Prioritization

If you're like me, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about making the right decision. Life is a constant series of choices, and every decision will affect your future set of choices. That's a lot to worry about! It’s really helpful to have a rational method for decision making. Here are a few tips.

Decide what's most important to you. This will change over time. Right now, it could be training for your first Ironman, or raising your young child, or studying for school, or planning your European vacation. There's no right answer – only a right answer for you, right now.

Write down your list of priorities. What do you need to take care of and do to fulfill your happiness? Is family more important to you than work? Is triathlon training more important than a game of golf with the boss? Is seeing the new Harry Potter movie more important than that track workout? :)

Bargain with those close to you. No decision is made in a vacuum.

Don't forget that other people will consciously or unconsciously attempt to influence your priority list. A simple example is a friend who wants you to go to a concert – but you want to get some sleep for that four hour bike ride the following day. A more complex example is deciding if you're going to take your family to Italy for a summer vacation – or to Idaho for a triathlon. :P

Once you've come up with this set of priorities (that those close to you understand), your decisions should become a lot easier. If getting a promotion at work is more important to you than winning your division at a triathlon, there's no question that missing your workout to stay at a meeting is the right decision. If winning the triathlon is more important – go get that workout in.

Every decision involves some level of risk. Risk can be a complex topic, but understand that most high goals involve a higher level of risk. Deciding to drive to the mall is low risk. Deciding to ride your bike across the country – higher risk!

Now within this set of choices, you can also assign value to different achievements. We all have a limited amount of time and money, and can't do everything. So decide – what will make you happier? Within the world of training and racing, if you really, really want to qualify for Hawaii, put your resources towards that goal. If you want to win your local sprint series division – work towards that. Don’t lose your way. Stay focused.

As time passes and your perspective changes, your list of priorities will also change. That's OK. Change is a good thing.

These habits and decision making tools should help you become a calmer, more confident person. Why? Because you'll be making decisions that are right for you. And when you do what's right for you – not someone else – life seems a lot easier.

Coach Marty Gaal