Do you struggle with indecision? I did for a long time and at one point, indecisiveness nearly ruled my life. It’s an uncomfortable place to be, being unsure of yourself. From little decisions like what to wear and eat, to how you spend your time, even up to the biggies , like ending a bad relationship or quitting a job. But for the most part over the last year and a half, except on low energy days, I’ve been living my life full of confidence.
Why? Well, we’ll get to that in a bit since that’s the focus of this post. But first, I need to confess that doubt has wriggled itself into my mind. The last ten days have been… challenging. I’ve been slipping back into my old habits and addictions : drinking, overeating, using credit, I’ve even smoked several cigarettes! I’m especially upset about this one, considering it would have been a year next month, the longest out of the four times I’ve kicked the cancer sticks…
I’ve justified my behaviour; you know, with `it’s summer and it’s time to relax a bit, loosen up and have some fun’. And I still believe that it’s ok to occasionally indulge in substances that are known to have some health benefits for some people , like coffee, natural sugar, alcohol (especially the anti-oxidant rich dark beers and red wines), and even marijuana.
When past-times start to rule you
But I’ve lost control. I fooled myself. Haha. The joke’s on me. I’ve recently reached for my indulgences in order to reduce stress, even going so far as to create excuses to socially indulge. This behaviour reminds me of the old Stephanie. The one I thought I had buried for good; the one who lived her life thoughtlessly, selfishly and without purpose, indulging in self-destructive activities for instant gratification.
So where have I gone wrong? Why is it that I’ve been smoking when I decided over a year ago to stop, knowing that it’s highly addictive, physically harmful and has absolutely NO health benefits whatsoever? Why have I been emotionally eating, despite knowing that it creates digestive troubles for me, and affects me both mentally and physically? And what’s up with using my credit card when I have less than $1000 to pay off to be debt-free?
The Cure to Indecision is Your Vision
If you have a budget, then you know exactly what you can afford to buy and when you can buy it. Budgets are determined by many factors, including income, expenses, funds such as those for education and vacation, financing big purchases, etc. But a big part of a budget is the financial plan, which is based on how much one thinks they will need at retirement to live a certain lifestyle, a.k.a.: a vision.
The vision involves all aspects of life, including relationships, career, health, financial and spiritual. Your values will help you define your priorities between your life areas. Productivity guru, David Allen , suggests to decide on short-term goals (1-2 years from now and in 3-5 years) that you think will help you reach your vision. Keep in mind, your vision is organic and changes as you do, sometimes in response to an unexpected opportunity.
As in the budget example above, your vision dictates all your decisions. A few years ago, I decided to focus on improving my health because I believe healthy living is worth the effort ; I believe it is the key to happiness and gratitude, which in turn is key to achieving my vision… fast. So from there all my decisions became based on whether or not they promoted health. It was easy! Any action that I thought may be too risky to my long-term health, I simply chose against it.
However, my recent behaviour is not conducive to my vision. I’ve lost my way. I’ve lost sight of my vision. No need to fear, though; all is not lost. I believe all things happen for a reason and so maybe I need to go through this. Call it a test. Perhaps it’s fuel for a follow-up post, “How to Climb Back on the Wagon”.
What do you think? Can you see how having a clear vision makes everyday decisions, and the big ones, easier to make with total confidence?