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You Want to Succeed? Decide.

Knowing what it takes won't get you there.

You know how there are things that you know you should be doing, that you know work best for you, and yet you fight yourself to actually do what you know is right? 

For some people it’s fast food—we know that a McDonald’s hamburger doesn’t qualify as healthy and yet millions of us succumb to our desire for a McDonald’s hamburger. We know that exercise is good for us and yet we make everything else more important than getting out there and doing it.

For me, I know that getting up early is my best, most focused time to write. When I do, it feels effortless and enjoyable and when I don’t it feels a bit like my head has been put in a vice-grip and trying to squeeze anything interesting, clever, insightful, or useful is a very painful and ugly process (picture lots of teeth gnashing and hair pulling, and trips to gaze into the depths of the refrigerator hoping to be saved). Yet, more often than I like to admit, I’ll stay up late, fully knowing that the next day I will pay the price. Oh…the allure of the snooze button!

Of course I have my excuses. We can justify anything if we put our minds to it. 

Excuses are like a gravity-monster—they’ll pull us down and keep us down. Give them energy and they grow, like those crazy alien creatures you see in the movies. They consume your best intentions, your power and confidence, and won’t be satisfied until your best-self is hanging from their lips. They’re wily ones, as they sneak up on you and disguise themselves as being something they’re not. They appear as comfort and delight—leading us down the dark cavernous tunnels of regret. We must fight them with everything we’ve got!

We all know of strategies that work to combat our gravity-monsters. Some people keep their visions alive with dream-boards. Some people pay lots of money to coaches so they have accountability-partners. Some people give themselves a special treat if they do what they promised themselves they’d do. “Good girl, you finished your post! Here’s a cookie!” There are probably at least 1000 articles right now outlining steps to succeed. In my experience, the problem isn’t in the knowing what we could do—we’re smart people, we know—it’s in the actual doing. We know what we want, and we even know what we should to make it happen (because we read lots of articles every day). Knowing isn’t the issue. We simply need to decide.

To decide is a commitment. A choice. It’s a no-turning-back moment. A clear decision is the only thing that will combat gravity. Are you in or are you not? Decide.

My husband and I laugh because when we ask our kiddo to do something he doesn’t want to do he’ll push back and negotiate and argue and fight it for a good half-hour until he decides. Once he decides to do it, the task usually takes him all of two minutes. The energy he wastes in waiting to decide is painful (for all of us).

I think we all do this in some way or another. We spend a lot of energy dancing with the gravity-monster to avoid making a decision. It hurts when we’re not all-in—when we haven’t decided. We think we’re playing it safe, that we need more time to analyze and think, but we’re just hurting ourselves. 

To make a clear decision takes courage. Are you going to stay in your job? Decide. Are you going to be a great leader? Decide. Are you going to take care of your health? Decide. Take that class? Write your book? Be a good friend?

Decide. Flip the switch.

Because the gravity-monster will give it all he’s got. If we’re not in this fight to win, we won’t. Decide.

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