Many times I hear people say that they want to do something great in their lives.
They want to learn the piano, build a business, or invent that thing they’ve been thinking about for years.
While having goals and dreams are great, there is only one thing that matters.
Until you decide to do that thing with every fiber of your being, you won’t even try to do it.
Or you’ll try and always come short.
Decisions Shape Your Life
Think about it.
What decision have you made in the past that changed the course of your life?
Maybe it was to talk to that person that you ended up marrying. Maybe it was that class you decided to take on a whim, that led you to a whole new career path.
Everything you ever accomplished in the past and everything that has happened to you has stemmed from a decision you once made.
Chew on that for a moment…
Your whole life is based on the decisions you made and will make in the future. Imagine how different your life would be if you made a different decision on something big that happened to you in your past.
We’re born doing this. As children, we mastered this without effort. Yet over time, we forgot it somehow.
Nothing stopped you as a child from deciding on something and going to get it. You didn’t have to do some magical chant or secret prayer either. You just went and got what you wanted, because you wanted it bad enough.
Over time, your parents, school, or your environment, even though they meant well, trained you to not be so decisive. You put your decision making on hold and replaced it with fear of decision. Fear of making a mistake and being wrong in your choices.
Luckily, you can still decide, and you can turn it back on right now.
Decide What You Want First
Every day we make decisions to do something or do nothing.
It’s as simple as that.
If you want to learn Chinese, decide you’re going to learn it no matter what and go do it.
If you want to quit your job and work from home so you can spend more time with your kids, it’s only a decision to do something about it.
If you want to build a business you love, it’s only a decision away.
Everything you want in life is only one decision away.
Nothing else is stopping you.
Everything you think is stopping you is either temporary or just made up in your mind.
That may sound simple, but it truly is.
After You Decide
Of course, the decision is only the first step.
I’m not talking about being a magician or doing any wishing stuff here. Once you decide what you want, then you MUST take action towards it.
If you want to learn a new language, nothing will happen if you decide to learn Chinese, yet you never go out and buy a book on learning Mandarin.
What’s great is, once you truly decide you want something, and you sincerely want it,
you will do everything you can to make it happen.
The key here is do you really want to do it?
If you’re not doing the actions necessary, either you don’t really want it or you’re afraid of something like failing, what people might think, or what might happen if you do get it.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but with a little self-reflection you can figure out what’s holding you back and whether you really want to do it.
Decisions lead to action
The decision is the cause, and action is the effect.
As you probably learned in grade school, Newton’s third law states, For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Therefore, you will get feedback after you take action.
Either what you did will work, or it won’t.
This is a good thing.
Some feedback is instant (Pushing the wrong key on a piano in a song) and some feedback takes time (Creating and testing a product idea).
You may need to keep practicing, keep trying, or simply change your approach until it does work.
As Thomas Edison once said,
“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Keep adjusting, stay persistent and eventually, you will get the feedback you want.
Indecision is also a decision. By not deciding to take control of your life, you allow others to do it for you (Your boss, your situations, your government, etc).
When you don’t decide what you want, you’re like a leaf in the wind, going anyway life, circumstances, or people take you. To have what you want, you must decide that you won’t be the leaf in the wind, and instead, you will strap a jetpack on and rocket towards what you want with purpose.
Decide now to live with purpose towards what you want to do in life, take action towards it, and adjust your approach until you do get it.
Breakdown and Reverse Engineer Your Decision
I want you to decide what you want out of life and then go get it.
Only you can decide that. No one else.
Even if you feel stuck, you can move one inch at a time until you get to where you want to be.
The easiest way to do this is to reverse engineer your decision and end goal.
Here’s a simple exercise…
1. Grab a piece of paper or an index card, and write on one side the thing you want most in life.
Don’t limit yourself either, be honest and write down what you truly want.
(Keep it simple, focus on one thing for now. You can always add to it later.)
2. Next, flip it over and on the other side, write down a list of steps you think are needed that you can take to reach that thing you want. Break the big goal down into simple steps in reverse order.
If your goal is to learn Italian, maybe your steps will look like this (from big to small):
- Speak fluent Italian (The big overall goal)
- Book a trip to Italy and immerse yourself in the language
- Speak conversational Italian
- Practice Italian on a forum or chatroom with someone in Italy that wants to learn English once per week.
- Learn 100 words in Italian
- Download the Free DuoLingo app and practice once per day
- Watch a YouTube video about learning Italian
- Learn 1 new word today in Italian
Now do the first thing on that list. Even if it’s as simple as reading a page of that book you’ve been meaning to get to.
Again, keep it simple.
I’ve covered this before in Goal Setting the Zen Way. Reaching a goal or achieving something is simply a series of steps towards that thing. Like climbing to the top of a mountain one step at a time.
Here’s the simple formula again.
1. Decide -> 2. Take Action Steps -> 3. Adjust -> 4. Repeat
If you follow this formula towards a specific goal you will certainly achieve it, no matter what it is.
The first step is to just decide.
One decision may just change your entire life.