Everything that’s happened in your life, both the good and the bad, came to be because of the power of decisions.

The decisions you’re making every day of your life will determine how you feel today and who you are tomorrow.

We all have decisions that we can look back on and either be thrilled that we made, or wonder, “What was I thinking?”  There are decisions you could have made that would have made your life completely different than it is today.

You could have changed careers or failed to change careers. You could have moved, gotten married, had kids, or purchased a home. Maybe you decided to start a business or start exercising. Perhaps you decided to start or stop drinking or smoking.

Think about how your decisions have impacted your life.

How to make harness the power of decisions (and make the right ones)

Picture the challenges in your personal life. Whether it’s overeating, drinking, smoking, drugs, or spending problems—they all come from one thing: short-term focus.

Success doesn’t just happen. Success comes from the small, daily decisions in which you choose to hold yourself to a higher standard and take control instead of having the environment take control of you.

The minute you make a decision, you’ve set your life in a new direction. You literally have the power to change in an instant if you decide to.

So how do you make your decisions work for you?

1. Get Clear on What You Want

You may think, “I think I can achieve my dream, but I don’t know how.”

That is fear talking. The fear that you don’t know exactly how to make it happen. The fear that you haven’t researched every possible outcome and planned for every possible scenario.

If you listen to this fear, you’ll never end up deciding on anything. You’ll never start.

What most people don’t realize is that you don’t need to plan out every possible detail to change your life. Don’t waste too much time analyzing and deliberating. If you’re clear on your values, you’ll be able to decide quickly and change your mind very rarely, if at all.

Compare that to people that are usually unsuccessful; they take forever to make decisions and change their minds quickly.

2. Commit to what you want

There’s a difference in being curious about something and being committed to it. How many times do we hear people say, “I’d like to have a new car,” or “I’d like to make more money,” or “I’d like to follow my dreams?”

To achieve, you must commit. Merely stating goals you’d like to accomplish isn’t the same as committing to them.

You can change your life as soon as you’ve decided to fully commit to change, as soon as you stop taking no for an answer, and as soon as you stop accepting any other outcome. When you get off the fence and commit to a decision, you’ll feel an enormous amount of relief.

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3. Make decisions often

Repetition is the mother of skill. To make better decisions, we simply have to make more of them.

If you want to truly harness the power of decisions, learn from them, and keep what works.

Making the right decision is like any other skill you’ve learned; the more you do it, the better you get. When you get better at making decisions, you’ll look forward to making them, embrace them, and will see them as a way to take your life to the next level.

The more decisions you make, the better and more comfortable you get making them.

4. Raise Your standards

To make progress, you must decide not only what results you’re committed to achieving, but also who you’re committing to becoming.

Your personal standards determine what type of behavior you think is acceptable for both yourself and those around you.

Establishing minimum standards for what you’ll accept in your life prevents you from falling back into your old limiting ways.

You must raise your standards and stick to them — no matter what hardships and tragedies arise.

When the inevitable happens, and you make the wrong decision, don’t beat yourself up. Just ask yourself, “What’s positive about this? What can I learn from this? How can I turn this around?”

Sometimes failure may be precisely what you need to make better decisions in the future.

Don’t focus on the short-term. Find the lessons to be learned.

5. Stay committed, but stay flexible

The moment you make a true decision to lose weight, that’s it. You will. Your perception of everything changes. Food becomes fuel, and exercise becomes a must.

This kind of clarity is essential. Clarity gives you the power to produce what you really want in life. Most of us are stretched so thin these days that we never really make committed decisions anymore. We’ve forgotten what it feels like to make a true decision.

If weight loss is your goal, then the end is what you’re after, not the means. Don’t lock yourself into an unbending routine in which you feel like you’re slacking if you don’t follow it completely. Chances are you designed this routine after a well-rested weekend anyway.

You’re making things much harder on yourself if you close your mind off to alternate routes.

6. Have fun making decisions

Decisions can be a source of both relentless problems and incredible happiness. Decisions can be a source of both fantastic opportunities and shocking disappointment.

Look forward to making decisions because, at any moment, you can make one that’ll change your life forever.

The next book you read, website you visit, movie you watch, song your listen to, or person you stand next to at the checkout line could be the event that causes something to click.

Getting started

Harness the power of decisions by deciding on something you’ve been putting off. Often just deciding on something relieves a lot of stress. You’ll be surprised at how energized you feel.

Decide to learn a new skill, treat people different, make the call you’ve been avoiding, pursue an education, or change careers.

Will today be the day you decide your finished holding yourself back? Will today be the day you choose to put your life on a path consistent with your dreams?

Ask yourself these questions:

Who am I?
What do I want out of life?
What am I going to do?
Is there anything I’ll let stop me?got-decisions-finerminds
What could I do with my life if I was certain I couldn’t fail?

Your decisions can change your relationships, your career, your physical state, and your emotional state.

It can determine whether you’re just reacting to your environment or taking control. Whether you’re excited or miserable. Or whether you feel free or enslaved.

The greatest thing about the power of decisions is that you already have the ability to use it. It isn’t only for a select few. It’s available to you as soon as you summon the courage to use it.

Bob Dempsey

Bob Dempsey writes and speaks on authentic happiness, life satisfaction, meaning, and fulfillment. He’s a full-time working professional, a member of Toastmasters International, and a student. With 10 years’ experience as a youth counselor, he’s now pursuing an MA in Clinical Psychology. When he’s not reading and researching, he’s enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery of Florida with his girlfriend Candace and her son Clayton. You can find him at BobDempsey.org.