Today is January 1st, 2023. The beginning of the year is always an exciting time. We get to reflect on the previous 12 months and relive the highlights as well as review our mistakes. Also we get to spend time mapping out the next upcoming year; our goals and projections. Continue taking incremental steps in the right direction, following the path that we embarked earlier despite whatever step backs we may have faced. New Year, New Me is the saying that many like to use when they know they have made a decision to make a change in their lives. However, I disagree with that. For me it is New Year, Same Me. Prior to my self-surrender into federal custody, I made a conscious decision of how I was going to spend this next stage of my life bettering myself in every way shape and form. I defined success as the way I saw it. I set goals that stretched from one year, to five, ten and beyond. And every day I keep myself on track by making sure I continue to progress forward, never looking backwards, and rewarding myself along the way as I hit each and every milestone. Making changes, especially in the face of adversity is never an easy feat, but making the decision to make that change is the first, and in my opinion the most important step, that can change the entire course of your life in a positive manner.
If you re-read that paragraph you will notice I said conscious decision. Our brains are programmed to make decisions for us every day. Some we do not have to think about. When was the last time you thought about hitting the gas pedal in your car to get it to move forward after seeing a green light? Or when was the last time you had to think about how to wash your hands after using the bathroom? Granted there was a time and place where we had to be trained on how to perform these actions, but once ingrained our unconscious takes over and the process becomes automatic. However making conscious decisions is a different animal. It requires reflecting on past experiences, some good some bad, reviewing those outcomes, and taking action to reach a conclusion based on what you think will be best for your future and goals.
Decision making is one of the most powerful mental abilities that we have. It allows you to get past any excuse that you may have built up and in an instant change any and every part of your life. Think about it. If you are having problems back home with your significant other, you can make a decision to go to therapy immediately. If you are feeling that you are not getting the recognition that you deserve at work, you can make a decision to hire a recruiter to find you a new job. If you feel overweight and do not like what you see in the mirror, you can make the decision to hire a personal trainer and remove yourself from the rut you are in. Decisions allow you to manager your emotional states and can determine whether you are happy, sad, frustrated or excited. We are constantly making decisions every day, and while being fully under our control, they are the deciding factors in our life and shape what direction tomorrow will go.
So here I would like to outline some of my tips on making good sound decisions that I hope will help you reach all of your goals in 2023:
1) Set a goal and write it down – Setting a goal is a decision in itself and is by far the best strategy you can use to set yourself up for the long term. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be long term. It can be a goal of what you want to complete in the next 60 minutes today. And when you make the decision on what it is you want to accomplish or achieve, write it down. The process of writing down and keeping track of your goal makes your goals much more realistic and significantly increases the odds of you following through and accomplishing what you have set out for yourself. A man without a goal is just a lame duck. And what do lame ducks get done? Nothing.
2) Stay committed – You’ve decided what path you are going to embark on so stay committed to that path. If you want to lose weight and you decided to cut sugar out of your diet, don’t allow the mentality of “its just one” to creep in when you see the cookies on the counter. Don’t waiver back and forth between the decision you make. Stick to your guns and follow it all the way through. You will thank yourself at the end.
3) Don’t be afraid of failure – Most successful entrepreneurs have more failures then successes. It’s generally their success that far outshines the failures and it’s those successes they are celebrated for. It is inevitable that you will make the wrong decision. That is just how life goes. What is important is that you take the time to reflect on how and why the decision was wrong and learn from that. Always be evolving. Remember that success comes from good decision making. Good decision making comes from experience. And experience comes from making the wrong decisions.
4) Make decisions often – The more decisions you make the more confident you will become in the process of making them. You may be working in a position that has potential for room to grow, however your boss has not had the chance yet to see your capabilities. Start to show that skill by making more and more decisions. Your confidence will grow as time progresses and so will the speed of your decision making ability, allowing you to move up the chain of command.
5) Take action – Making the decision is one thing, but taking immediate action puts the motion into place. Many times I hear people say they want to wait until the start of the year or next week to begin acting upon their resolution. I disagree with this. Start now! There is not better time then the present and the more time you allow between the decision and taking action just increases your odds for failure.
6) Celebrate the small wins – Award yourself for when you succeed. The act of making a decision is a powerful process and allows you to make a change in an instant. When that decision has a profound effect, take the time out to celebrate the fact that you had the foresight to take action and your act made a positive change. After all what is life without getting to enjoy the good times?