pay attention.
Here are the basic steps.
Decide what you’d like to observe or learn about. (For instance, “Is it the dairy that’s upsetting my stomach?” or “What happens when I eat more/less at Meal X?”)
Gather data. Observe. Take some notes.
Analyze your data. Do you notice any patterns or clues? If so, what?
Interpret your data. What does this information tell you about yourself? What do you think it means?
Decide what to do next, based on the data you collected.
That last part is important. You’re looking for outcome-based decision making.
In other words, you’re looking for the answer to the question, “How’s that working for you?”
Why this matters
The further along you go in life and a coaching program, the more you’ll learn about yourself.
You’ll think about what you want and need — what your goals are, what’s important to you, and so forth.
The more you learn about yourself, and think about what you want and need, the more decisions you’ll make.
This is especially true because your body and your priorities will evolve. For instance, you can’t lose weight forever. You won’t stay young forever. At some point, you’ll have to change gears.
So it’ll become increasingly important for you to become a good decision-maker.
Although we think we’re pretty logical, as human beings we usually make decisions based on:
- impulse and split-second, often subconscious, judgements and environmental cues
- what’s around us (such as our physical environment, or what other people are doing)
- emotions (with both logical and illogical triggers)
- beliefs and assumptions (that may or may not be true)
Conversely, we almost never decide what to do by slowly and carefully examining all the evidence.
You’re not necessarily trying to make the “perfect” decision. (Almost all important choices actively prevent “perfect” decisions.)
You’re trying to make the most conscious, intentional decision.
The decision that fits you best. The decision made with purpose, wisdom, full knowledge, and clarity.