The following post was written several years ago from the perspective of one who has not always made the best decisions in life. I wonder who that could be??
But, I am learning. Since we are still early into the New Year of 2014, I re-wrote this to share four principles that help me make better decisions.
1. Weigh the decisions you make before the decisions you make weigh you down.
Every day I meet people who are prisoners of their own body because of poor lifestyle decisions they made throughout the years, little choices that ended up having a cumulative affect on their health. Giving in to the temptation of the moment resets the course of their life.
I have visited people who are spending years in prison because they failed to weigh the consequences of a single decision. Whether you’re dealing with the physical, spiritual, or social dimensions of your life, what you do today matters. Weigh your decisions carefully.
2. Keep your ultimate goal in mind.
Years ago I read about a pro golfer who prepared for each major tournament by going to the very last hole and working his way backward He would stand on hole 18 looking back at the course. From there he would plan where his drive or fairway shot needed to land to give him the best opportunity to get his approach shot close to the pin. Then he would walk back to that spot and calculate what kind of shot he would have to make from the tee box to put him in that position.
He would walk the entire course backward planning where to hit each shot to set him up for success at the 18th hole. Stephen Covey said, in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,”Begin with the end in mind.” Know what you want to accomplish with your life. Then work backward from there to so that each shot you take puts you in the best position to reach that goal.
3. Recognize the importance of little things
My friend Phil Waltrep tells a story that illustrates how little things make a big difference. One day he discovered that the foundation of his house was settling to the point that the structural integrity of his entire home was threatened. The problem was due to a small leak in the gutter system. One drip at a time the defective gutter had deposited tens of thousands of gallons of water that eroded the soil at the foundation of the house.
Likewise, little decisions over time can threaten the quality of a life. But there is hope! Phil recognized the problem, fixed the gutter and repaired the foundation.
If you ask him what he would have done different, his response would be. “I’d would have fixed it sooner. Eliminate the destructive drips in your life.
Conversely, good drips can create character and foundational strength that lead to living fully alive. As a boy I visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. I stood in awe of the majestic and beautiful stalagmites, rising hundreds of feet from the cave floor. The guides said that they were formed over thousands of years one tiny drip at a time. The decisions you make today can be the foundation or the seeds of destruction to your success tomorrow.
No decision is a small decision.
Every action is worthy of careful consideration.
No matter where you are in life and regardless of the decisions you have made, your next decision can be a good one.
4 Recognize God’s mercies are new every morning.
Today is a new day. Don’t sacrifice tomorrow’s opportunity on the altar of today’s desire.