In the IT world, there is a concept known as “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO for short). It basically means that bad input is going to result in bad output.
Makes sense, right?
Although the term refers to computer programs, I have found that the same principle can be applied to our own lives.
Often times, when we are not getting the results we long for, the best thing to do is take a step back and look at what we’re allowing to be “input” into our lives.
Here are 3 ways our physical, mental and emotional output can be impacted by the wrong input:
This one is huge. When we eat, we should be more concerned with fueling our bodies than satisfying our cravings. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for most of us.
Personally, I have a sweet tooth. In my quests to gain weight, I’ve often found myself loading up on sugary sodas and delicious desserts.
But the empty calories don’t help me to reach my goals. On the contrary, they leave me feeling sluggish and irritable.
Our bodies are designed to function best when we fill them with healthy, nourishing, whole foods. With all the Frankenfoods on grocery shelves today, it’s no wonder many of us feel like we aren’t operating at full capacity.
2. Media Consumption
In the age of iPhones, tablets, smartwatches, and good old television, we are bombarded with more information than ever before.
There’s a constant stream of news and updates, culminating in a whole lot of mental clutter. That’s why we have to be deliberate about what we allow to fill our minds.
Before I ditched my smartphone for good, I had this awful habit of checking the news before bed. There was no shortage of atrocities that made me lose my faith in humanity a little more each day.
As someone who suffers from anxiety, this was not healthy. And it wasn’t just the timing (though I’m sure I did lose my fair share of sleep fretting over the things that I read.)
Ultimately, I had to stop reading the news altogether. I’m not advocating that we should all stick our heads in the sand and ignore the current events in the world around us.
But I have found that if something is important enough, someone is going to tell me about it and I can research it further if I choose. We all have that friend or family member who prides themselves on being the first to know about everything, don’t we? Let them do what they do best.
This applies to social media, too. Drop the fear of missing out and stop playing the comparison game.
Also? Be mindful of your information sources when you hop on the web looking to solve one of your problems. We all know that WebMD will leave you convinced you’re going to die within the next 24 hours. Or is that just me?
3. Toxic Relationships
We’ve all known people who, for whatever the reason, did not bring out the best in us. Maybe it’s a co-worker who loves to gossip. Or perhaps it’s a “friend” who never has anything positive to say and only comes around when she needs a favor.
These people are not the ones you need in your corner as you journey through the peaks and valleys of this life.
If there is someone whose interactions are constantly leaving you feeling negative, anxious or insecure, it may be time to take a step back from that relationship.
Seek out and nurture the friendships that are uplifting, authentic and encouraging. Be that kind of friend in return.
What about you? Can you think of other areas where we can be more intentional about the input in our lives? Tell me about it in the comments!