Deciding to Decide

Jun 14, 2024Lisa's Corner

The Decision-Making Struggle Is Real

I think most of us would agree that at some point in our lives, we have all struggled to make a decision. That decision could be about what to have for dinner, where to go on a family vacation, or whether or not to start a new career. No matter the importance of the decision, for some reason, making one can be a challenge.

I believe that making a decision can be difficult for many people because it seems so final. For these people, the thought of final equals forever. This thought and fear of forever is so overwhelming that it paralyzes people into taking no action at all. However, making no decision is actually a decision – and almost always the wrong one.

The Fear of Regret and Its Impact

See, I firmly believe that people are less afraid of making a decision than they are of regretting the one they make. Regret is ugly and steals so much of our time, focus, and energy by paralyzing us. Knowing this, we avoid it at all costs. However, most of the time, regret is simply fear’s smokescreen. The reality is that there is hardly any decision that cannot be fixed or changed by just making another decision.

The Power of Making Any Decision

Now, I’m going to say something that you may think is a little subjective, but just hang with me. In almost every instance and every scenario, any decision is going to be better than no decision at all. At least, by making one, you now have something to work with!

Consider for a moment, that we were made for progress. We were designed to keep moving forward. When we do make decisions that leave us with less-than-stellar results, it is like having a piece of clay that just needs the next spin on the wheel (or in other words, another decision) to continue being shaped into what will give us the results we are looking for in the end.

The price we pay for making no decision at all is a hefty one. When change is necessary and decisions need to be made, our inability to make them impacts our happiness, self-confidence, and our emotional well-being.

If you can learn to master making decisions, then your life will be infinitely better. Why? Because life is about outcomes and decisions bring outcomes. If you have the ability to have more control over outcomes, then you will have better control over your life.

Lessons from the Coke and Pepsi Experiment

Recently, I was listening to a podcast that had a marketing executive as a guest. I’m paraphrasing, but he said the most profound thing on the show. He said, at one time, Coke was the only vending machine in large facilities and arenas. Each time that you went to a sporting event or concert and passed by a lone Coke machine, research showed that you would ask yourself, “Do I want a drink?”

However, they found out something fascinating. When a Pepsi machine was added right beside the Coke machine, the question that you asked yourself would change. Now as you passed by the side-by-side machines the question became, “Which drink do I want?”

By simply seeing that there was a choice, bypassers no longer had to decide if they would purchase a drink – only which one they would choose. Simply put, they no longer had to decide whether or not to decide. There was no paralysis about whether to stop and get a beverage. That decision was made by realizing that they had choices. With nothing else to enjoy and it being a possible waste of time and money if the Coke did not pan out, there was likely no decision made at all.

The one-option of a Coke product seemed final. However, when there was a choice, there was freedom. And hear me right here, no matter if it is about a beverage, a vacation destination, or even a major career change – when there is freedom, there is less likelihood of fear.

Practical Tips to Overcome Decision Paralysis

We experience this same principle on our health journeys each and every day. You and I have decisions that need to be made in order to continue progressing toward our health goals. We wake up each day and have to decide whether or not to decide.

Many of us could eliminate this simply by adding “a Pepsi machine” to our day. Well, not literally – some of us are trying to stay away from those *insert hand raise here*. But figuratively speaking, we need this other option in order to make deciding to decide a non-issue. What does that look like in everyday life?

Here are a few practical ways to daily incorporate this principle:

  1. When you wake up, go ahead and have a few different skinny packs already out in view on the kitchen counter. That way, you are not trying to decide if you will start the day with a fatburn activator, but instead, which fatburn activator.
  2. Have a couple of different cup options available for water fill-ups. If you are looking at a stainless steel cup, a clear glass, and your favorite tall tumbler with a matching straw, then you are more likely to begin your water consumption without considering getting a late start, or even not starting at all.
  3. The night before, place all of your skinny packs for the next day in a clear gallon-sized bag. If you have to leave for work or run errands, grab that bag and take it with you. It doesn’t matter that you may not be gone long enough to need all of the skinny packs in there. What matters is that when it is time for your next one, you will have options. Having only one pack in your purse could lead to decision paralysis. If that one pack is no longer what you are in the mood for, then it may be easy to skip it or reach for something completely off of your program. You are less likely to skip a pack if you have choices that you can decide between at that moment.
  4. If you need to process emotions through journaling, then have your journal in plain view with an array of pens and highlighters right on top of it. That changes the decision in your head from whether or not you will record your thoughts and feelings to what color you will do it in today.
  5. Have your walking shoes beside your bed, untied with the laces open, and a couple of different colored pairs of socks sticking out of them. Early morning is not the time to negotiate with yourself whether or not you will go for a walk. Instead, spend that mental energy on what cool socks you will be wearing during your walk.

Embrace the Rule of 5 for Consistent Progress

Lastly, and just as another layer of support, here is my absolute favorite way to follow through with any decision that you make. I call it “old faithful” because it never fails to work, no matter the decision or goal. It is Jack Canfield’s The Rule of 5. This rule states that doing five things that are fundamental to your goal every single day will ultimately lead to your success.

So, if you have made a decision to be healthy, lose weight, or take better care of yourself then doing five things every day that move you closer to those goals will not only hold you accountable to your decision but will increase and reinforce your overall emotional well-being regarding that decision. If you would like to put this into practice, may I offer the five suggestions listed above?

Freedom Through Decision-Making

As you can see, decisions can be powerful. But that does not mean that they have to have power over us. We are in the driver’s seat. We are capable of moving forward – even if we take a wrong turn. All we have to do is make another decision to course-correct and get back on track. As long as we have the power to decide, nothing is ever final. And when we can see our options, then we have freedom – and when there is freedom, we do not have to fear making a decision.

Until next time, remember…you be good to you!

Lisa Mills

Lisa Mills

Executive VP of SkinnyBox

  • SkinnyBox™ first one-hundred pound weight loss success story
  • Master Certified Health and Wellness Coach
  • John Maxwell Certified Team Member
  • Nationally Touring, Award-Winning Comedian
  • Corporate Keynote Speaker and Author

4 Comments

  1. Karen Pflederer

    Lisa, such great encouragement- thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Lisa Mills

      You are welcome, Karen! And thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond.

      Reply
  2. Rhonda Skaggs

    Thank you for your constant motivation.

    Reply
    • Lisa Mills

      Thank you for giving it a read!

      Reply

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