I have a stack of index cards that I keep in my car and each has one word printed on it. Each word is a virtue, value or character attribute that I want to develop - such as “honesty”, “accountability”, and ”compassion”. At random, I choose a card, and it becomes my focus of the day or week. Today, my card read “decisiveness”.
How appropriate for me, since I wallow at times in procrastination and avoidance of making decisions. Sometimes the simplest decision - such as what to eat for dinner - sends me into an all-out panic! I’ve come to realize that many of the issues I face with taking care of myself both physically and mentally all stem back to my lack of self-esteem.
The word decisiveness means “Having the Power to Determine an Outcome”. Another definition is “the quality of being settled”. Much more powerful than just “the act of making a decision”!
Napolean Hill said, “The way to develop decisiveness is to start right where you are, with the very next question you face”. Today, we are going to make a decision to live more healthfully.
1. Start with a to-do list. How many things on your list are “life and death” decisions? I hope not many! Most tasks we list are just part of our daily lives, and the world won’t stop if they aren’t done. At the top of your to-do list should be something that you do to take care of yourself. This is NOT optional! You must find the time each day to do one small thing for your health. If you use “lack of time” as an excuse not to exercise or buy/cook healthy foods, then you need to make some serious decisions about how you spend your day. What can you delete or delegate to someone else in order to carve out time for a 20-minute walk?
2. Don’t be in denial. Your health affects so much more than “the way you feel tonight”. Your longevity is at stake if you don’t get your blood pressure under control. Your ability to function freely is in danger if you don’t get your blood sugar under control. Think also how it affects those you love around you. When you feel badly physically, you aren’t at your best mentally. It often shows, even if no one mentions it to you.
3. Gather all of the information you have at hand - your current health statistics such as Weight, BMI, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, etc. Find out the risks involved for letting these remain out of control. Also find out what conditions you are most at risk for even if your numbers are “normal” today (ie, your family history). Even if you have a lot of health concerns, don’t let this task overwhelm you to where you feel discouraged. Start with one small step today toward improving just one aspect of your health. Tomorrow - or next week, or next month - build on that success.
4. Get support and learn to accept imperfections. There will always be a day where you weren’t perfect. Use the information as an action plan for the next time. Get support from family and friends. Almost everyone wants to do something to improve their health. Working together will not only get you help when you most need it, but you will also be helping someone else, and that is a most satisfying feeling!
5. Track your outcomes. Celebrate the first 5 pounds! Celebrate the drop in blood pressure ! Celebrate the effort in taking the stairs instead of the elevator! These are great accomplishments. If you keep track of your “Decisions” and “Outcomes” you will be less likely to put off making important health decisions in the future, because you will see your own personal pattern of success.
In closing, words from William E. Gary: “The longer I live, the more deeply I’m convinced that the difference between the successful person and the failure, between the strong and the weak, is a decision.”