We know that throughout our lives we will come across opportunities disguised as challenges, and often these are opportunities to change ourselves. I’ve previously discussed how to get motivated and how to deal with motivation fading. What I haven’t discussed is how to choose which changes to make.
My interests change rapidly – something that I may find inspiring one week bores me the next, while others things that I just try for the hell of it become huge parts of my life. Because of this, I try to weigh major life changes before I make them – and though I do not always make the correct decision, I feel that this process of introspection helps me make better decisions.
These four questions have profoundly impacted my life when I am faced with a difficult challenge or tasks. I hope they will provide as much guidance for you as they have for me. I may have read them before in a personal development book, but I cannot recall where, and could not find it via searching online.
The First Question: Do I Want To?
More important than anything else is considering what my goals are, and the expected end result of a particular project is. If this is not something I desire, then why am I doing it? For this reason, before I spend my time on anything, I ask myself:
“Do I want to make this change?”
Some of the things to consider when I am asking myself this question are:
- Is this the direction I want my life to go?
- Are the activities involved the way I want to spend my time?
- Are the end results consequences I desire?
The Second Question: Can I?
Regardless of whether other people think I can accomplish something or not, it’s important for me to believe I can.
Before embarking on a serious life change, it has to be something I truly believe I can do – or I’m already set up for failure. So once I’ve decided I want something, the next question to myself is always:
“Can I make this change?”
Here I am asking myself:
- Do I have the ability to make this change?
- Do I have the necessary tools to make this change?
- Do I have the time available to make this change?
- Do I have the support I need to make this change?
I must be able to completely, unconditionally answer this question with a “Yes.” If I say “no”, then I dig deeper:
- Why don’t I believe I can do this?
- Is there something about the situation I can change so I can accomplish this?
- Who can help me?
- What sacrifices can I make, and what commitments can I break to make this goal feasible?
Regardless of whether other people think I can accomplish something or not, it’s important for me to believe I can. If the answer to this question (“Can I?”) is yes, I then need to consider:
The Third Question: Will I?
“Will I make this change?”
This question sounds similar to the first, but it’s more a question of personal determination:
- Am I willing to make the sacrifices needed to make this change?
- Am I willing to work without encouragement or glory to make this change?
- Am I willing to endure long enough to see results from this change?
If I have the personal determination to accomplish my goal and make the change, then there is only one thing left for me to consider:
The Fourth, and Final, Question: When?
The final question is:
“When will I make this change?
If I can answer the first three questions truthfully with a resounding yes, then there is only one logical answer to this final quesiton:
If this change is something I want, something I can do, and something I will do – then there is no point in delaying it. There is no point in putting it off until tomorrow – I must take steps today towards it. Other people may disagree (and if you do, please share in the comments) – however my personal view is if I am truly willing to make the commitment and sacrifices needed, and my desire is strong enough – then there is no excuse for procrastinating another moment.
Printable Decision Tree (Flowchart) For Personal Change
Once you’ve read this article, you may want to apply this to your own life. Here’s a printable personal change flowchart you can use. Consider the answer to each question before you make a major personal change – and keep it somewhere you can see it, a daily reminder for yourself.
- Will Power: How To Improve Your Personal Self Discipline
- Persistence – Knocked Off His Stride, But Not Off His Feet
- The Flip Side of “HELL YEAH!” Or No – How About “HELL WHY NOT!”
- How To Get Motivated – 8 Tips to Break Your Motivational Funk
- How To Actively Take Control of Your Time and Your Life
- The Path, The Opportunity, Is Only Here For Today
- Procrastination Thumbscrews – Know Your Procrastinating and Time Wasting Weaknesses
Favorites This Week:
- The Number One Self-Development Mistake, And The Fake Growth Addict over at Illuminated Mind
- The Little Rules of Action over at Zen Habits
- 7 Reasons To Enjoy Life More by Dragos Roua
- Why Speakers Earn $30,000 an Hour
- In Defense of 1,000 True Fans
What do you think? Anything you’d like to add, or anything you disagree with?