American coach, Tony Robbins, once said: “It’s the decisions we make that shape our destiny”.
Have you ever wondered why it can be so difficult to make a change? We over-analyse everything or dread the prospect of making a mistake. What if it turns out worse than it already is? Sometimes there is no return from a decision, this much is true.
If you think about it, your entire life has been designed by all the decisions you have taken to date: everything from who your friends are, what you studied in school or university, what jobs you applied for or what business you set up, the partner you chose, whether you have kids or not, where you live, what you eat, what clothes you buy, what car you drive, who you hang out with and all the way down to what you do with your spare time.
Our day to day life is a result of all the small and big decisions we have taken. Some of them we are proud of, and others we regret. But it’s the decisions we don’t make when we have the chance which we end up regretting the most.
We should have made a change, but fear got the better of us and now we’re stuck in the same old situation. We never know what would have happened had we tried something different, and we live to regret the decisions we failed to make.
Usually, when we start getting a gut feeling that it’s time for a change, we should listen to it. Our intuition is a very clever tool created by the brain gathering and processing many facts, much of which is happening outside our awareness. These facts, formed into patterns, are then sent into high brain processing areas and compared to past experiences.
When you get that gut feeling, you are benefitting from intuition – a pattern match. You know something without knowing how you know it. We should use this powerful tool more often.
So what can we do if the decision is tough and can impact our entire life?
All important decisions should be made on paper. It’s overwhelming trying to think of all the aspects and consequences in your head. When making your decision, it’s important to be in a calm and relaxed state. If you feel angry or frustrated, your decision might be biased – especially if there are other people involved. Try to calm down: go for a walk, meditate, run, switch off from technology or whatever works for you.
When you feel calm, write down all the pros and cons of both staying as you are and making a change. It’s very useful to weigh up the different factors because even though some of the consequences are not really that important, in our head they can seem huge. So prioritise them well: get advice from someone who is wise on the matter, not from someone who also struggles in this aspect of life.
After going through all the pros and cons, if you see that it’s better to make a change, you need to paint a compelling picture of the future in your mind. Try to visualise what your life would be like after you make the change. Make it as attractive as possible so you are drawn to it. You know you will make it work. Imagine what the future will be like in five or 10 years’ time if you make that decision now: how great you’ll feel, who you’ll inspire.
Then visualise what it will be like if you don’t make that change. Imagine the pain and frustration of being stuck where you are; the regrets you’ll have in years to come.
After this simple visualisation exercise, write down what actions you need to take. Think about the goal and what you want to achieve. Be drawn to it. Store up the energy and drive you’ll need to execute your plan; after all, where focus goes, energy flows.
Remember: there is no failure in being decisive. The only failure is failing to decide and putting off something you know you need to do. Don’t try to be perfect, and don’t wait for absolute certainty because in most cases you will never be 100% sure you are making the right choice.
The hardest part about achieving your goal is making the decision to do so. After that, it’s easy. It’s being on the fence that makes you feel frustrated and unhappy.
Challenge yourself and let go of that fear today. Make the decision you’ve been putting off for ages. Why do it? Because you can really improve the quality of your life by doing so.
- Written by Anna Bastek: multi-award winning entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, owner of Wolfestone, VoiceBox and Robertson Languages International, Welsh Government Dynamo Role Model, Ironman triathlete, traveller.