If you know how to make a decision, then you are most of the way to a healthy lifestyle. Do you want to improve your life? Then you need to get started with a decision.
Over the last few years the demand for ‘self help’ books and literature has exploded, the ‘self help’ or the “popular psychology” market as it’s sometimes called, is a multi million dollar industry. It would seem the demand for self improvement and the desire to achieve our dreams is insatiable.
I’ve read a lot of these books and to give credit where it’s due, some have been very good. In some cases I’ve taken the information on board and made some changes that have improved my life.
On the whole most of the information is good and relevant; however the real key to any sort of success can all be summed up in one word. How can that be you ask? If it’s that simple why are bookshelves crammed with books full of information crucial to our health, wealth and happiness?
Millions of words offering us the key, the secret or the answer to get whatever we want in life, and now I say you can achieve all that and it only takes one word!
How did I discover this word? Well I didn’t actually discover it because to discover something you need to be actively looking for it in the first place. Lets say I came to the realization of the importance of this word when actually applied. It was a bit of a eureka moment. I was stunned by the simplicity of it.
Now this isn’t to say you should throw away all the books, stop going to seminars or give up looking for ways to improve yourself. In fact, once you understand the true meaning of this one word, any literature you already have can only be enhanced by the implications of this single word.
So what is this word?
Well it is “Decision”
Think about this. All human beings have many things in common and one of these things is how to make a decision, this makes the word very powerful.
Robots can do a lot of things but they can’t make decisions based on rational thought. The ability to make a decision is truly a God given gift; most people just don’t realize it. Ah, I hear you say, ‘anyone can make a decision’ what’s the big deal?
Its simple, you make a decision about everything you do or even what your don’t do. A lot of the time it’s subconscious, this is because much of what you do is repetition.
Most days you don’t think about getting up for work, you do it because of habit. However at the weekend if you don’t need to get up you may decide to stay in bed.
Knowing the word is fine, but do you know how to make a decision?
How to Make a Decision.
- First gather all the information you can to make the decision. Look at all the consequences of taking the decision, both long term and short term. Are there any other possibilities?
- Now divide a page into as many columns as you have choices.
- Next put in each column the advantages for each choice.
- Now put in the disadvantages.
- Total up in each column the number of advantages and take away the disadvantages. Write this number at the bottom of the column. (it could well be a negative )
- The column with the highest score is your choice.
if you know how to make a decision, then the decisions you make will determine who you are and where you are in life.
I’m not sure who wrote it, but the saying ‘You are where you are today because of decisions you have made’ is so true.
Most people don’t like that particular quote because it implies that you are responsible for where you are right now.
A lot of people who aren’t happy with their lot have generally got a list of pretty good excuses for why they are in their present situation.
If you aren’t happy with your life right now, you know how to make a decision, go ahead and start making some serious changes. All those self help books and good intentions are absolutely meaningless if you don’t know how to make a decision to do something.
In my article ‘Quit bad Habits’ I spoke about people overcoming their weight problems due to the trigger effect. The trigger is the reason they make a decision to lose weight, quite often it’s a chance remark or something trivial which becomes significant.
In most cases telling an obese person they will die if they don’t lose weight or a smoker they will get lung cancer will make no difference; however if something triggers their desire to change, they know how to make the decision and they will act on it.
Knowing how to making a decision is only the process. It is rarely easy, especially when the choices aren’t very good but doing this will help you to take control. Making a decision isn’t like making a wish that changes everything in an instant, life unfortunately isn’t that easy.
In another article ‘Goal Setting’ I explained how to decide what you want and how to achieve it, and guess what, it all comes down to making decisions.
Don’t let the fear of making a wrong choice hold you back, we all make mistakes but practice makes perfect. Become more aware of decisions you do make and take more notice of the outcomes.
How to make a decision when it’s an important one to make, is to be sure that you have all of the facts, take your time so you give yourself the best chance of getting it right.
Successful people are good at making decisions and they need to be because competition in all areas of life is fierce. People who know how to make decisions and follow through on them have a better chance of achieving their goals and ambitions.
Don’t be tempted to make ‘gut’ decisions unless you have the experience to back it up. In some cases the signs may be pretty obvious and intuition may help, however people who make those sort of decisions have often had years of experience and have confidence in their abilities.
Avoid trying to make decisions under stress, don’t allow yourself to be pressured by others, well meaning or otherwise. Take advice and get the facts but make sure the decision sits right with you. Also be sure to clarify the consequences of your decisions, know that if things go awry that you are able to accept it and move on; or you have a plan B.
Over the years we have used the plan A and plan B approach when making major decisions, sometimes we’ve had plan C and plan D when things get really difficult! Quite often this works well because you explore other ideas and options which sometimes turn out to be so exciting they become plan A.
If you are not happy with where you are right now, you know how to make a decision to do some things differently. Pull out all those self help books and start again now you know the importance of how to make a decision.
Once you start you will never stop, just one word, it will change your life.