Your life is the way it is right now because of the decisions you’ve made. Changing your life is typically hard. However, it’s a very simple process. And when you learn the process of making good decisions and avoiding making bad decisions, your life starts to get better and better.
Decisions are one of the most powerful forces in the world. Our decisions totally shape where we end up in life.
A woman that is a millionaire by age 30, married to the man of her dreams, and extremely content most of the time has made different decisions than a 30-year-old woman that can’t afford to pay her bills, married a man that was a bad fit for her and is plagued by anxiety and depression.
Some decisions are BIG and the future consequences are fairly easy to predict.
But most of our decisions are small — even minute — and we often don’t think about the potential future consequences of these little decisions that we make all day every day.
Decisions are the guiding force of how our lives turn out.
If you want to change your life, it all starts with learning how to make good decisions, while avoiding making bad ones (at least most of the time).
How To Make Good Decisions & Avoid Making Bad Decisions
Have you ever thought about why you make decisions? To begin walking the path of “Good Decision-Making,” we must first dissect the process.
Luckily, it’s not complicated.
To illustrate this concept, here’s a common situation that most people have been in…
We wake up to our alarm clock going off early on a Saturday morning.
We have plans to go to the gym with a friend, but we feel oh so comfortable and warm in bed, so we rationalize to ourselves that “tomorrow will be a better day to workout.”
Have you done this?
I know I sure have.
Here’s the breakdown of how this decision was made:
- Going to the gym early in the morning was the initial plan, and this decision was in the “best self-interest” of the person.
- They woke up, “felt” warm and comfortable, and decided that it was no longer a good idea to go to the gym. (Hint: they didn’t want to feel the pain of having to get out of bed and go workout).
- Essentially, the Decision-Maker had made a decision based on their “feelings” and not based on what was in their “best self-interest.”
Most people do this type of thing all day long, every single day of their lives.
Here are more examples to showcase this process:
- Eat a big salad with lots of extra virgin olive oil for lunch, or eat Taco Bell?
- Go to the gym on the way home from work, or skip the gym and go to Happy Hour?
- Read for 30 minutes on a Sunday evening, or watch a TV show instead?
- Take the kids to the park for a picnic on a beautiful Saturday, or stay home and let them watch YouTube all day?
- Attend a business startup 6-hour workshop to learn how to become an entrepreneur, or go to the mall instead? (and tell yourself “it’s not the right timing to start on this path now”).
- Brush your teeth before bed, or skip it? (and rationalize that you usually brush your teeth before bed but you’re too tired tonight).
This list goes on and on.
We are constantly making decisions based on whether they “feel good or not.”
The simple trick to changing your life is to no longer make decisions based on your “Emotional Barometer.”
And instead of considering whether something will feel good or not, you make decisions based on your “Best Self-Interest Barometer.”
Step-by-Step Decision-Making Process
- Before you make each decision (big or small) ask yourself: “What is in my Best Self-Interest?”
- Acknowledge that most of the time doing what’s in your Best Self-Interest will not feel good at the moment.
- Keep a journal to record all of the times you make a decision that was not in your Best Self-Interest and based instead on what you “FELT like doing or not doing.”
- This process will bring you face-to-face with yourself. It will give you a hard look at yourself. Now you’ll be hyper-accountable. You’ll be aware of what you’re doing, and that awareness will be a powerful catalyst for change.
I want to reiterate here…
This is a simple trick, but it’s usually very difficult in practice.
Human beings have a built-in software in our brain that makes us seek out pleasure and avoid anything painful or even slightly uncomfortable.
To transcend an addiction, build a successful business, have a healthy relationship, get fit, and achieve other goals, we have to consciously hack this software that is “factory-installed” and set on the “default setting.”
Get into the habit of thinking deeply about your decisions and the potential consequences in the future.
Get mad at your brain’s default setting, which was created to keep you alive and procreate, but not designed to make you happy and fulfilled.
YOU have to take charge of this and rewire your brain away from fear and comfort, and towards doing the difficult things that you know will help you achieve your goals.
Here are the main topics discussed in this episode:
- The definition of a decision
- ‘The Power of Decisions’
- The step-by-step process of how humans make decisions
- Big decisions, small decisions, and everything in between
- Making decisions based on feelings
- Making decisions based on what’s in our best self-interest
- ‘The Pain & Pleasure Principle’
- How our brains have factory-installed wiring to seek out instant gratification rather delayed gratification
- Why a bias for instant gratification perpetuates the addictive process
- Why delayed gratification is essential to transcend addiction
- Inspirational quotes on decisions
- ‘Hyperbolic Discounting’ – The Invisible Force Preventing Addiction Recovery
- How drug/alcohol abuse and addiction create massive dysfunction of the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC)
- Pubmed.com study on neuroimaging results of the brains of individuals with substance addictions
- Normal processes in the PFC and the possible disruptions in addiction
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- David Goggins
- 35 Inspirational Quotes on Decisions
- Hyperbolic Discounting: The Invisible Force Preventing Addiction Recovery
- Dysfunction of the Prefrontal Cortex in Addiction: Neuroimaging Findings and Clinical Implications
Other recommended resources to check out:
- Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0
- Alcohol Recovery Coaching with Chris Scott
- Ultimate Opiate Recovery Coaching with Matt Finch
- The Academy of Opioid Addiction Recovery
- Ultimate Opiate Detox 4.0
- Ultimate Suboxone Detox
- Ultimate Kratom Detox
- Ultimate Methadone Detox
- Recovery Coach Blueprint