“Indecision is the greatest thief of opportunity.” – Jim Rohn
The Law of Diminishing Intent says the time to act is when the idea is hot, and our emotions are intense. Indecision means what could be is postponed or may never be. Indecision means putting off what we could do, what we should do. Indecision means the opportunity waits. Indecision means the door remains closed. The longer we delay, the less likely we are to act. Our desire quickly erodes and fades from existence. The wisdom is wasted, and the idea is soon forgotten.
It is moments of clarity that change our life. Times when we say, “never again, I’ve had enough, I cannot live like this anymore.” When the pain of our situation forces us to stop engaging in self-destructive behavior. A decision not married to action is merely a wish. True decisions change our behavior.
Change is easy when you finally realize that continuing along the same path you’ve been on will only cause you misery. It’s easy to break bad habits when you equate more pain than pleasure with doing them. Developing good habits is easier when you focus on keeping your commitment small and being consistent. If you aren’t consistent, then it’s not a habit, and habits are the only behaviors capable of transforming your life. They shape who you are and who you’ll become, not your goals. Everyone has goals. What separates us is our habits.
After you decide what you want and what you’ll do to achieve it, put yourself in situations that will force you to act. Decisions are easy to make when you don’t have any alternative. A military unit is decisively engaged when it has only two options: stand and fight or perish. When faced with a “do or die” situation, we tend to do. The only way to conquer our fears is by confronting them. Overcoming fear, laziness, and procrastination is simple, but it isn’t easy. We all experience these emotions, but success requires us to act despite how we feel.
“Do the things you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” Tom Hopkins.
If you have a hard time getting up to work out, you could sign-up for an early morning fitness boot camp. Your registration fee and your commitment to others might be the little extra push you need to get up and work out each day. You could also shape your environment by having your workout clothes ready and putting your alarm clock out of reach, so you aren’t as tempted to hit the snooze.
Find ways to become accountable to others. Making commitments to others is an excellent strategy for getting out of your comfort zone. Most of us are used to breaking promises to ourselves. We are less willing to disappoint others. Tell people about your goals. Schedule a weekly check-in with an accountability partner. You could offer to help them track their progress toward a goal as well, so you can both benefit from the power of external accountability. We all do better when we know we will have to report on our progress to someone. Willpower isn’t as effective as shaping our environment to force us to take positive action.
Indecision robs us of any chance of improving our lives. Hesitation allows the spark of inspiration to die without fueling action, and it magnifies our fears in a cognitive bias, called the spotlight effect. This survival mechanism was designed to stop us from doing anything dangerous. After a few seconds, a mental red flag is raised, and we become paralyzed. If we don’t get out of our heads, fear will immobilize us. The opportunity for life change will be lost. It’s the reason so many people spend years trapped in situations they could have changed, should have changed, but they allowed fear to paralyze them.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Chinese proverb.
We all have a choice. We can live our fears or live our dreams. Growth often demands us to do something we have never done before. Stretching for next-level ability usually means we will fail. No one likes to fail, but successful people realize it is part of the process of getting better. We will all experience failures; the key is to grow through them, not merely go through them.
Small incremental improvements are the product of disciplined routines. Progress is always intentional. Ordinary people want to get through their day, but achievers wish to get something from their day; new skills, abilities, information, inspiration, and opportunities. A long-view perspective helps us to make better decisions. Ask yourself, “How will my life changed in the next five years if I don’t start taking steps today to get better?” The answer is it won’t. For things to get better, we must get better.
Indecision allows the seeds of our inspiration to die without being nurtured. We don’t reap a harvest because we want one or we need one. We reap a harvest only if we deserve it. When we push ourselves and kill procrastination, that is when we propel our lives forward.
Hesitation is the resistance we must push through. If the idea stays in your head, it will die there. Get out of your head – throw yourself into action. Do SOMETHING; ANYTHING to generate momentum. Hesitation is the resistance that keeps people trapped in dysfunctional relationships, stops them from finding a better job, and keeps them trapped in a body they aren’t proud of. Our most potent weapon against hesitation is action. Desire is the force that is necessary to initiate movement. Desire’s only purpose is to force us to move. Desire not followed by action is worthless. Follow your decision with immediate and decisive action. Decide, commit, resolve, and act.