The Bookie is in town. He arrived fired up and ready to kick my ass. He had no intention of helping me make better decisions when I woke up this morning.
And it was raining.
I worked out yesterday afternoon and woke up sore.
I was bloated and cranky from the wonders of womanhood.
My couch was comfortable and the coffee was warm.
Apart from breaking a literal leg, there was absolutely no reason to go for a run. But I got up and went anyway because, goals.
When I got to the track, I realized I didn’t have my phone. That meant I’d have to run without music and as you learned in 5 Products to Amp Up Your Workout, I’d rather die than run without music.
I sighed and thought seriously about getting back in the car and going home. But again, goals.
Let Your Goals Drive
When we let our goals drive, they’ll take us where we want to go. We’ll be able to make better decisions. There will always be a pile of excuses for skipping that workout or spending money or scrolling through Facebook instead of taking care of business.
The distractions are not going anywhere. If anything, they’re getting more and more prevalent in our lives. When excuses drive this train, it never leaves the station. But if you want to make better decisions, you’ll let your goals drive and you’ll get to where you want to go.
So, the next time you’re in bed, debating whether to rise and kick some ass or stay and snooze a little longer, ask yourself these questions:
Does this decision move me forward toward my goals?
Using this morning’s example, staying home is the easy choice. It’s comfortable and there are a million valid reasons to take the easy choice. But I have a goal and I am laser-focused on achieving it. Staying home won’t move me forward to the goal, so I have to get up and go.
If staying home or spending money or eating junk won’t move you forward, don’t do it. It’s just that simple. Hard, but simple.
Is this decision about what I want or about what I need?
In every choice, there is a want or a desire and there are needs. I want to buy cute yoga pants for my workouts. Seriously, look at these. They are soooo cute!
But what I need to do is save money or I won’t be able to achieve my financial goals for this month, this quarter, or this year. My financial future is far more important than cute yoga pants. Again, hard, but simple.
What do I gain from making a decision to do the hard thing?
So many of these questions are meant to make you think about the cost-benefit analysis of your decisions. For every decision, there are benefits and costs. By nature of life as humans, we can’t have everything.
If we choose chocolate ice cream, we inherently lose strawberry as an option. And that’s okay.
The key is to choose the things that move you toward the life you want and not away. Think about whether the hard decision has a gain you are looking for. If what you gain is greater than what you lose, then it’s a simple choice.
What do I lose if I make the easy decision?
This question is really just the flip side of the last question. If I take the easy route, what will I lose?
In the case of doing my speed workout, I will likely lose momentum if I skip a day just because the stars didn’t align and I don’t feel like running. Momentum and habit are the two forces driving me toward my initial goal of running 2 miles in 17 minutes.
If I lose that momentum, it could tank my goal entirely. I’ve made significant progress toward the goal, dropping my mile time from 12:20 to 11:00 flat. Not running because I don’t want to isn’t going to drop that time any lower.
What am I going to do?
The final question you have to ask after you’ve weighed the cost-benefit analysis and thought about making progress toward your goals is this: So what am I going to do?
You’ve got all the information. You know the right answer, the hard answer. There isn’t any doubt left about what you’re going to do. Now all you need to do is get up and do it.
Make Better Decisions
Whether your decision is a big one like whether or not to take a job or a small one like whether or not to put on your running shoes and hit the pavement, going through these questions will help you make better decisions.
When you seriously consider the cost to your goals, you won’t hesitate to make the right choice. If your decision is a big one, get out your vision board and meditate on those images for a bit. Really dive deep into your heart and mind and ask whether this decision gets you closer to the vision.
If it doesn’t, then it’s just a distraction. Easy peasy, friend.
Let your goals drive your decisions and you’ll always be getting closer to a life you love.