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When One Moment Will Determine Success or Failure

When one moment will determine success or failure

Everyone knows the feeling.  Whether it is the alarm going off in the morning, an angry customer that is expecting a call back, or looking at a menu full of delicious options when you promised yourself you will start to eat healthy.  Whenever there is something that we should do and something that we want to do, there always exists a split second where we decide.  We procrastinate and delay the decision.  This drains our will power.  We think, “I can start tomorrow”, “I can wait until later” or “maybe I’ll work out next week.”  

Utilizing systems to accomplish our goals is a great way to reduce the length and significance of these little moments.  But they still exist.  You may find ways to quit smoking by distracting yourself but there will be a moment when you really, really want to smoke (insert your own here: eat fast food, get desert, take a nap, sleep in, avoid that angry customer etc.).  

These are the moments that send you backwards and erase the good that you have done, or they propel you forward with a new confidence that you can do this.  This decision is more important than any passion, drive, or effort.  It is more important that all the planning, strategy, or goal setting.  

There are several keys to beating this moment, certain things that can be done to help you defeat this moment.

  • Try to plan around this moment if possible - Avoid the buffet if you are trying to eat healthy, don’t buy the donuts, and don’t put yourself in a situation where you are around the things that you are trying to avoid.  While this isn’t always possible, I am amazed by the number of people that flirt with the opposite sex, meet them out for drinks and expect them to avoid adultery at the last moment.  They built and built to that moment and made it extremely difficult to make the right decision.  Instead they could have made that decision before it became big by avoiding it all together.  
  • Don’t give yourself a choice - I find that it is extremely difficult for me to choose between unhealthy, delicious food and healthy, bland food.  It is almost impossible for me when I am hungry to decide.  But, it is easy for me to make that decision when I am not hungry.  Therefore, I try to avoid purchasing these items at the grocery store.  Then, when I go to grab a bite to eat, I am left with all healthy choices.  My mind then turns to “how can I make these more enjoyable” rather than trying to convince myself that I should grab the healthy, bland food.  
  • 100% or 99% - Being 99% committed means almost certain failure.  If you are 99% committed to something you will have to fight with yourself over and over to reach your goal.  Any little obstacle will rise up and become this huge mountain in your way.  If you are 100% committed most of the little obstacles never turn into huge mountains because you already made the decision before it grew and grew.
  • Understand that you don’t have to decide forever, just decide this moment - The first few times I tried to quit smoking I realized that this decision was nearly impossible to overcome.  I would fight with myself and use every ounce of self control to avoid smoking.  I failed many times before I finally realized that I would build this up to a point where it became a huge task.  Instead I started to say to myself “I don’t have to quit forever, but right now is not the moment that pushes me back to cigarettes.”  I point to this one line as the reason I was able to quit smoking.  I stopped worrying about every future opportunity to smoke and only focused on right now.  I make it a small fight that I could win.  
  • Understand the magnitude of this moment and understand that beating this means that almost any goal that you set, can be accomplished - As you begin to realize that this moment can’t defeat you, you start to build a new confidence.  You have confidence that you can do what is necessary to succeed.  You open up new goals that you previously thought were impossible.  You change habits that you thought were ingrained.  Most importantly you become the type of person that is always willing to do what is necessary to thrive.  You are able to do what most people aren’t willing to do.