Balancing Daily Decisions with Desires

Daily decisions

All too often our decisions tear down our self-respect

By Caroline Crowder

Remember that one time you played hooky on a Friday afternoon so you didn’t have to balance your books? Yep, that time. Then remember how you developed a bad habit of mentally (or maybe even physically) checking out of the office by 3:00 on Fridays?

We know from psychological research that our daily decisions subconsciously determine our intrinsic level of self-respect and self-belief. Our daily minor decisions compound into major implications in our work routine, which then transfer to our personal lives and vice versa.

If we leave the office on Fridays at 3:00 because we associate the dreaded balancing of the books with work on Friday afternoons, we not only cultivate a negative association with working on Friday afternoons. We also lose 104 hours of productivity over the course of a year that we can never devote to growing our companies.

Daily decisions have consequences, for better or worse

The lost hours are consequence enough. But I want to encourage you to reconsider the effects on your mindset and the lack of discipline exhibited when choosing the less-than-ideal option.

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On average, we make 35,000 daily decisions. Of these, 40% to 95% are habitual and don’t even register in our minds before we proceed. So how do we go about re-engineering these poor habits?

Most decision-making models will outline things like defining the problem, evaluating alternatives and weighing the pros and cons of each decision before reaching a conclusion. I don’t know about you, but I (and I assume you, as well) don’t have time to do that for the 35,000 individual decisions I face daily. So, I adopted a simple question that I ask myself when I feel my mindset torn between pleasure and fun and discipline: does this decision draw me closer or push me further from my goals?

I’ve also found these two mental pivots resulted in me making better decisions when faced with multiple opportunities:

Mindset Shift: Change your viewpoint on decisions. Decisions are opportunities to achieve your personal and professional goals. They can also be opportunities to self-impose a setback in your journey. You must choose which opportunistic mindset you want to have.

Ownership of Outcome: When you define and commit to your goals, you must decide that you are capable.  In doing so, you assume ownership, which results in individual responsibility to define the plan to achieve your goal. You are now responsible for making the daily decisions that keep you on the path to achieving your goals. This step is vital because, over time, we can build upon our self-belief and start to dream more, achieve more and do more.

Inevitably, we are going to make some poor choices along the way.

That’s why granting ourselves flexibility in our goal plan is important. When you know you could have made a better decision, have the discipline to correct the next decision and ensure you are realigning yourself on the path to your goals. The roads we travel are about maintaining consistency, not ensuring we are riding on a newly paved road in a Tesla.

The best part about all of this is that you do not need permission to make decisions; you’re in control of your decisions! You simply need to cultivate the will to become better and the courage to change.

Your confidence will thank you for sticking to the plan.


Quoted multiple times in Inc Magazine, Caroline Crowder is a relentless advocate for the state of South Carolina as fertile breeding grounds for entrepreneurship.