I’ve discovered that making decisions is easy. It’s the follow through that is the difficult part. When you make a decision, nothing has changed except the mental determination to do something. I can say for example that I made a decision to learn Mandarin. Great! Now, can I speak Mandarin? No, of course not. Couldn’t even recognize the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese if I heard it. I will need to put in the time and effort to study and practice the language. A decision is just the first part, the easy part of making a change. The follow through is where the bulk of the work is; bringing the decision to fruition takes effort.
Decision = Committment
When we are in the process of making a decision we can often weigh the pros and con, the positive and negative aspect, and view the possible outcomes. Some require little reflection: “I’m going to get a cup of coffee.” Others are more complicated and have major repercussions depending upon the matter at hand: “I’m quitting this job.” This is the committment part. When I make a decision then I make a committment to change, to follow through, to take the next step.
I have had difficulty making decisions in the past. I would weigh, balance and ponder. I would ask advice from others. I might have meditated on it, and asked the universe for help. I would look on my past experience and forecast into the future on possible outcomes. I might mull over some decisions forever and sometimes not ever arrive at a firm decison. And often I did nothing. I couldn’t decide. I couldn’t make up my mind. What I didn’t realize was that not doing anything is also a decision. It’s a decision to maintain the status quo. Passively I had decided that how things are, was going to be okay with me. I just didn’t realize then that ‘not to decide’ is also a decision. I was committing to nothing.
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Master Yoda
I love this quote from Star Wars. I have come to realize that when I use the word “try” in my decisions, I am giving myself permission to fall short or fail. If I make a decision to loose 10 kilos, then I will keep working on whatever to loose that weight and I won’t stop until I do, however long it takes. I will diet, exercise and study how to loose the weight. If one diet isn’t working, I will try another. I will continue with my efforts until I meet with success.
If I say I’m going to try to loose 10 kilos, there is less gravitas, less seriousness in the decision. I might, I’ll make the effort at first, but I might not make it. I might fail. But you know, at least I “tried”. When I put this word into my decisions, I am lacking in committment. And then there are no consequences of not following through on the decision. “What about my diet you ask? Well, you know, I tried but I just couldn’t do it,” I reply shoving a Twinkie down my throat. See the difference? I do my best to avoid the word try in my vocabulary. Along with the words: never and always, the word try is best left to others to use.
One of the few things I disagree with in the steps is in Step Twelve. It says that we “…try to carry the message to the addict/alcoholic who still suffers.” I believe that we do carry the message. It is imperative that we do, our sobriety depends upon it. In this, I cannot try to carry the message. I do what I am able to pass it along. Whether or not that message is received is not up to me, but up to the one receiving it.
Decision = Action
Once I make a decision I then act upon it. Otherwise I was just wasting my breath. I commit to something and I work to make that happen. Commitment to a decision means perseverance until a goal is achieved. I set a goal and work toward it. I make a plan and then follow through. I am grateful to the program for what it has taught me. I know that not all decisions are easy to follow through upon. I know that some days it’s a step forward and a step back. But I also know that in order to achieve success all I need do is get up one more time than I fall.
Yes, sometimes it would be much easier to say, oh well…so much for that. I tried. But I can’t do that, especially when it comes to my sobriety. I must continue on my journey and see that my decisions, my goals are realized: “…sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
♥ ♥ ♥
Please like and share this blog. Perhaps it will give others the needed courage, strength and hope to start and continue their journey down Recovery River. I would appreciate it if you would sign up and follow as well. Please comment and offer suggestions. I’d love to hear from you.
Photo credit: Rodney Conrad