The Small Decisions Matter

Life is about the micro decisions. The state of our life takes place in this moment. Often times I get caught up thinking that the way my life is, is dictated by those huge decisions such as what university you go to, what job you have, the person you marry etc.

Yesterday I came to the realization that this isn’t true at all. Our life is actually determined by all the small decisions made in the moment. I believe that what you decide every second affects your life far more than these seemingly big decisions.

Yesterday I went for a run around my neighborhood. I decided to take a different route that required me to run up a few big hills. In my mind I set the goal to run to the top of the hill without stopping. As I was running up the hill and my heart rate started racing, all I could hear was negative self talk – “Stop running, you can’t do this, it is too hard.” I got about 90% up the hill when I just stopped.

I was really disappointed in myself because I gave into my self talk. I was 90% of the way there all I had to do was continue to run for about 30 more seconds and I would have been at the top, yet right before I was about to achieve my goal I gave into the self talk. I gave up.

The reason I was disappointed wasn’t just because I couldn’t make it up the hill. I was more disappointed because I gave up when my goal was in sight. The run up the hill was a metaphor for fulfilling my dreams. The journey of obtaining your goals will always be laced with obstacles and will not be easy. However, everyone can achieve their dream but the point I feel like a lot of people fail is when they give up when their goal is in sight. This run was a metaphor for all the dreams and desires I have, that is why giving up on the run meant so much to me.

Now I am 90% up the hill and have given up on my goal of making it 100% of the way up without stopping. I am out of breath and see a detour that is a shortcut to the descent back to my house. All I hear in my head is “You are tired and exhausted, you didn’t achieve your goal, take the leisure walk back to your house.”

I’ve been in this similar scenario before in my life. Often times when things don’t go the way I planned, when I don’t achieve my goal, or finish the assignment the way I want to I just give up. I figure what’s the point of finishing now since I haven’t achieved what I wanted to achieve. What’s the point of running that extra mile if I can’t achieve my goal of running without stopping. What’s the point of introducing myself to this person when I’ve been rejected by the 3 other people.

I feel like this is the defining moment for any person. The point of quitting forever or getting back on the horse and doing the best you can given your circumstances. We can’t control everything in life, there are times where we won’t achieve our goals, but that doesn’t mean it is okay to stop. That doesn’t mean it is okay to just take the easy walk home rather than continuing to race up the hill. What you decide in this moment speaks volumes for the type of person you are. This “micro-decision” defines what your life is going to be like, the types of friends you have, whether you have achieved your dreams, and what you contribute in this world.

However, a few of recognize this and still decide to stop. We reason with ourselves that it is okay this one time for this one case to stop. We tell ourselves that for the important things we will truck on. What we fail to realize is that the first time we decide not to press on sets precedence for every future time to not press on.

Now imagine how many times you are faced with a decision like this, imagine how many times you automatically make these types of decisions without even thinking about it. It may manifest when you are given the option between working out and hanging out with friends. It may come up when it is a beautiful day outside so you spend one more day not tackling your goals to spend it outside enjoying the weather. These small decisions in itself barely change anything in your life. What is another few hours doing x as opposed to y? However, these decisions compounded have a BIG effect on your life.

I would argue that these small micro decisions is the true key to changing your life. If you want to achieve your goal start small by cultivating the self discipline to finish the run up the hill, or finish cleaning your room, or spend the extra hour working as opposed to watching TV. This is where true change will start.

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