Tony Robbins says “A real decision is measure by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, then you haven’t really decided.”
We’ve all heard the smoker or the alcoholic or drug addict say something along the lines of “I’ve really, really tried, but I just can’t do it!”
Here’s a fact, I started smoking at the age of 14. Everyone at school was doing it (well all the “bad” girls were), so I made a decision and that was that I would join them and smoke. So it wasn’t something that ‘happened’ to me or that I was forced into. It was a conscious decision that I took to put the cigarette into my mouth and light it and puff on it! It was also my decision to take the second puff, even though I had coughed badly and down the line it was also my decision to light the second cigarette and so on.
During the following years, I smoked a pipe as well as cigars. I actually gave up for six months in the early 70s and then I started again. It was a decision that I made and stuck to until one day after a particularly great meal out with friends, I was offered a cigar and accepted and smoked believing that it was a once off thing. It wasn’t. Here’s the thing, when you make a decision like stopping smoking the ‘action’ part of it has to be for the rest of your life, because if you let your guard down for one moment and you’re tempted, it’s over. . and you will have to start from the beginning again. I digress, back to the story. I never did smoke a cigarette again but I continued to smoke cigars and cigarillos, telling myself that they were better for me than cigarettes. Again, it was a decision that I made.
In 1993, full of sinus and respiratory problems, I again made the decision to stop smoking and I haven’t smoked anything since.
The bottom line is that this time, once I had made the decision, I acted on it and have acted on it every single day since then.
How did I manage this? My late father always used to say to me “You are not responsible for the name that you bring into this world because it is the name that I gave you, but you are responsible for the name that you take out of this world because it is the name that you have made for yourself.” Consequently I have always been very aware of the fact that I have to keep my word. When I say that I am going to do something, then I have to do it. It is my word, my bond, my name and it affects my credibility.
So this time when I made the decision to stop smoking, I told everybody that would listen and I’m pretty sure there were some who didn’t want to listen, that I would be stopping smoking as well as the date and time. In this way, I had no option but to stop as I had given my word and of course now my credibility was on the line.
Here’s the lesson, when you need to make a change in your life and you have made the decision, make sure that the ‘pain point’ is far greater that the ‘pleasure’.
In this case my ‘pain point’ being the loss of face and my credibility was (and still is) far greater than any pleasure that I have derived from smoking.
This knowledge has been one the most important lessons that I have learnt and one that I use on a daily basis and especially when I have to make an important decision.
What will hurt me more than what the pleasure is of doing . . . ?
It’s one that you could also us to help you when you need to make those important decisions that will change a habit.