Every day we make thousands of decisions. Not just big decisions like what business to start or what to do in a relationship; we also make small decisions, like what to eat for lunch, what to do after dinner and whether or not to go to the gym.
Where you are in life is the result of the millions of decisions you’ve made up until this point. There’s no sense in focusing on that — good or bad. The great news is that where you are in five years will be the result of the decisions you make today.
If you believe your life can be better than it is today; that you can be a better person who accomplishes more, contributes more, has more money, more time or better relationships, then make the decisions that will get you there.
Here’s a simple way to make decisions that will get you to where you want to be.
1. Decide who you want to be
Decide how you want others to perceive you. What do you want them to say about you? How do you want to spend your time? What do you want to have, do, see, experience, or improve?
Think really hard about this and write a few paragraphs about who you want to be in the future. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the details; you’ll figure it out as you go along. For now, just write out a vision for your future that’s bigger and better than it is today.
2. Make the decisions that “future you” would make
Now that you know who you want to be in the future, think about what decision “future you” would make in a given situation. What would that person do right now? Would he go to the gym, or get fast food? Would he settle for the mediocre job, or pursue his dream business?
You know the answer.
You’re not going to get it right all the time. But if you understand the person you want to be and the decisions he would make, you basically have the blueprint for becoming that person.
Remember, the decisions you made up until now lead you to where you are now. The decisions you make now will lead you to your future.
3. Make the decisions
It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always work, but if you consistently make the decisions that your best self would make, you will have something way better than results: integrity.
We all strive to be honest and do the right thing for others, but when it comes to ourselves, we are too often out of integrity. If you make the decisions that you know your best self would make, you can lay your head on the pillow each night knowing that you did your best.
This simple process works just as well for big life decisions as it does for all the seemingly pointless decisions we make every day. The big decisions are important, but remember how the little decisions stack up. Smoking a cigarette after you read this won’t have much affect, but doing it every day certainly will.
Flopping down on the sofa after dinner and watching TV won’t make a difference today or tomorrow, but after six months, it’s a whole lot of time wasted.
Make this a habit. Before you do anything at all, think about what decision your best self would make in this situation.
Do it all the time.
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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post
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