The truth is each one of us is just one decision away from changing our lives forever. And, a second thought, your best decision is the one you’re about to make. For your life to be all that God wants it to be – that you want it to be – you need to understand that it’s the small choices no one sees that result in the big impact everyone wants.
If there is a goal you want to achieve, you have to make decisions that will move you in the direction you want to go. These are not big decisions. They are actually every day, small, often mundane decisions. However, they add up and determine where you end up in life. Andy Stanley in his book “The Principle of the Path” puts it this way: “Direction, not intention, determines destination.” And you set your direction in life one small decision at a time.
If you want to take aim at the life you want to live, you have to make small, life-changing choices and then act on them daily. The best decision you can make is always the next one. Each decision should move you closer to becoming all that God made you to be, to turn your life in the direction of your goals and dreams – and God’s plan for you. Most people look at others who are successful and figure they probably made just a handful of big, really important decisions. But the opposite is true. It’s the small choices no one sees that result in the big impact everyone wants.
When you choose to forgive your spouse instead of holding on to resentment, no one sees that happen. But the evidence is clear in your marriage. People may tell you how great they think your kids are without ever realizing that their maturity happened over time, growing slowly out of small decisions, daily boundaries, and tiny course corrections you planted throughout their lives. Coworkers who see you get a promotion probably have no idea how many times you had to ignore workplace politics and just keep bringing your best every day. Even your friends who attend your college graduation might not appreciate just how many late nights you spent studying while it seemed like everyone else was procrastinating or partying.
If you could take a step back and look at your life, you’s see that every decision matters, even the little ones. Many of our daily choices happen invisibly, almost by default, like taking the same route to work every day or hopping onto social media every time we have a spare moment. Every day, we decide what to wear, where to park, when to schedule the next meeting, how to explain some report, what to eat for dinner.
But it is critical to understand: these seemingly no-big-deal decisions add up over time. They become habits. And those habits have a cumulative effect, ultimately changing the story we tell with our lives and about our life.
Let me give you a few examples of things people end up doing that, if they thought about it, they never would choose to do:
- Most people who smoke never planned to become addicted to something that can kill them. They just decided to try it once to see if they liked it.
- People who end up embezzling probably didn’t set it as a long-range goal to steal from their employer. Most likely they began by “borrowing” a little from petty cash to pay for lunch here and there.
- People who have an affair didn’t just wake up one morning and think, “My spouse won’t mind if I get intimate with that hottie at the office.” It started back when they lingered a little after a meeting because they were enjoying the attention of a co-worker.
- Most failed entrepreneurs probably didn’t include bankruptcy in their startup plans. They just went over budget to take a risk they didn’t properly evaluate.
- People who find themselves hooded on prescription painkillers didn’t aspire to get arrested for driving under the influence and possessing illegal drugs. They were only looking for a little relief from chronic pain.
It’s easy to observe problems like these and think, I would never do such a thing! Nobody wants to be that guy, the one who lost his marriage because of his secret porn addiction. No woman wants her story to include gossip, shoplifting, and alcoholism. It’s tempting to think there’s no way you could become addicted to cigarettes, embezzle from your employer, cheat on your spouse, overspend your corporate budget, or keep taking pain meds after the pain stops.
Most of us struggle to connect the small daily choices we are constantly making with the big differences we want to see in our lives. But the truth is you are one decision away from changing your life forever. And, your best decision ever is the one you’re about to make – intentionally or unintentionally (just by deciding to do nothing).
So something to think about:
- What is something you should “start” to do today?
- What should you “stop” doing that will improve your daily life?
- What is it you are wanting to run from but should really simply embrace and “stay”?
- Where is God directing you to “go” in your walk with Him?
- Is there someone you can “serve” in the Name of Jesus?
- Who is it that God wants you to “connect” with?
- What is preventing you from “trusting” God with your whole life?
Seven areas where decisions can result in a big impact.