How to Commit to Decisions

If you make sloppy commitments, you'll get sloppy results. Get-It-Done Guy explains how to get better results by using "should" instead of "will." 

Stever Robbins
2-minute read

How to Avoid Ambiguous DecisionsNo more fuzzy decisions!

The scale is telling you it’s time to hit the gym again. “I should start working out more,” you think. But each day when it gets to that time for a run, there’s some excuse standing in your way—the cat desperately needs a shampoo (cats often do, you know)—and your dreams of pumping iron fly out the window. The cat, meanwhile, is perfectly happy to forgo the shampoo so you can work out. Why did your plan fail? Your decision was too fuzzy.

If you want better results when you’re adding something to your routine, don’t make a decision that gives you wiggle room. Don’t say, “I should start working out more.” That’s fuzzy! Saying “should” sets your goal just out of arms' length, enabling you to let go of the goal right away. No one can get to this magical “should,” but, anyone can get to a “will.”

Next time you want to start a new habit, make an absolute decision with clear boundaries. Say “I will start brushing my teeth twice a day.” This sets a clear measure of exactly how much you’ll start doing the new thing, which will make your goal easier to track and easier to achieve. And of course, where there’s a “will” there’s a way. Saying “I will” is important. Where giving up was once an option, “I will” makes the goal mandatory.

Let’s say you want to start waking up earlier. But every morning when the alarm goes off, you hit the snooze button again and again until you have just enough time to throw on your pants or skirt, then bustle and stumble to work. Instead of just setting your first alarm an hour earlier so you can play the “deny the alarm clock game,” set one alarm at the time you want to wake up. Decide “I’m going to get up when the alarm goes off. Period.” When it goes off, no matter what excuses you come up with, you know the rule: get up and start moving. Before you know it, you’ll be doing yoga with the sunrise.

Pretty young woman making decision image courtesy of Shutterstock



About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.