The Power of Choice and How You Can Reclaim Your Life by Mastering It

Do you feel like you lack the willpower to succeed in achieving your financial goals?

You might be surprised to learn that your lack of willpower is not the problem. That’s right willpower is not your problem. The real problem is that you’re not taking the time to make the choices that will help you reach your goals.

That sounds so simple but it”s true. Some people might disagree with that but let me explain.

For years I have struggled with the consequences of my bad decisions — both in health and in finances. On my journey to health, I’ve beat myself up day after day and often exhaustively concluded that I lacked the willpower to succeed.

Talk about self sabotage!

Willpower comes down to making the right choice but the problem is that we are often walking through life on auto-pilot and instead of stopping to think about making the right choice, our sub-conscious mind decides for us. Habits become second nature and therefore we continue to make some of the same decisions time after time although it directly contradicts what we want and desire.

We think about what we want but unless we also think about how we’re going to get there our busy mind takes over and chooses for us by doing what we’re already so used to doing.

That’s why I absolutely love a technique I have learned during my journey to optimal health. Notice I didn’t refer to is as my weight loss journey. Weight loss is not the goal — optimal health is — so instead of focusing on what I don’t want (being fat — problem-solving orientation), I’m focused on what I do want (optimal health — outcome orientation). The following technique can help you in all areas of your life and I have already benefited from it immensely!


Here’s how it works:


Suspend all action, take a deep breath, and center yourself.

This is a crucial step in the process because when you stop yourself before making a mindless decision, you’re able to regain control of the thought process.

I have found that when I’m about to do something I know I shouldn’t do — like eat a double cheeseburger with a large fry — I have only ONE chance to stop myself in my tracks. Once I’ve already made the decision –either sub-consciously or not — it’s a done deal. In other words, even though I know I’m making a mistake, once the decision is made I rarely change my mind. That was a life changing realization!

That’s the power of choice!

Therefore I have found that stopping myself before I’ve made a decision is CRITICAL TO MY SUCCESS!


Ask yourself what is causing you to want or do whatever it is? Then ask yourself what you really want.

In this step I think it’s important to know what your fundamental goals are. In your case you want to get out of debt, better control your spending, save for retirement etc. By asking yourself if that purchase will put you closer to your goals it allows you to make a conscious decision to do what you know you should do because reaching your goal is more important to you than the instant gratification you’ll experience if you buy the item.


Now it’s time to choose. Do you want to reach your goals? Hopefully after giving your decision some thought, you will have come to the conclusion that reaching your goals is most important to you.

I should point out that where you are today directly reflects the decisions you’ve made up until now. That’s important to understand because buying one impulse purchase or eating one chocolate chip cookie won’t kill you, but it’s many of those decisions added up over time that has put you where you are. Try to avoid justifying one bad decision as if it won’t affect you down the road because it will.

— based on The Habits of Health written by Dr. Wayne Andersen

I hope this technique helps you gain control of your impulses so that you can reach your goals and live the life you want rather than the life you’re forced to live because of your circumstances.

The choice is yours to make. Good luck! πŸ˜€

Weight loss update: Using this technique and others I have successfully and permanently lost 51.5 pounds in 14 weeks. Next week I should be in the 240’s which would be the first time since 2002. I currently weigh 252 down from 303.5 and I FEEL GREAT! My wife has also lost 39 pounds!! I only have 62 more pounds to lose to reach my goal weight of 190!


About Brad Chaffee

13 Responses to “The Power of Choice and How You Can Reclaim Your Life by Mastering It”

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  1. Julia says:

    WELL DONE BRAD! Thanks for sharing your story here.

  2. Travis says:

    First and foremost, let me once again re-iterate the fact that you ROCK! You look so different – you are well on your way to optimal health! I have the same perspective on my journey out of debt – being debt free is not the goal – it is simply a beneficial side effect. The goal is to make the right financial choices, spend less than we earn, and change our behaviors. Sure, we could limp along in our Debt Management Program, not really change our habits, but somehow get by….but once we complete our program we’d just spiral back into debt. Something has to change, or the outcome will just be the same.

    You’re inspirational as always, my friend – 6 weeks to #fincon12 – looking forward to hangin’ with the new and improved You!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      You and I are a lot a like good sir! I can’t wait to hang out with you and Vonnie at FINCON12! This year is going to be even better! I look forward to it!

      In 6 weeks I could lose an additional 20-30 pounds which would put me in the 220’s — only 30+ pounds away from my goal weight of 190. Damn that motivates me!! LOL

  3. Congratulations on your success so far! These are great words to live by. We often think of lofty goals but forget that, to achieve them, we have to do so through small decisions we make each day. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Dena says:

    Way To Go BRAD!!!! You look great.The hard work is paying off.

  5. Wow congrats man! I know all the discipline and commitment it requires to loose weight and stay fit. I have lost 55 pounds too!

    I dont know why but I have discipline for diet, but not for excersise, thats a big challenge for me and I always have to keep pushing myself to do some sports.

    Thanks and Congrants.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks and congratulations to you too Jairo! I had the exact opposite problem. I had discipline for exercise but not diet. πŸ™‚ And my debt was so easy to eliminate than the pounds have been. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. πŸ˜€

  6. JoeAnn says:

    Love the breakdown in the decision-making. I def needed this reminder as we continue to keep working on getting out of debt.

    I run and bike and totally think about everything I eat as my weight is a reflection of every small decision I make in life – now time to apply this to the financial life as well.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      JoeAnn it has revolutionized my decision-making and made things that were once much harder (or impossible) doable and more than possible! The key is INTRINSIC MOTIVATION. It’s when the answers that you answer about where you want to be motivate you (because the answers are important to you) all the way to success.

      The motivation you want to avoid comes from a problem-solving orientation. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want and you will get the results you are looking for. It’s such a great psychological technique and way for you to slowly eliminate bad behaviors (in my case — obesogenic behaviors) and one at a time add good behaviors (or leptogenic behaviors).

  7. Jeanette says:


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