How to Commit and Make the Right Decisions

By Dr. Molly Barrow, Ph.D.

Do you stand immobile at a fork in your career road? Do you feel ambiguous about your job, relationship or purpose? Here are some helpful tips to find the right path to solid psychological ground.

1. Commit to Yourself First: Commitment to yourself means that you work hardest for your dreams and goals, not everyone else’s. Do you feel powerless? You are powerful. The power to change is already in you. Your accomplishments reflect your commitment because even with some bad luck along the way, committed people can become president or famous or happy. You can rarely attain big goals without commitment as a top value. Commitment means that if you decide to lose five pounds or fifty, you do not take a few walks then give up. Instead, you work up to a walk of an hour or two each day until you succeed. Commitment means that your finish the projects. Commitment means you show up. Whatever it takes, you are committed. Commitment starts in the morning and runs until you fall asleep. A nasty failure-voice that says you deserve a break or a treat is not your friend. Commitment bears the pain and deserves the win.

2. This is Your Doing: Where you are today is a result of your patterns and past choices. Repeat often, “I gladly take responsibility for changing my life.” If you blame someone else, the world, your partner or God because you are not happy, then you will remain absolutely glued to your excuses and blaming. To get control of your own life means you stop whining and blaming others. If you want things to be different, then you must be the one to do it. Other people are busy with their own lives. They will walk right over you and not even notice that you were waiting for someone to make you happy, to fix your pain or to balance your checkbook. What is the point of a lame attitude that is mostly concerned with looking innocent? “I didn’t do it.” Would you want those words to be a synopsis of an entire irresponsible life? After today, eagerly say, “I did it!” regarding your life decisions.

3. Who Do You Want to Be? Sometimes societal pressures push you into desperately settling for any job or relationship just to fulfill the role. Loss of self-esteem is just one of the severe consequences resulting from succumbing to predetermined societal roles or familial roles. What do you value about your life? List your goals and values in a hierarchy of what is the most important. When you become rock solid with your values then pervasive change happens. Did you include your health near the top? Without your health, you will not have much time to work on your other values and goals. As you take baby-steps in the direction of your “self,” expect a backlash of resistance from family and friends who may try to keep you neatly placed as the “old you.” That is because they are afraid of change.

4. Feel the Force: You are more than just an individual; you have history! Your DNA goes back to the first people on earth. You have a connection with all the people who have ever lived and strived from the beginning of human history. You can add self-esteem by the ton to whatever you have accomplished in your own life if you think of yourself as a link in a wonderful chain. Remember the people who have died to win us our freedom from old enemies that we now call our friends, from prejudice, chauvinism, religious intolerance, serfdom, slavery—the list goes on back through history. You come from a long line of people who made good enough decisions to survive and reproduce. Pretend the heroes and heroines of yesterday are watching. A good decision gene is in you somewhere.

5.  Personal Goals and Values: Do you only “follow directions” or do you “think for yourself?” The personal goals and values you choose are the road signs of every decision you make. What you do is a part of the whole and can affect many other lives. Make sure the voice in your head is your own and that your decisions are not just what you were “told” by someone else. List your personal goals and values and really think them through. Your health, your family’s health, your children as a priority, your job as a priority, love, peace of mind, safety, clean world, food, and water, honesty, integrity, sacrificing now for a peaceful, secure future, God, and country-all are possible directions and values to incorporate in your plan. Think of each of these virtues in the big picture, from a global perspective right down to your own neighborhood and your life.

6. Stand Up: If you just lie there like a doormat, everyone will walk all over you. That is your fault for lying down on the floor and letting them. The stronger, more aggressive person will trudge right over you to get what they want. Until the weaker person becomes stronger, to the point of balance and equity, their business and personal relationships are horribly unbalanced and eventually fail. Will the strong-willed partner notice the inequity of the relationship and help the weaker one? No. Whatever is different about your beliefs, you can voice your opinion and have a “say.” Because each time you do, the prison door opens a little more for oppressed people everywhere.

7. Take the Hurts: Take your hits like a winner, admit that you blew it, make the best of a situation or leave it, then continue to whistle while you work. No one wants to come near a big baby, much less take the time to assist you in achieving your personal goals if you just sit there complaining. Choose to take responsibility for you, stand up, move forward and clean up any mess yourself.

8. There is Room at the Top: Greed spawns much abuse around the world. You can be someone better than that. Helping others succeed will build your success and is far more rewarding than trampling people on your way to the top. Take your posse with you and share the wealth and credit. Ask yourself if your plans impinge on anyone else in a way that he or she can no longer be free. You cannot predict how or when your small act of kindness, compassion or courage might change the world or land you a promotion.

9. Keep it Real: Without integrity in both public and private actions, the direction you take will have little to do with a positive outcome. Can you raise your self-esteem and stand for more by selecting different values? When you incorporate good values that are your preferences, you will be proud of yourself, and so will your associates and family. Right now, you could begin to stand for something great. Real life soap operas have taught us many powerful and important lessons on the absurdity of life, proving the maxim: “You always get caught,” and the first rule of happiness is to: Stop Lying.

10. Commit for the Duration: The last stretch of your journey may require some reaching. Maybe you do not have complete assurance that you will succeed, but you get out there anyway and pound away at your goal. Eventually, one day, you are there. Significant change in your life is only possible with this kind of commitment. Do you admire people who commit to their goals? If so, then choose to commit to what you want now and if it is not what you want later, you can change direction again. Feel confident, let go of all the wavering, questioning and vacillating of indecision and simply move forward on your path!

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Molly Barrow.

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