If you could change your life around in the blink of an eye, what would you change?
Would you finally enter that lifting competition you’ve been eyeing? Would that business idea turn you into an uber-successful millionaire? Would that dream relationship finally come to fruition? Would traveling around the world whenever you want actually be a possibility?
It may sound like these questions serve no other purpose other than a chance to daydream, but what if we indulged in them a bit more?
Recently, I sat with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years and pondered questions like the ones above out loud. From my friend’s perspective, dramatic change was next to impossible due to family, responsibilities, not enough money, relationships, jobs, etc. All valid but all very figureoutable (not a word, but go with me here).
I believe wholeheartedly that we can turn things around if we really want to. Excuses show up as barriers to test how badly we want something and are completely possible to overcome. How? It all starts with a single decision. Let’s walk down memory lane for a bit….
Seven years ago, I found myself kayaking in California feeling very unfulfilled and not excited about where my life was headed back East. I was 24-years-old, had three years of law school ahead of me, and would quite possibility lead a very successful, happy life. But something about this path didn’t feel right. All the years I put in preparing myself for this venture suddenly felt like a prison sentence, and I knew something had to change.
It was in a moment of brief stillness that I felt a stirring somewhere inside of me and heard a very soft, gentle whisper that said Move here. The voice was so clear and certain that by the time I reached shore, I had already decided to move.
I sold all my belongings, subleased my apartment, moved in with my parents, took up every teaching gig I could find to make extra money for a solid year. I felt so certain about my decision that it sparked massive action right away, and all my decisions thereafter were made based on whether or not it supported my move to California.
Now you may say That’s nice Trish, but I’m not in my 20s anymore. I have responsibilities I can’t just throw to the wind.
Hey, I get that. Mortgages, kids, careers, family and other responsibilities keep us in the city that no longer serves us, in communities that stifle us, and stuck in careers that no longer fulfill or challenge us. But it’s harder to stay where we are knowing we can do so much better. And the toughest part starts at the beginning, with the decision.
Decision propels us into action, and action begets more action, until eventually we find ourselves living a completely different life than we ever imagined.
Decide, Act, Make a Life
It breaks my heart when perfectly intelligent, capable women feel stuck with what they have and where they’re at in life, health, fitness, even relationships. They complain about it, drink over it, eat through it and nothing changes because let’s face it, they’ve subconsciously decided to stay where they are. Whether you realize it or not, feeling stuck is a collection of all the conscious and subconscious choices we make on a daily basis.
What if instead we considered the possibilities of taking bold action? How much would the world open up for you if you simply made the decision to act? Here is what NOT taking action looks like:
I want to start that business but I can’t afford to quit my job.
I wish I could wear those little shorts to the gym but I need to lose a few more pounds first.
I wish I had a loving relationship but I guess this casual thing is good for right now.
Do you see how it all centers itself on “wants,” “wishes” and “buts”? It’s okay to have desires but if we’re not taking any action toward making them a reality then we shouldn’t complain about them because we’ve chosen that as our reality.
Now imagine if you simply challenged yourself to make a decision around the things mentioned above. Here’s what that might look and sound like:
I want to start a business but need to save money. I plan to quit my job in 18 months after saving up at least $15,000.
I wish I could wear little shorts to the gym with confidence, so I’m going to hire a trainer that can help me achieve those goals over the next six months.
I want to be in a meaningful relationship so I’m going to make an effort to meet people and only invest my energy in those with real potential.
Notice now how much those statements changed. They sound more confident, attainable, and most importantly, they reflect an actual decision.
We need to do more than hope and wish for the life of our dreams, we need to decide, and then ACT.
We can decide to remain broke or build a business that supports a lifestyle we desire. We can decide to stay in a relationship that is so-so or put in effort towards bettering ourselves and investing in relationships that reflect our values and desires. We can choose to stay at the same weight forever and never wear what we want or we can choose to start working out consistently, building better habits, and loving ourselves more. These all start with ONE decision.
There is power in deciding. Once we do, the Universe conspires to bring us closer to that decision, even if it takes months or years to bring it to fruition.
Make a decision, and then go make a life.