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Tips for Successful Decision Making

The Covid-19 stay-at-home lifestyle has had it’s challenges.

I’ve been proactive in areas such as cleaning and organizing, spending time with loved ones and learning to play online Mah Jong. However, I’ve slipped into some comfort- zone patterns of behavior that are not serving me well and it’s those behaviors I’d like to address.

Behaviors are driven by the decisions we make. Decisions determine our successes or failures. There are big decision categories such as: what type of person will I marry, will I develop my spiritual life, what vocation will I pursue and then there are the daily categories such as: will I eat healthy foods, will I exercise, will I foster and develop healthy friendships, will I monitor what goes into my mind, etc.

How we answer these questions will guide our decisions and our decisions will drive our successes or failures.

The DECISION is the seat of power AND the place where Christ awaits to give us strength when we are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9). Utilizing our freedom to choose and make good decisions is the key to living a satisfying life. Are you conscious of the decisions you make on a daily basis? The purpose of making decisions is to drive preferred goals and to secure positive consequences. What are you choosing? Are you accepting ownership of yourself and making conscious decisions to live your best life?

Name a personal target area for growth or behaviors you want to change.

My personal target area for growth is ____________________________________________.

Name two people who are nailing your target area for growth and two people who are failing. What are common action steps in each category? What do people decide to do or not do to succeed or fail?

Bring to the forefront of your mind the decisions you are making to achieve or thwart success. Let the word “decision” crystallize in your mind as the seat of power. Decisions will drive our successes or failures.

The rut I find myself in as a result of the Covid-19 stay-at-home mandate is watching too much TV and eating snacks while watching TV. I eat fairly healthy throughout the day and exercise regularly. In the evening, I give myself permission to eat a treat. TV and treats represents the finish of a busy day and a respite from the pressure to perform, which is not a bad thing. The problem is the amount of time I use to watch TV has increased and so has the amount of treats I consume.

What is your challenge area to change? Do you drink more than you’d like to drink, shop online in excess, spend all of your energy at work so there’s less time for family activities? Have you stopped initiating activities to build friendships, grow your mind, create, serve or mentor others. Do you need to need to learn a new skill, study your bible or clean out your closets? Give it some thought and choose a challenge area for focus.

Begin to observe your thought patterns associated with your challenge. Practice the skill of “going to the balcony” and watching yourself think and act. What rituals do you practice to prepare to act out or avoid the thing that needs to be done? On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself on how much you want to do the “challenge” or the thing you hate.

My rating for wanting to watch as much TV as desired and eat too many treats is an 8. I really want to do this, even though I know the decisions I am making will not drive the end results I want to achieve. The cost of my unsupervised behaviors will cause me to waste time, gain weight and lose sleep. What behaviors could I substitute for 1) watching too much TV and 2) eating unhealthy snacks.

What tools can I put in my toolbox to use the next time I want to “over watch” TV or eat too much? Firstly, I can consider the objective of my acting out. I need and enjoy rest time and I enjoy pleasurable snacks. What are other ways to meet my needs, which will also accomplish my goal to remain healthy?

Three alternative behaviors to watching too much TV:

  1. Turn the TV off and leave the media room at a pre-determined time.

  2. Choose two nights a week to forgo watching TV and work on a creative project instead.

  3. Cultivate a habit of writing in a journal at the end of each day, which requires cutting TV time off at a reasonable hour.

Three alternative behaviors to eating too much in the evening hours:

  1. Plan to drink decaf tea after enjoying a treat. The tea represents a soft finish of treat time.

  2. Allow the discomfort of saying no to overeating. Ask the Lord to make Himself strong on my behalf and use scripture to combat the desire to eat. Recognize that with change comes resistance and in time the neurological wiring in my brain will alter and the uncomfortable urges will dissipate.

  3. Get on the floor and do sit-ups or some form of exercise to distract myself and create new energy.

Filling your toolbox outside the heat of the moment is imperative to achieving success. If you expect to change your decisions when temptation arises, without a pre-determined plan, you will most likely experience the sting of failure, over and over again.

Developing a strategy to adopt in the heat of the moment, when you are triggered or tempted to do the thing you hate, is key to making decisions that will drive success, instead of failure. Some strongholds and addictions require greater support and you should seek outside help. It is wise to seek counsel from professionals or trusted individuals when you feel stuck. We need one another. Never underestimate the power of professional counseling or mentorship.

Here’s to making decisions that will drive you to experience a more healthy lifestyle, which will result in creating a strong sense of well being.

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