If you’re anything like me, you excel at making decisions but are not so great at taking action. You can relate to the frustration that comes with never quite getting where you want to be. On any given day, I have a million different ideas and plans that I am definitely going to act upon. But by the end of the day, I’ve either forgotten completely about them, or I assure myself that I will start tomorrow.
And you know what the song says — “Tomorrow never comes!”
As a jump-in-head-first kinda gal, I’ve made some monumentally bad decisions and acted on them straight away, without thought, planning or any consideration for the outcome, really. I’ve also made some monumentally great decisions, and never took one step towards bringing them to life.
I will refrain from sharing the particularly bad decisions and actions I’ve taken, because really, you couldn’t make it up—seriously!
There’s a whole host of reasons that people act on the bad decisions…
And leave the good decisions on the back burner. For me, it’s about fear of failure, and not feeling worthy of the good stuff. I’m oh-so-good at being self-destructive. I’ve had tonnes of practice at it. I used to think that bad stuff just happened to me. But a lot of the bad stuff came about from radically poor decision-making on my part.
Sometimes, I would get so frustrated with myself that making any decision would be better than making no decision at all. Oh, how I bloody hate being in limbo! However, I have come to realise that limbo is a very powerful and potentially productive place to be!
Limbo gives you the luxury of having options.
It gives you wide open space in which to consider, make a plan, see how it feels, and then – take action – or not! Like self-destructive behaviour, taking action on healthy decisions takes practice too. You have to keep practicing until it becomes as normal as drunk texting your ex at 2am while conveniently forgetting what a nightmare that relationship was. You then wake up the next day with a date you don’t remember agreeing to, and the whole crappy cycle begins again.
So how do you filter the good from the bad, and change dead-end decision-making into productive and healthy decision-making? Well, I have a few tried and tested techniques that I adopted due to my exhaustive spontaneity—or should I say, daredevil personality traits.
Check in with your emotions.
Many of my past decisions ended in disaster because I acted completely on emotion and applied no practicality to the actions whatsoever. Regardless of the situation, I have found overly emotional decision-making to be unproductive and unhealthy. Checking in with your emotional state and your motives can really apply rationality to a potential dire situation.
What will the outcome be?
You hear it all the time in recovery circles: you gotta play the tape through to the end! While the initial making of a decision might bring a rush of excitement and seem like a great idea in the moment, the outcome might be very different. Of course we cannot predict the future, but thinking about acting on a decision for more than a second can usually give you a good idea of what’s to come.
Who else will this decision affect?
Probably a whole host of people that you wouldn’t imagine it would. Of course, you can’t live your life worrying about the reactions of everyone else. But you should account for the health, safety, and well-being of those around you, especially if you have a history of bad decision-making. Fulfilling your own needs is important, and you absolutely deserve to be happy, but again, take more than a second to decide if this decision is a good one or not.
But not from the friend who you know is going to agree that everything you do is a GREAT idea! We all have one of those, right? You need to call the friend who is wise to your wild ways and holds a mirror up. Consult the friend who asks the god-awful questions you don’t want to answer—who basically slaps you into reality.
You already know the answer!
You know you do. Your gut will tell you exactly what you need to know about making a decision if you just stop ignoring it. And don’t mistake your gut with your heart! You need to go a little lower and take notice of the knots and discomfort before you pick your phone up to text that ex because you’re lonely!
Don’t fear the outcome!
Of course, this only applies once you have taken some time to consider the questions above. Often things won’t turn out the way you want, but if you apply some mature consideration to your important decisions, it definitely minimizes the risk of complete disaster!
There will be many times that you will take no advice and pretend you never read any of this. You’ll go right ahead and do stupid stuff. I still do from time to time. But at least now, you can’t say you didn’t know better. We all know better. It just takes practice practice practice to do better!