Five Steps Towards Making Life-changing Decisions
BEGIN WITH THE RIGHT DECISIONS
If you decided today that your going to lose 10 pounds by next week, you have set yourself up for failure. There are many decisions that can be successful only when they are made on the backs of other decisions. For instance, if you do not decide to increase your prayer life and time in the Word, you will never achieve holiness. Your success in quitting smoking will be dependent on your ability to remain Christ-focused as you deal with the cravings of nicotine withdrawal.
One of the keys to success is to tackle decision-making like building a house. You must lay the foundation before you can build walls or roof. And although it is exciting to hang wallpaper, paint and add the finishing touch of trim, they can be completed only after the house is finished. We would all love the blessings of freedom from bad habits and irritating compulsions, but first, we must lay the foundation, a solid prayer life and continuous ingestion of the Word. These disciplines will become the foundation of all the decisions we will make.
BELIEVE YOU CAN
All right, you’ve decided to quit smoking 23 times and now you’re on your 24th attempt. No one is behind you, and your family snickers under their breath when announced for the 24th time that this is it, you are finally going to quit smoking. If you are honest, you really don’t believe that you are going to quit in the first place, it’s an act of desperation.
Anthony Robins will sell you motivational tapes, videos and books to build faith in yourself. With his high octane teaching you will make power-decisions, placing you firmly on the fast-track to personal prosperity and wealth. Surprisingly, they work. Many people have found success in developing a strong faith in themselves. But there is a better way. God and you, standing together making a decision. You can chuck your Anthony Robins tapes in the garbage because, to really believe in yourself is to see the reflection of your face smiling back in the eye of God. To see you as He sees you.
We’ve got some great news. God believes in you. He has invested everything, even His Son, so that you can be free. It makes no difference to God how many times you have failed. God knows how to forget the past and refresh each morning with the hope of a new beginning.
Counting the cost is a large step to being resolute. It will help prepare you for the valleys, those dark times when your decision seems foolish, useless and a major inconvenience.
Rationalization has been responsible for sabotaging millions of decisions all over the world. It’s really not that bad. I’ll start tomorrow. It won’t hurt this one more time. I wasn’t thinking straight when I made that decision. I’m not sure it’s God’s will. I shouldn’t oppress myself. I’ve worked really hard, I deserve it. Just a taste. The devil made me do it.
When you are being tempted, fight rationalization with rationalization. And here’s how you do it. Prepare some arguments ahead of time when doubt rears his ugly head. First of all, get it in context. A craving lends itself to tunnel vision; it becomes the only thing important in your world at that moment. Step back and count your blessings
An important component of stick-to-itiveness is leaving room for failure. Failures are the building blocks of success. Most people don’t have the courage to risk failure. When you fail, don’t be discouraged. God isn’t. He’s faithful when you are faithless and He knows you are trying. Confess your failure to God and He will provide you with the forgiveness and the spiritual detergent to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. In other words, a new beginning. The failure will be forgotten by God, so don’t you go and remind Him—that’s bad manners. Learn from your failure. Examine why you failed. And if you have any aspiration to enter full time ministry, remember, people can relate to someone who knows the bitter taste of failure much more than the lofty highs of perfection.
REFRESH YOUR DECISION DAILY
When you wake up in the morning, and lift your head off the pillow, grab that worn, dog-eared sheet of paper that you leave beside the alarm clock. Read through the decisions that you have made before God. Pull the sheets off your body, get on your hands and knees and refresh those decisions with the humility of depending on the strength of the Lord. Make your bedside a meeting place with God. Get out of the right side of your bed, because, how you start your day is so important. The wrong side of the bed has momentum, and it’s tough to turn around a bad day.
While your house is in the quietness of slumber, this is your time with the Father.
BUNDLE YOU’RE DECISIONS
Often, one large decision will involve many smaller but equally important decisions for the first to be successful. For example, overcoming sugar addiction may involve the decision to stay away from donut shops and other places of temptation, cleaning the house from sweets, avoiding stressful environments that trigger bingeing. You may have to make a list of hot places and decide for a time to stay away from those areas. Often, the failure of a large battle is because of the small skirmishes which we all face throughout the day. Stress is at a high level when making a hard decision. Even deciding to walk alone and pray every day may be the edge to victory you needed. When it feels like you are one step away from failing, decide right there to get alone and recharge.
Bundle decisions that complement one another. Tackle one area of weakness in your life at a time. Examine all the patterns of your lifestyle to do with that area. Focus all of your energy to overcoming that area by writing down a list of changes that have to be made in order to have victory.
Do not try to tackle too many large decisions at the same time. Choose your decisions wisely, ones that will complement one another and strengthen your resolve.
Related Article: Our Decisions Have Power