Ups and Downs

January 30 2017

I was skiing last week.  On Wednesday evening I was reflecting on my skiing journey.  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself because I was in an off piste lesson group with an old friend who has always been a much better skier than me.  Learning to ski has been a long hard slog for me and the fact that I am now even using the words ‘off piste’ in connection with my skiing seems amazing!!

Thursday was a different story…  Life is like that isn’t it…  up and down…  not just metaphorically this time!  On Thursday I literally couldn’t stay upright!  I had an early fall in some bumpy snow, lost both skis and a pole and ended up in heap with my kit strewn up the mountain above me.  Things went from bad to worse as they so often do.  Later in the morning I was just standing listening to our instructor and one of our group fell over for no apparent reason at all – she took me with her.  Our legs were entangled and we slid down the mountain together with skis all tangled up – hilarious for those above but further humiliation for me!  The day went on in the same vein.  I must have fallen more than 10 times.  Our instructor, Tom Kenny, knows my skiing very well.  He has spent many hours trying to help me improve.  He kept telling me I had the skills.  But for some reason that first fall knocked my confidence and I just couldn’t keep up with my group anymore.  I went home that night feeling pretty demoralised and angry and frustrated.  How could it happen so quickly – going from feeling so good to feeling like chucking the whole thing in – in one day.

As so often happens in life I was at a ‘moment of choice’.  Our group instruction was over and we just had one day of our holiday left.  What would I do with the last day?  The original plan was to cruise around the pistes with a few friends before a long boozy lunch.  But I was feeling bad – I really really wanted to keep up with the group and to put right whatever had gone wrong with my skiing.  I made the difficult choice.  I told my friends I would not be joining them in the morning and booked myself a 4 hour private lesson with Tom so that we could work out what had gone wrong.

I have been thinking a lot about the ‘moment of choice’.  You know the sort of thing: Shall I say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to that chocolate biscuit I am being offered?  Shall I go to the gym this morning or stay in bed?  Shall I stand up for what I believe in or shall I settle for the quiet life?

So often the choice is between a long term goal and a short term gratification or easy option.

I have discovered that if you can spot the ‘moment of choice’ and identify it for what it is i.e. a moment when you have a choice and just stop for a few seconds to think before reacting it is so much easier to make the better decision.

The hardest part is recognising the moment.  Once you recognise you have a choice you can bring out your decision making skills and think about the options available and make a conscious decision.

Even easier if you can is to make the decisions in advance.  Make a plan when you are not under pressure.  It is so much easier to stick with a decision already made.  A good question to ask yourself is ‘which decision will give me the most joy?’  By recognising the short term joy of choosing the biscuit and comparing that with the long term joy of being at your fittest for skiing I find it is easier to say ‘no’.  There is far more joy in the skiing – usually!

Remember you always have a choice.  Most of our decisions are made subconsciously and are just old habits.  Start developing a better habit by recognising the moment of choice and making a conscious and more joyful decision.