Whenever I stop, pause, and reflect on where I am regarding various goals: (weight, savings/debt, family, and so on), any results I’m achieving are ultimately on me.
Whether good or bad, what I’m getting is the result of what I do or do not do. Therefore, it comes down to this simple truth:
My results are the result of the decisions I make.
Sure there might be some circumstances that create some difficulty in executing wise decisions. People or snacks might trigger a poor decision.
But ultimately, my results are due to the accumulated effects of my decisions. Over time, these decisions compound to put me in the place where I find myself to be. I purposely wrote that last sentence with a little lack of clarity because we act as if we’re surprised when we end up where we end up.
Knowing this fact can be discouraging. If I’m not getting the results I want, the blame falls on me. That kind of sucks. We can tend to feel broken if we’ve struggled over years to make the right decisions in certain areas of life. That sucks even worse.
I’m an eternal optimist so I believe this realization that are results are due to our decisions is the beginning of hope. Yes. It is the starting point.
How? Here’s how….
You can assert your agency
This means that once you realize your results are due to your decisions, you can take ownership. You don’t have to feel that your situation is at the whim of others who have some kind of power or control over you. You can begin responding to your circumstances. You have power. Even if it’s a small bit of power at first.
Decision-making is a skill
You’re not born with good decision-making skills. You’ve developed your skill or lack thereof over years.
You can become better at making good decisions as long as you realize it’s simply a skill to learn. You are not born with a fixed capacity to make good or bad decisions and are therefore doomed to sucky decision-making for the rest of your life.
You can practice. You can grow. You can become better, more disciplined, more clear as to why you should decide what you decide.
Decisions are easier with a filter
Part of developing the skill of decision-making is having a filter. One of our problems is that when moments of decision come at us, we’re unclear because we don’t have a filter or a process for making decisions.
Here’s one that I feel is pretty solid. Try it on for size. I’ve totally stolen it from others, so steal it from me if you think it’d help:
- What does love require of me with this decision?
- In light of my past experience, present reality, and future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?
- What is the most disciplined thing to do?
Those three questions should help you at least know what the right decision is in any given situation. Executing from there… that might take some practice.
Just remember…. the accumulation of these decisions lead to the results you achieve. (Read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy for a great treatment of this idea)
Learn to choose wisely.