We all talk to ourselves, maybe not out loud, but there is a conversation going on inside all of us all the time. Sometimes it turns into a monologue but a lot of the time we are conducting a dialogue within ourselves. This is the way we make decisions. By debating the pros and cons of any situation, we eventually reach our conclusion and act accordingly.
Anyone who has needed to make a tough decision will know that feeling of being swayed one way and then another, making a decision and then unmaking it before remaking it. Once we have acted in accordance with our eventual decision, we often continue the debate and wonder if the decision was the right one after all.
Although we have committed ourselves to a course of action, we can’t help wondering about the eventual outcome of our decision. Even when it is too late for a change of mind and we will have to follow our chosen path, we can’t halt this internal debating process. This is where we have another choice to make. We can waste untold amounts of energy by electing to agonise over the decision we have already made, asking ourselves if we did the right thing and worrying about the outcome. Alternatively, we can choose to tell ourselves that the decision has been made and we have the ability to see it through to a successful conclusion.
If we carry on worrying about whether we made the correct decision, we will be wasting valuable energy instead of using it to work towards our goals. We will also be creating a state of mind where negative feelings can easily take root. Self doubt will erode any positive feelings we had to start with and we will lose all confidence in our ability to succeed. In continuing to doubt our abilities, we will encourage the tiny seeds of self doubt to grow up all around us into a deep dark forest of negativity where we could search for all eternity but never find our self confidence again.
Once you have made a final decision, don’t waste your energy by replaying the decision making process in search of a possible error. Don’t waste your time in imagining all sorts of possible unsatisfactory outcomes. Remember, you already discussed the matter fully between you and yourself and reached a conclusion. Now it is time to look forward. Now is the time to plan for success.
Counteract any niggling doubts by concentrating on the reasons why you made that decision. If you wrote a list of pros and cons during the time you were considering your decision, rip up the list of cons and throw it away. While doing this, picture yourself doing it and feeling positive and happy about having made your decision. Pick a quiet time when you are alone each day and visualise yourself throwing away the “bad” list and feeling good about it. After repeatedly performing this visualisation exercise for a couple of weeks, you will be able to invoke the positive feeling associated with your mental picture as an antidote to negativity any time you start to feel anxious about your abilities.
If you did not make written lists to help with the decision making, it is a good idea to write a list of your reasons in favour of the decision once you have committed yourself to a course of action. Keep a copy of your “positive” list on your office wall or the refrigerator door, or any place you will see it regularly, as a reminder of all the good reasons for choosing the path you are on.
Build up your self confidence by making daily affirmations. Write down a list of positive statements to affirm the person you are, the abilities you possess that will help you reach your goals and the things you will do to ensure you achieve success. Write these statements in groups of “I am”, “I can” and “I will”. They don’t need to be great long lists, just a couple from each category can be sufficient to boost your self esteem.
Write your affirmation statements on cards and place the cards in positions where you will see them several times each day, such as on your bathroom mirror, on your desk at work, on the refrigerator door. Make it a habit to speak your affirmation statements aloud several times each day when you are alone. Speak them in your mind any time doubts threaten your belief in yourself.
“All we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha