2022 October 11 Avoiding setbacks

Oct 11, 2022

Hi, there! this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. Thanks for joining me tonight where we're going to talk about recognizing a pending setback and avoiding it even before it happens.

So let's get started. If you like what you hear, I'd really appreciate it if you hit the like button, and if not, please drop me a  line as to what you'd like me to cover. 


We've talked before about recovering from a setback, but tonight is more proactive because we'll talk about recognizing the path to a setback and then changing course before it even happens. So let's get started on that. 

But first, let's define what we mean by a setback. I think of it as doing something, whether it's a thought or an action or a decision, that moves us away from our goals and vision instead of towards it. Remember, our whole focus here is living a life that we're pleased with, by always working towards our goal. Part of the way we do that is by doing a vision and a vision board, and really envisioning what we want our life to be like. Once you have that vision, then it's a lot easier to make decisions that move you towards it.

If every decision you make has to be done purposely to either move us towards our goals or away from our goals, we can get in these situations very often where something over the short term might seem like a good decision, but then once you do it - maybe later that hour, later that day, the next day, a week later - you say, Boy, that really didn't make a lot of sense to do. I bought a new boat to go fishing with, but I was really trying to save money to take a fishing vacation

It doesn't have to be done purposely. A decision doesn't have to be done purposely to move us away from our goals, but one way or another, somehow it turned out to be inconsistent with how we envisioned our life to go. So it could be as simple as not doing something we know that we should, like eating well or exercising, or it could be purposeful, such as deciding to act in a way we don't like about ourselves. Maybe using foul language in public or something like that, or just going out and not eating correctly purposely. 

But no matter what we did, later we recognize it as something we really shouldn't have done. Now imagine for a moment, if instead of impulsively doing something that we later regret, we instead look not only at the pending action, but at the results of what we're considering doing.

By looking at not only our actions, but the results of our actions, suddenly we have this magic crystal ball into the future, specifically into our own future. That's cool, right? That means we can, if we so decide to, put on the brakes and change what we're going to do differently.

We can make a rational decision in the present to avoid doing an irrational result by not thinking carefully about our goals. It also means that if we decide to do something anyway, we can then go back and look at the decisions that we made that ultimately left us disappointed.

We had the opportunity to evaluate if the decision that we made was inconsistent with our goals because it really wasn't that important to us or it turns out, upon examination, our goals weren't really our goals, which happens to a lot of people. Boy, I thought I wanted to do this, but now that I'm working towards it, it really isn't all that important to me.

If your goals are changing or maybe for deeper reasons, like we have a fear of trying the unknown or changing the status quo. These are all really important discoveries. Imagine if you finally realize that you have a fear of failing in public, so you never try anything new - like a new dance or singing in public. Or if you ate meat and finally realized that you're not a committed vegan, or the other way around.


I hope you're starting to see how the power of acting a little more rationally and taking real charge of your life instead of just acting impulsively can have a really positive benefit. Being impulsive can be a great trait in many situations. It absolutely is. You can explore new and unexpected opportunities, and you can do all sorts of things that other people just wish they had the courage to try.

 But like everything, decision making has to be a bit of a balance of different things. We all recognize, I hope, that being impulsive is not a good trait, say, for when you're trying to pull your car out into heavy traffic. There are times to make rational decisions and times to make impulsive decisions.

 So too with the more mundane decisions that we have in our life, like what to eat. While impulsive eating is often a real treat when you're suddenly exposed to some new exotic food, just eating the next available food isn't necessarily the best choice if you're on some sort of a diet. All things in life need some balance.

 So too with our everyday life decisions, and more especially with our really significant life decisions. By thinking ahead a little bit, we can not only see where we might be moving away from our goals, we can often see new opportunities aligned with our goals that weren't visible to us when we first looked. Plus by looking ahead, we give our mind some time to really form a plan to make us happier for the longer term, and not just for the next instant.


These past few days for me have been a mixture of impulsive and careful. It's been fun, because last Friday I got an unexpected invitation to a wedding when I'd planned to work most of the weekend. Easy decision, right? Go to the wedding! Actually I did ponder on it for a few moments before answering, because I was weighing the joy from being with friends against the loss of progress on my business. Both were important to me, but by thinking about it first, I could go to the wedding feeling comfortable with my choice, and it was an awesome wedding. 

Now this week, there's been really excessive work demands already, and it's, what, Tuesday? I used the same process. My initial reaction might be to say, No, I'm taking the evening off. I'm not going to work till nine o'clock. But thinking about it made me realize someone else needed my support. It was an unusual situation, plus it was still consistent with some of my other goals. So I said yes, and again, I was comfortable with my choice.

In both cases, as promised at the beginning, I was able to recognize a pending setback by doing something inconsistent with my goals, recognize the alternatives and other potential benefits, and made a choice I was comfortable with. The last part in particular, being comfortable with my decision, pays huge benefits. Instead of spending the time second guessing. I could fully commit to my decision to move ahead with my life. Most importantly, I avoided not making any decision at all and backing myself into some sort of default situation, and then having regrets that I wasn't moving consistently with my life goals. 

So I'd encourage you on anything where you could move away from your goals or towards your goals by your actions, just take a moment and think, even if just for a few seconds, about the choices you have and if you'll be happy with the future they bring. At the same, be on the lookout for other options. You might think of something completely different to do, or a way to combine things you hadn't realized, or any number of other outcomes that you may be more satisfied with.

There are times for being impulsive, absolutely, but even with impulsive decisions, you should probably think for just a few seconds. First, was it really a good idea to enter that ice cream eating contest? Actually, maybe it was. Only you can make that decision, and it should be your decision, not a random choice that you later regret, because life has too much good in it to miss the choices that bring you happiness and fulfillment. So that's it for the evening. 


As always, be true to yourself and live life in line with your goals and feelings. Thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear.

Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone, and see you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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