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Stop Putting Things Off

The truth is we all need to make decisions, but we don’t. We avoid it.

I was like many people. In the past, I’d never stopped to think about how much my decisions (or indecision) were shaping my life. I realised that my indecision was holding me back in virtually all areas of my life. It was stunting my progress and I was feeling stuck.

How I Use To Be

If you’re anything like I used to be, you might find there are times when you cruise through life. You go to your job, day in day out, doing the same old thing. Not trying to stand out, doing what you need to get on with things. The problem with that can be, if you’re not doing anything different, it can mean you miss out on opportunities, like being selected for that promotion or for that great project.

In relationships, we might not think about how much time we’re spending with our partner, or about the quality of that time. Perhaps you’ve been in a relationship for a while and you go through the same regular routine. Who’s been in that situation before? I know it’s happened to me in the past. My wife and I would end up staying home because we couldn’t decide which movie to see, or which restaurant to go to; so we’d end up doing the same old thing, with takeaway and Netflix on the couch.

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I used to put off exercising and eating healthily. I’d get so busy so I’d say, “I’ll hit the gym tomorrow”, but then tomorrow would come something else got in the way, so I’d decide to go the next week instead. And you know how that goes? That’s right, something would prevent that too.

The effect of your decisions accumulating over time

You see, it’s not just the decisions that you make today, it’s also the effect of those decisions accumulating over time that can really create an adverse impact.

Eventually, I’d had enough. So I sat down and asked myself, “What is your indecisiveness costing you?” “What has it cost you in the past and what is it costing you even today?” “And if you don’t solve this problem now, what is your indecisiveness going to cost you into the future?” I can tell you, I didn’t like the answers.

I’d missed an opportunity in a past job where someone got promoted over me because they were showing initiative, where I was happily getting my job done and going home. It’s not that I wasn’t capable. I just hadn’t wanted to take the risk of trying something new.

Do you want help with Sadness, Procrastination, Self-Sabotage, Confidence or Motivation?

I remember one year, my wife’s birthday was a month away, and I knew I had to find her a gift. She loves to be pampered so I knew she’d be happy with a spa or massage voucher. Then the time went on and eventually, the date arrived. And do you think I’d remembered to arrange the voucher? You might have experienced this before? I didn’t remember. And it’s not like she was furious, or even angry that I hadn’t gotten her anything, but she’s a great wife and mother and she deserves to have a day where I make her feel extra special. I felt so bad.

How to get motivated!

At one point, it was about two months after Christmas and I was showing some relatives photos of our holidays. I noticed looking at myself in the pictures, I’d started putting on weight. It had been so gradual that I hadn’t noticed it in myself looking in the mirror each day. It made me realise I had less energy when playing with my son, not to mention I wasn’t teaching him the best eating habits, as I was often grabbing something to eat on the run and snacking between meals. But how do I get motivated to look after my health and do things differently?

Most people can remember a time when they have made a great decision and a time when they have made a poor decision, but they have never worked out the difference between those times.

Here are some of the ways I now use to make decisions quickly which helps me to prevent putting things off, till tomorrow, next week, next month…

1. Use The 3 Second Rule

This simple step helped me immensely to stop putting things off. I call it the 3 second rule. Say I’m at a restaurant and are trying to decide what to have for dinner. There were times in my past when this would have taken far too long. My wife would get frustrated because our son would be waiting, hungry and getting restless. Now I use the 3 second rule. Once I have all the information; what’s on the menu, what the specials are, whether or not they can make adjustments to the menu, I have a time limit of 3 seconds to decide what to have. This has saved so much time, and many ‘discussions’ with my wife.

What people are saying about Emotion Academy:

"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria

You can use this rule in so many areas. If you’re single or looking to meet people, and you see someone interesting when you’re out and about, make a decision within 3 seconds to go and talk to them and do it instantly. The moment you take too long, and chances are you’ll talk yourself out of it.

What about going to the gym. If you have a thought about going to the gym or going for a run, get up right then and there and go. Otherwise, you might get distracted with doing something else.

2. Use The 3 Things List

I keep a list of all the things that I put off and don’t really want to do, or don’t make time to do. Clean the gutters, order the voucher for your wife’s birthday, compare current electricity prices, research healthy meals for on the run, suggest a new project management system at work, go to the dentist – it’s a long list! Each day, I complete 3 of these things. In the morning I look at my list and select 3 things I will tick off that day and I make sure I get them done.

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Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer

Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight.  In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.

One of the keys to ensuring you do this every day, is to stop and really cheer to yourself each time you tick something off your list. Like the way we were told as kids in school to give yourself a pat on the back. Each time I do this, then not only do I feel great about knocking something off my list, but I also associate doing each thing with a sense of positivity and praise, that it makes me look forward to the 3 things I’ll do the next day.

I’m never worried that I’ll run out of things on my list, because each day that I tick 3 things off, I tend to add 3 or more new things on!

It took practice and using these strategies over and over again, but now I’m excited to say I’m much more productive than I used to be. I’ve managed to stop putting things off and it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s in the context of work, relationships, or even my health; I continue to improve, which has really helped in all areas of life.

So next time you are about to put something off, taking too long to make a decision, avoiding going to talk to that attractive girl or guy, use one of these approaches. You may just be surprised what affect this has for you.

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