Before I get into why adopting the approach of re-decision is so critical I want to talk about what I call “life check-ups” because re-decision is part of this bigger idea.
We do routine check-ups throughout the year for our physical bodies – going to the dentist, physician, eye doctor etc. It’s important to check-in and make sure we are in good health, to maintain that good health or change something if we need to. Getting our teeth cleaning prevents us from getting cavities. Going to your mammogram can catch breast cancer at an early stage. Finding out you have high-cholesterol can lead to changing what you eat.
This same idea of check-ups is important for our life. These life check-ups are checking in on a regular basis with yourself to live an active life rather than a passive one. A few things should be part of these life check-ups, but the one I want to focus on is re-decision. A lot more weight is put on our decision-making in the present and future while the concept and importance of re-decision that re-visits our past is often ignored.
Re-decide you want to stay in this relationship, on this career path, spending your money in this way, living in this city, following this diet, investing in these friendships, or adhering to this daily routine. OR proactively decide you don’t.
Re-decision is what keeps you from living on the trajectory of past decisions that are no longer the right decisions. It’s a way of thinking about decisions from a different angle. Not changing something is a decision. Inaction IS action.
EMBRACING RE-DECISION OPENS UP YOUR LIFE IN A FEW WAYS
Overtaking History Bias
One of the laws of life is that the only thing that is certain is that everything is uncertain, it will always be changing. The circumstances surrounding the decision you made in the past will not remain the same. Your values will evolve, your desires will expand, who you are and who the other people are in your life will change. You will gain new experiences and knowledge. Yet we have a natural bias towards not wanting to change and to stick with whatever decision we made just because we made it in the past. We have a “history bias” and are good at coming up with a reason of why we should hold onto a previous decision, our status quo.
When you actively participate in re-decision you ask yourself,” “if I had to make the same decision today would I make the same one?” It’s giving yourself an open invitation to change your mind for the better, be wiser and reflect. If this was a fresh “brand new” decision I was making with the information I have today would I choose something different? An important part of any sort of decision-making is liking your reason for why you are making the decision. “I’ve been doing it so long,” or “it’s what I’ve always done” or “I’ve already invested so much time” aren’t good reasons for staying stuck in past choices.
Re-deciding When Things Are Still “Good”
We often wait until things get downright shitty to serve as a catalyst to re-visit a previous decision. Choosing to say goodbye when you are on a high note and things are good (or at least not terrible) is an extremely beneficial attitude to have that will serve you well. Don’t wait until things hit rock bottom in absolute misery to leave that person, job, or city. Know when things have served their purpose and don’t align with what you want for your future. Give yourself permission to leave things when you are still happy. Your job might be good, you might be quite comfortable and content but knowing where you want to be 5 years from now it’s not the best decision to stay. Your relationship might be good but deep down you know you want more. Save yourself the time, energy and pain by being strategic and pivoting when it’s time to pivot.
Stop Yourself from Living An Outdated Life and Better Create Your Future
Re-decision is essentially decision, but it’s HOW we think about it in our minds that makes it different. It’s asking yourself does something I decided in the past fit with where I am at today and where I want to be tomorrow? It’s training your brain to question your previous choices with an open mind and not continue with them on default mode. It helps you analyze past decisions through the filter of what you want for your future. Does this decision still align with what I want my life to be down the road? Decisions are meant to have expiration dates, if your life is full of expired decisions you will be living an outdated version of your life.
Evaluate Your Choices
Make the time for life-checkups, set aside the time to think. If you don’t make the time it won’t just happen, put it on your calendar for every month. Take a step back to evaluate the things in your life you have chosen, both big and small.
Do you want to re-decide…
To stay with that gym membership you rarely use? OR do you decide it would be better to find a workout you actually like enough to go to?
To live in this city? You visited a new city you LOVE that has more of the vibe and culture that fits with you. If you had a fresh new decision to make of where to live and you weren’t currently in your city you know you wouldn’t choose where you are currently living.
To stay in your relationship or break-up? You have invested so much time with this person and things are still “good” but you don’t want the same things for the future. You know that just because you invested so much time with them isn’t a good reason to stick with the wrong person, that decision doesn’t align with what you want in your future.
To keep your house or sell? At one point this was your dream house and you could afford it. Circumstances have changed with your divorce and it’s a stretch to live there. You would rather have money to invest in a business and downsize.
I know so many people, myself included, who would have saved themselves so much wasted time, unnecessary suffering, and confusion if they had understood re-decision. Pay attention to your past decisions and pro-actively re-decide to continue on the same path strategically, to remind yourself of why you are choosing it and go all in. OR choose a different path that fits with what you want your life to be.