Male standing on the edge of a rope bridge, Assam, India. Decision, Decision, Decision.

Decision, Decision, Decision

Have you made up your mind yet?!

Before we can do anything we have to make that conscious decision that we are going to do it. And yet it’s one of the most difficult things to do. We procrastinate, we doubt we fondle and trip, never arriving at a decision that could potentially change our lives.

Decision is the mark of a start. But we don’t always follow up on that decision, because of fears, doubts and allowing ourselves to be overcome by other peoples opinions.

So what makes one person act on a decision and another not, if making a decision is not enough? Why does one person follow through with the promise they made to themselves where as another never takes the first step?

If making a decision was as simple as “say it and act”, failure would be a word rarely used, if at all in any language or dictionary. We don’t however do what we say, even when we know it’s for our benefit.

The man or woman who tells themselves that they are going to get healthier and eat healthy, the one that decides to start a gym regime but never makes it to the gym never mind starting with bodyweight exercises at home or even going for a daily walk. In all of these there’s a deep belief that becomes a reason not to.

What have you decided on

Every decision needs an outcome, a final result. When we make decisions “on the fly”, we rarely stop to think what it is that we really want. We haven’t been specific enough.

You have to define what healthy is, what happy is, what weight is, what success is, what fulfillment is for YOU.

You’ve got to be able to see yourself in that outcome, in that result. Not outside looking in, but putting yourself in the position where you feel that sensation, ousting yourself in the shoes of your future self.

How would it feel being healthy, lighter, at the weight of your choice, in the career you want to be in, feeling fulfilled. What does that feel like? Bring your future self to the present.

The present is the only reality there is. The past no longer exists but as a memory. The future is not here yet and you create your future with every decision, choice and action you take. The only thing you have control of is your present, the now and your mind, your thoughts.

It’s fine enough saying that you have decided to follow a course of action, but saying it and doing it are two different things. To act you need something to aim for, you must have a goal.

Adversity

There are times when the decision is taken off our hands. Things happen beyond our control and our life has to take a different path. It’s at these times, regardless of what’s happened, that we are being told that something about our own lives has to change.

Adversity and loss are not the negative outcome that we have stigmatised it to be. It’s at these times that, regardless of how hard it is, we must look at things from a different perspective. I will say that we have to be positive, for the reason that positive attracts positive. We ask what we have to learn from this and how can we take it forward towards a better life.

The loss of a child does not compare to any other loss. To others with no children, the death of an animal companion can be just as painful. It’s hard to ask, “What can I learn from this?”. For some they remain in the feeling of loss, going down a spiral of depression, that only keeps getting worse. Others decide, with vigour and passion, that they will take a course of action to change things for the better. At these times, even though the reason is deeply personal, the outcome inadvertently becomes a gift to others, a service to others.

These decisions are hard. But so are decisions to change our lives for the better; better for us, better for our family.

What kind of a father or mother is the person who only has time for their work? The same parent whose health suffers because of the job they do?

Decisions are not meant to be easy, which is the reason why so few act on them.

Decide before you get there

There are occasions that you can prepare yourself before something happens and you have to decide. Think of it as prior preparation by deciding what will happen if a given event takes place.

In the military you train hard to fight easy. The decisions are taken from you. But here lies the key to the process to prior decision making or deciding in advance. During training you go through a myriad of situations to prepare yourself in how you will act when that situation arises.

In the same way, football and rugby players practice manoeuvres and ball handling, passes and strategy on the field. A martial artist will train for incoming kicks and punches, how to block and avoid them, when to do so and when not, how to respond and when not to.

All these practices train the mind to respond in a certain way prior to the event.

You want to eat healthier but you’re going out with friends – decide in advance what you will eat and what you’re going to say “no” to. And if there will be ridicule or criticism be prepared for it. That doesn’t mean that you prepare appropriate responses – that’s the ego talking from being hurt. Simply realise that it is their own beliefs that are responding and you have your own reasons for why you are doing what you are doing, and respond with understanding. Say nothing, but don’t allow yourself to be ridiculed – that’s where the line is drawn.

In every decision we make we have to overcome the fear of what others will say or think. That is none of your business. You can’t control what others will say or think. It’s their beliefs and not everyone will be understanding. All you care about is what you know and why you are doing it. Don’t give in to peer pressure, because that will then become a habit on your part. Make a decision and stick to it.

What stops you acting

It does not matter what part of your life you want to change, alter or better – the fundamentals, the basics, the why’s are always the same:

Your fears and beliefs stop you from acting. You have to overcome them to act. There will be times that you have to name the fear, recognise it, before you can move forward.

And here we go back to the beginning – to overcome a fear or a belief we must have something to replace it with and we need a goal, a target to aim for. When where we want to get to is bigger and pulls us more than the fear we have, we’ll be able to move forward.

To get to the point of action you have to get your passion to the point that you realise that where you want to be is just as important as you breathing. Until then, you will be in a space where you act, but not enough to get you there.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to make us act, as I’ve mentioned above. But it doesn’t need a crisis to make us act. What’s needed is to realise what we truly want in our life, what fulfillment is for us, what joy is for us and the continual running of that ideal in our mind until it becomes as real as you touching your middle finger with your thumb at this present time.

And so…

Making a decision is not a light matter. It takes courage, to overcome the fears that we will face. It needs a worthy ideal, a goal to give us something to aim for, to head for. It needs us to feel that we are doing something that we are passionate about, fulfilling, meaningful.

Every decision we make changes our future. There are decisions that are made for us, but how we choose to react to them is also a choice and a decision we make.

Every decision directs the course of our life in the present as well as the future. The past does not dictate the future, unless we have something to answer for, forgive or act on. Resolve your past so that the future is clear.

And if the decision you make is not the best one, learn from it. Take the lesson away that you need to and then you will eventually take away the lesson that you’re meant to. Failure is not the end, but another starting point.

Decide to live the life you were meant to and not the one that has been created for you or that you’ve been led to. It’s a great responsibility. But the best decision you will ever make.

Modern psychology has conclusively demonstrated that a change of thought must precede every change in the life and in the affairs of man.
Raymond Holliwell

You write your life story by the choices you make. You never know if they have been a mistake. Those moments of decision are so difficult.
Helen Mirren

Photograph by: Krishna Kant on Unsplash


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