“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
– Dale Carnegie
There’s no doubt that you’ve either had or are right now dealing with a tough decision. You don’t know what actions you should take.
What do you do instead?
You get busy. You do things that are less pressing and that you feel are safe. It just feels good to get shit done, right?
Hopefully those things need to get done too. Don’t make me bring out Covey’s Quadrants. You know I will.
Alright, you asked for it.
Results published in 2006 by a Duke University researcher claimed that 40% of our actions weren’t even actual decisions. They were in fact habits.
I want you to take a look at your life. Imagine that 40% of your daily activities are done on autopilot.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If the habits and activities are productive.
Now, sometimes we want to gather more information to feel good about our decisions. But if we’ve gotten into the habit of procrastination we’re probably going to have a bad time.
The decisions we feel are important but that we just can’t seem to take action on keep on getting pushed forward. Until they can’t be anymore and the decision is made for us by default.
In some cases things work out for the better but most of the time it just leads to stress and frustration. Especially if the decision includes other people.
Isn’t it strange that when we’re presented with a similar issue by someone else the decision they should make seems super clear?
It’s because we aren’t as invested in the outcome while at the same time being able to cut through the bullshit.
We need to get better at being that person for ourselves.
Our main fear is that our actions will lead us to failure. When we see someone else struggle we know that they’ll be able to pick themselves up if they stumble.
Something that’s a lot harder to see in ourselves.
So, what can we do?
Here are a few things you might want to think about.
1) Are your habits good ones? If not, how can you replace them for good ones?
Since we’re spending 40% of our time doing things out of habit they might as well be good ones. Very often people try to “quit” certain habits instead of finding ways to replace them.
2) How often do you procrastinate? Start by doing small things.
An amazing thing about our brain is that we can rewire it. If you find yourself procrastinating then just take action. Do not let that little voice in your head convince you to put it off. It is not the boss of you. Unless you let it.
Once you realize you can override the programming it starts getting easier. Now, we need to accept that there’s still going to be resistance. But we’ll also know that we are stronger and have the ability to do it anyway.
3) What if you honestly don’t know what to do?
If you’ve got two or more options that seem interesting the solution is easy.
Until you’ve got the results in hand every decision is wrong. On the flip side, every decision is also right.
Just pick one.
4) Be kind to yourself.
Inevitably you’re going to relapse. You might want to beat yourself up about it. What you can do is to look at it as simply falling off your bike.
It might hurt, you’ll probably scrape your knees, throw the bike in the bushes, pout a little and tell yourself: “I suck! I’m never going to get any better!”.
Some people need to go through that process before they start giving themselves a little more acceptance and understanding.
It’s all about getting back on the bike, until one day it almost happens by magic.
Or perhaps, habit?
Have you had a major shift in your life where you’ve realized that you actually have the power to overcome your habits? Was it gradual or did it just happen in a flash?
Let me know in the comments and hit me up on Twitter.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!