So, what the heck’s going on here?
Last night you vowed that today would be different.
You decided that you were going to have focus, discipline, and stick to your schedule exactly as you’d planned it.
And yet… another day, just like yesterday, has come and gone. And nothing changed.
You have the best intentions.
Your plans and goals and schedule are all written down. You know what you’d like to happen, and occasionally, you do get in a couple of good days.
Then some shiny, new object distracts you. Or someone else needs your time. Or you simply slide into old patterns of procrastination and delay.
Soon enough, you forget all about your idea to make your days count for something meaningful.
It’s so frustrating.
It feels like you can’t get it together. Like you’re a victim of circumstance. A loser completely unable to cobble together any kind of drive or purpose.
Maybe the little devil voice is right — you just don’t have what it takes to be successful.
Well, whoa-up there!
Don’t toss in the towel yet. Your problems aren’t due to any permanent personal shortcomings.
The real reason you’re missing your mark is because you haven’t made a decision yet.
You might think you’ve decided. But if it’s not compelling you to push through bad habits and hard times, it was probably wishful thinking.
To make permanent, meaningful change, we need a come-hell-or-high-water decision. Because a bold decision, one you truly commit to, has “genius, power, and magic in it.”
It might not move mountains, but it will give you the power to scale, tunnel through, or blast them to bits.
So, it’s not time to quit yet — it’s time to tap into the power of a bold decision!
Learn the language of inklings, whispers, and quantum hints
“Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
When the glimmer of an idea comes calling, it’s looking to catch your attention.
But its language might be unfamiliar, and you have to pay attention in order to hear it.
It might show up as an inkling from a recent book or song. Or a whispered nudge when your mind is still.
It’s a glimpse into your future self. A quantum hint, telling you that this future vision is possible and probable. And once you’ve seen it, you’ve shifted your subatomic world from wavefunction into localized particles.
Now, you have to supply the building blocks of electrical charge, mass, and momentum. All of which come from making a powerful decision.
In my early sobriety, there was considerable wreckage for me to clear up. Being the only common denominator in all my problems, it was clear who was responsible, and what had to change.
I had a vision of who I wanted to be, but it seemed a million miles away.
Over time, I learned how to make effective, long-lasting personal change. And it all started by making decisions that I could stick to. Ones that built confidence and consistently brought the desired results.
This decision-bolstering process has become part of my personal and professional problem-solving repertoire. It produces reliable, measurable results and works with any type of goal.
Try it out — it’ll help make killer decisions that stick for you too.
Decide once, then make it stick
“The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen.” A Course In Miracles
A decision is a singular process. It’s a one-time judgement made after weighing the pros and cons of a situation.
But to make that decision stick, it needs constant support. Support that comes from the many daily choices we make.
Because anytime we attempt something new, the call of the old constantly tries to pull us back. Familiar routines and habits can be remarkably loud and persistent.
Naturally, this produces feelings of conflict that often thwart our intentions.
However, we can reduce conflict and make supportive choices. We just need a little clarification first.
Before making any choice, pause to ask yourself “What’s it for?” Why are you making this choice?
What’s the purpose behind it? What results will it bring? Will it move you closer to your goal, or farther away?
This little phrase quickly turns off autopilot thought processes. And most importantly, it shines a bright light of clarity on our true motivation.
Clarity exposes the ruts of old patterns and how we self-sabotage to stay in familiar routines. It reveals our excuses, and how we rationalize poor choices.
And once you’ve determined the purpose, it’s much easier to make a better choice.
For example. “Will eating this jumbo bag of ripple chips move me closer to my goal of perfect health and a beach babe body?” No? Then choose again.
Initially, the practice of constantly choosing can be tiresome and challenging.
But by applying the lens of clarity, your choices are always on purpose. And in a short time, you’ll develop a powerful rhythm that gives your decision momentum.
Soon enough, your efforts begin to compound. Once you start to enjoy positive results, choice-making becomes a fast and simple process.
Ante up or leave the table
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.” William H. Murray
In the early 90s, goal setting theorists Drs. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham established commitment as one of the principles needed for successful goals.
But it’s not just what you commit to, how you commit is equally important.
Because, commitment isn’t a passive process. And without it, we’ll procrastinate and lack the necessary drive to follow through.
Commitment requires that we set our goals as a top priority.
To do that, we need to find an overflow of compelling reasons that make our goal of the utmost importance. Ones that are so loaded with value, you’re willing to think, feel, and act differently.
The more reasons you have, the greater your motivation. And the easier it is to push through resistance.
To ante up your commitment, leverage your emotions with the twin forces of push and pull motivation.
Push motivation uses painful emotions to create a sense of urgency and compel us to move away from the pain.
Through imagining the worst-case scenario, you emphasize and heighten uncomfortable emotions. Which creates a desire for change.
But don’t wallow in the pain, you don’t want it to immobilize you. Use it as a reality check to light a fire under your butt and move forward.
Pull motivation uses pleasure to pull you toward the outcomes you desire.
It taps into a mindset of achievement and the higher emotions of confidence, courage, and success.
By imagining the best-case scenario, you can experience how great you’ll feel once your goal is realized. This builds positive emotions and instills a sense of eagerness and excitement.
On paper, jot down all your reasons to commit and keep it simple. Use bullet points in a journal or create a mind map.
Personally, I like a mind map. Doodling and drawing helps to activate the spatial-oriented right side of the brain. And that helps to quiet the doomsday judgements of my inner critic. But both work.
Commitment builds mass for your decision.
Keep it strong and engaged by daily reviewing your goals and compelling reasons. Use them first thing when you arise, the last thing before sleep, and throughout the day.
Dive into the deep end
“The self expands through acts of self-forgetfulness.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Okay, your decision now has momentum and mass.
Now it’s time to dive into the deep end and spark it into life with the electrical charge of a peak state.
Why? Because a peak state has an immediate, positive influence on our thoughts, emotions, focus, and physiology.
It’s a super-charged visualization. Your personal hero’s journey that creates an attractor field and puts you in the driver’s seat of your life. And the fastest way to reach a peak state is with physical activity.
Exercise quickly releases a host of feel-good hormones, like norepinephrine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters elevate moods naturally, making it much easier to use your imagination to become who you need to be.
So, put your sneakers on and start moving. Dance, exercise, power walk, bike…anything to get your heart pumping and blood flowing. It doesn’t take much; 10 to 20 minutes will do.
Once you’re huffed, bring to mind your intentions and goals. Let your vision expand, focusing on successful outcomes, not today’s challenges.
Build your vision with a powerful, present tense narrative. Tell your your story of achievement with gusto. Use juiced-up affirmations and evocative descriptions to broadcast a new signal to every cell in your being.
Be bold. And deliberately elevate your emotions until you resonate with your ideal state.
When you make a peak state part of your morning routine, you set a positive tone that feels great all day long and fuels your intentions.
And this supplies the strength, focus, and discipline needed for massive action.
Compound the power of action
“I should have said ‘Follow your blisters.’” Joseph Campbell
Following your bliss is all well and good.
But as Professor Campbell later stated, hard work is often necessary to negotiate the rough path that leads to bliss.
And hard work means action — plenty of action on as many fronts as possible.
Because the more action you take, the greater your probability of success. And the quicker it will come.
But action doesn’t mean only work. It’s anything that can contribute to a successful outcome. It can be:
· Written goals, plans, and schedule
· Research as needed
· Correspondence as required
· Sign up for classes
· Buy any specialized equipment or supplies
· Establish relevant morning and evening routines
Massive action satisfies three important principles.
1. Consistent action builds confidence.
Steady action builds confidence, and with confidence, we begin to amass evidence of our ability to cope.
Our problems appear smaller and easier to manage.
2. Massive action compounds over time.
It takes a long time to become an overnight success.
The more action you take, the closer you get to the tipping point – the wondrous point on the fulcrum where fortunes change.
3. It signals your subconscious that your values have changed.
Your subconscious is a master of homeostasis. It takes all that you think, feel, and do and fits it neatly into a pattern consistent with your current identity.
Breaking the pattern tells your subconscious that something new has taken high priority.
It’s a signal that change is welcome, and resets our perceptual filters, making room for our new values. And even more action, which increases the probability of your decision coming to fruition.
Get ready for the ride of your life
You can try and resist the call of your future self and ignore your hero’s journey.
But it will make you miserable. It’ll always be there in the back of your mind, whispering about what could have been.
It’s much more fun and profitable and graceful to embrace it, and enjoy the ride.
Let it lead you down the path of purpose. Let it open doors and thrill you with achievement and confidence.
Go on, you know how. It’s only the first step that’s scary, and it’s time to make your mark.
You know how to make purpose-driven choices that support your decision.
You’ve learned to leverage your emotions for rock-solid commitment.
And you know how to step into the future with a peak state.
Now, buckle up and make that bold decision so you can look back and say, “today counted for something important.”