The Next Right Decision

The Next Right Decision (AKA the NRD) is a project designed to help people understand the influence their decisions have on the way that they feel. The project awards points for healthy decisions that a person can make as a means to encourage better decision making. You merely take a very brief survey everyday to help track your decisions.

In March, 2017 I decided it was time to be a healthier, better version of myself. With many issues, destructive behaviors, and negative physical and mental health a major change was needed. However, changing “everything” about me was so overwhelming I didn’t know where to begin. And in hindsight, really a remodeling was necessary, not a total tear-down.

The Next Right Decision
Drew & Molly Mikita at the 2017 Run/Bike Grand Traverse

So to make things more simpler for the much needed improvement (ok, it was pretty much a mid-life crisis), I listened to the words and advice of a mentor, coach, and friend, Kent Butler. We were counselor together years ago. He would tell his clients in substance abuse recovery, “just make the next right decision!” This bit of wisdom stuck with me as something I would pass along, but never was incorporated as life philosophy or practice. In my life change, it has worked wonders and I am in a better place than I ever imagined possible.

After speaking with my awesome colleague at Colorado Mountain College, Kimberly Carmitchel she had a really cool 60 Day Wellness challenge that she used with her class that motivated me to do something similar. When my Health Psychology class got super excited it fired me up to make this something awesome. It will always be evolving and improving with the addition of other healthy decisions. This project is a work in progress and will be updated and evolving!

Why the Next Right Decision?

It is so easy to get overwhelmed by behavioral modification. Eat healthy, exercise, practice gratitude, read, communicate, stay hydrated, do yoga, being positive, spiritually fulfill yourself, improve sleep, break years (or decades for me) of maladapative thinking and behaviors. Exhausted yet? I am. So many things to change, and for me, worry about. It needs to be simpler, don’t set out to change everything, start with the Next Right Decision.  Simplify. Life is about choices, just make the Next Right Decision.

The bad news: You are going to make the wrong decision, it is going to happen, pounding a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, getting angry, taking a turn to negative town. The awesome news: you have another decision in front of you right now.  Don’t let one bad decision turn into twenty bad decisions. Just make the next right decision. Even if the wheels come off completely and you have a bad day, week, or month, righting the ship has to start with a single next right decision, so make it now!

The Next Right Decision
Kent Butler and Lori Gromen

How do I know what the Next Right Decision is?

This is tricky and may not always be easy to determine. For example, some days the Next Right Decision is to go for a 5 mile run. However, if you just ran a 100 miler (like my bad a** wife just did), the NRD is to rest, not go for the run until she has let her body recover. Most days the NRD is to have a healthy salad over a cheeseburger and beer. However, every now again a cheeseburger and beer with some friends is a great decision, especially after a hike or day on the ski hill exercising!

It is not about being perfect and always knowing what is the NRD, it is about choosing to be healthy and being aware of your decisions and the influence on how you feel. What is the right and healthy decision for one person, may not be the NRD for another person. Understand your limitations and understand that all people are unique. Listen to your body and what it needs, consult a doctor with any questions you may have about your physical limitations or specific health concerns. Be honest with yourself about truly is the healthy and right decision, which can vary from day to day. Wanting to make the healthy decision is a huge part of this.

Can I participate in the Next Right Decision?

Yes, if you are over the age of 18 (or have your parents permission), you may participate in this study! You may participate in this NRD for as long as you like. Students in my class will be doing this for 60 days. People are encouraged to participate for as long or short as they like, but are encouraged to commit to a minimum of 30 days to really understand the influences your decisions have on the way you feel. If you have any medical issues, please consult with your doctor before participating.

What’s with the points?

Some people are motivated by tangible, quantitative point based systems. Here is a break down of the scoring system. So the NRD awards points for next right decisions that are made. These are designed to bring about awareness of good decisions and incentivize people to make multiple next right decisions. While the points are important, the goal of the NRD is for people to understand that the decisions you make impact the way you feel. More right decisions, the better you feel an are. Plain and simple. Use the points as a motivator, but do this to be a better version of yourself. Hopefully, this can create a long-term, sustainable, happier, healthier, awesomer you!

Get started with the scoring survey here!