Mental tug of war

Photo courtesy of Tom Blackwell (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Tom Blackwell (Creative Commons)

Decision-making can be like tug of war sometimes – the opposing voices in your head are deafening.

Go. Stay.

Do it. Don’t do it.

Be brave. I’m afraid.

The longer you let those forces pull that imaginary rope in your head, the more confused you can get and the fewer actions you actually take.

There are times when it’s important to take the appropriate time to review and analyze all your options, especially when the decision is a big, life changing one. But most of the decisions you and I make on a regular basis come down to discipline and a focus on your mission. I have discovered that decisions almost make themselves when I keep those two things front of mind. A lot of the confusion falls away when I am focused on those things that will move me closer to my mission, and that help me be a better person.

When it’s cold and nasty outside, running is the last thing I want to do, but discipline kicks in and I suit up and head out. I know the bad feeling both physically and mentally if I skip a planned workout, and want to avoid that. Some days I make a choice to head to the gym instead of outside, but I still get in that workout.

Same thing when I am choosing what to eat (or not eat). I’ve had people tell me I’m not fun to eat with because I don’t have many sweets or decadent desserts, but I know how I feel afterwards, and I would rather be disciplined and say no thank you.

In terms of what I accomplish during the day and getting sidetracked by interruptions, I keep my focus on whether I’m at least moving toward my mission. I may not fully accomplish the goals I set for myself that day or even that week, but if I am headed in the right direction, then I’m on track.

Letting discipline take a larger role in my decisions has helped relieve a lot of the anxiety and wasted energy over my choices. It frees up mental energy to really concentrate on what will make me a stronger, better person, and isn’t that what we all want anyway?

What tug of war is going on in your mind, and how can discipline relieve it for you?