Fourteen years ago today, I made a decision.
On 4th February, 2006, at around midday I guess, I was sitting in a personal development seminar in London, listening to the presenter talking about the power of making a real decision.
At that time, I was 35 years of age, I was very overweight, around 226 pounds (103 kilos, BMI of about 30), smoking, drinking daily, not exercising very much, had terrible bad skin problems, nasal congestion problems, and hated myself for how I looked and felt.
I had ‘tried’ for years to quit smoking, but always failed. Justifications about the waste of money, the idea that I might die of cancer some decades later, just didn’t seem to have enough mental leverage on me.
In 20 years of smoking, for 17 years of that time I had tried to quit. I had quit hundreds of times, sometimes lasting a few hours, sometimes a few days, weeks or months, but I always went back to it. I just liked it too much. I wanted to smoke. In a mind that frequently defaulted to self-loathing, smoking was an escape, a guilty pleasure that relaxed me.
The presenter explained that the word decision shares the same Latin root as the word incision. Decision literally means “to cut off” in the context of “to cut off from any other option or possibility.” He explained that a real decision is a powerful commitment to a set course of action. He lamented that folks have ‘weak decision making muscles’ these days, making decisions about what to have for dinner, but not about how to live more fulfilling lives.
I listened, and it really hit home with me.
In one of those wonderful moments of clarity (call it a light bulb moment, an epiphany, whatever you like) I realised “I want to be a healthy person!”
In that moment, my mind held a clear vision of myself as one of those people you meet who just looks and acts healthy, bouncy, energetic, oozing wellness and energy and enthusiasm for life. Tanned and smiling, bright eyed and bouncy. I wanted to be that person.
I stood up and left the room, walked to the nearest bin, took out my packet of cigarettes, crushed them up and threw them in.
Not a glimmer of emotion.
I just smiled, felt good about my decision, and have never wanted one since. No effort. No struggle. No cravings. No will power. No patches or gum. I just decided I wanted to be a healthy person, and healthy people don’t smoke. Smoking no longer fit with my identity, I had changed, I had made a decision about the man I wanted to be.
14 years today.
That’s the power of making a firm decision.
Maybe you already know my story, and I’ll keep it very brief here, but that day started a decade plus quest for good health. In the months and years following that day…
- I transformed my health completely
- Lost 101 pounds of unwanted bodyfat
- Quit smoking (14 years today)
- Quit drinking (8 years, 1 month and counting)
- Cured my health conditions
- Came off 17 years of prescription medications
- Learned everything I could about health, nutrition, weight loss, exercise, disease prevention, longevity and more
- Attended seminars and conferences and training events
- Read over 847 books and research papers and reports about every aspect of health and nutrition and physical training
- Started running
- Completed 14 marathons and two ultramarathons
- Cycled John O’Groats to Land’s End
- Trained as a Personal Trainer
- Created Mother Nature’s Diet as my personal blog
- Formulated the 12 Core Principles
- Mother Nature’s Diet (MND) became my business
- Quit my job and closed my previous company to run MND
It all started that day, 14 years ago today, in that hour, that minute, that empowered me to throw those cigarettes away. In those ten or twenty seconds that I made that decision, as that vision unfolded in my mind, as I changed my identity of who I wanted to be, I started a journey that ultimately shaped my life for the last 14 years.
That’s the long term power of making a firm decision.
Life-changing in so many ways.
My health, my self-confidence, my life, hobbies, career, most of the people I now spend my time with, my circle of friends, countries I have been to, and if I now live 20 years longer, then everything I do in those 20 years, it will all be down to that one decision I made in that one minute, at about midday on the 4th February 2006.
So, the point of this post is this…
Do you have weak decision making muscles?
Have you been making weak wishes, lame daydreams, vague ideas, and calling them decisions?
Is it time to muscle up, to level up your decision making skillset, and make a clear firm decision or two about where you are going in your life, about what you want, who you want to be, and what you are now determined to do to get there?
It only takes one seemingly small decision to change the entire course of your life.
Time to flex those decision making muscles, you have so many exciting tomorrows to look forward to.
More power to ya.