Being an adult, we've had the opportunity to learn from our youthful mistakes and make decisions of our choosing, knowing full well that we are responsible for any and all consequences of said decision. Good or bad.
But sometimes we lay the consequences aside and take the path that is the easiest, the one that brings pleasure, or the instant gratification- and hope the consequences don't catch up to us.
Easy choices, hard life.
Hard choices, easy life.
If we just took care of the things as they came at us, or thought before we acted, so much pain would drift past us like a leaf on a stream. Never bothering us, just floating around where we stand.
Why don't we do this? When do we reach the "adult" stage of making responsible decisions?
Why do we choose to do business with those who have a poor reputation and are surprised when we have been ripped off or the work is sub par. But he was the cheapest or simplest route. Or the best salesman?
Why do we choose to enter into or stay in relationships even though we, ourselves have seen the red flags of warning?
It's just easier to stay than to have to deal with hurt or angry feelings.
Why do we "cheat" on our diet even though we know it sets us back from our goal and we will feel even worse...
It's just one piece...
We choose to have unprotected sex knowing that there is always a chance to create a new life. An eighteen year commitment...
but it just feels right in the moment.
One of our basic human instincts is to avoid pain. Not realizing that our "easy" or "convenient" choices will lead to additional pain in the future.
The number one obstacle to success is fear. More specifically, fear of pain.
Fear comes at us in many different forms and we respond accordingly.
But what if we were brave? What if we were fierce?
Okay, fine, what if we just used common sense? Can you imagine how different your life would be?
What if you faced that impending report for school, or manuscript, or project you've been putting off. Soon it would be done and oh, how the accolades would flow!!
What if you made those important phone calls and researched quality repair shops and made a solid decision. The work would be done and you could rest easy knowing that it is completed the right way. It might cost a bit more, but that feeling of satisfaction and confidence? Priceless!
And what if you worked a little bit, every day on that goal, that dream, that project... you would eventually get there. One extra sit-up. Three extra dollars. One less serving. A lot faster than not working on it for days or months at a time, don't you think?
So why don't we?
Are we so weak minded that we don't even want to try? I can't think of any other answer than... yes.
Do we just lack motivation? Yes.
Do we fear "imagined pain" so much, that we don't stop to think of the benefits of just getting it done? Yes.
Or are we so lazy that being forced to face the consequences is just "better" so we don't have to take responsibility... just yet? Yes.
How can we fix this?
Here's a couple things that I've come up with that have helped me. (And by the way, I am just as guilty as the rest. At least half of those examples above were mine.)
1. What's the worst that can happen?
Go ahead. Let your thoughts go down the rabbit hole. What's the worst that can happen if I pick up the phone and get that quote, make that doctor's appointment, cancel that membership. What's the worst that could happen if I "just say no" to unprotected sex, that extra serving of cake, to watching six more episodes on Grey's Anatomy on a school/work night.
2. Now, think, what's the worst that can happen if you DON'T face the issue head on.
If I don't get the car fixed, it will eventually....
If I don't get this tooth looked at...
If I continue to eat this way...
If I don't stand up for myself, who will?
If I keep allowing myself to be treated this way...
If I keep showing up late for work...
If I don't pay my bills on time...
3. Then ask, what's the NEXT thing I can do.
A lot of times fear comes because the task at hand can be overwhelming. The solution here is to break it down to smaller steps. What's the next step? And soon, you'll be on to the next step and the next. Eventually, if you don't stop, you will reach your goal, no matter what it is. It's almost impossible not to.
4. Don't rely on passion.
Passion is fleeting. You can be all excited about starting out the new year with your new goals and have the best of intentions because things feel so good... but that first day, when you're "Just not feeling' it", it all starts to crumble.
I wish I could tell you that this is where motivation or will power will kick in. Sometimes it does... sometimes it is no where to be found. This is when you just have to do it. Some of it, any of it. Just do it. On days when the mood does not move me to write, I make myself write twenty-five words. They may be the worst words ever and I may end up deleting them, but it creates a habit. A foundation. Something that I will just eventually... do. I wasted three months this past year, because I just wasn't in the mood to write. (Because of OTHER choices I made thinking it was the easy route that came around to bite me in the behind!) But now I am pushing forward. Doing the right thing. I fear the "pain" of not doing it more, now that putting it off for another day. So that brings me to:
5. Before you make a decision, just take a moment to think on it. Go through these steps and think about the consequences. Both short term and long term. You want to be able to trust yourself. And by taking responsibility of your decisions is the best place to start.
Make the hard choices now, to enjoy an easier life later.
Put that money into savings. Pay down your credit cards. Read the fine print. Get to know each other better before you commit. Research your choice of pet. Research your home, car, location, job, dentist, babysitter, doctor, vacation destination....
The only way to not have to make choices is to give up your freedom. Give up your choices to someone else (don't worry, there is always someone who is willing to make choices FOR you.) But is that really the life you want? You'll end up just drifting along going where the tide takes you. It's time to grab ahold of the oars. Face the hard choices. Face the easy choices. Think through the consequences of your life.
The more choices you make and follow through with on your life the easier it will become. Trust me, sometimes you'll still get some tough ones thrown at you and you'll want to just run and hide, but you are so much better, stronger... more fierce than that!
Share your success stories!! I want to know how you are succeeding!