If you were to start applying everything we have discussed so far in making pre-decisions, how might that positively affect your life? Here are three immediate benefits:

1. Pre-Deciding Reduces the Number of Decisions to Make

Pre-deciding combats feeling overwhelmed by all of our choices, which can lead to decision fatigue. Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit every day. Did he just really love his black turtleneck, Levi’s 501s, and New Balance sneakers? No. But he knew that not having to choose his clothes every day freed up energy for more important decisions.

Billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio wrote a book about pre-deciding. In his book Principles: Life and Work, Dalio writes, “Without principles, we would be forced to react to all the things life throws at us individually, as if we were experiencing each of them for the first time.” He goes on to say: “Using principles is a way of both simplifying and improving your decision making . … [This] will allow you to massively reduce the number of decisions you have to make (I estimate by a factor of something like 100,000) and will lead you to make much better ones.”

2. Pre-Deciding Reduces the Fear of Deciding Wrong

We often make poor choices because we are driven or stopped by fear. We fear with good reason: because we know our record and how much we have fighting against us in the moment of decision.

But pre-deciding reduces our fear. Why? Because we base our decisions on our values. We discover, in advance, what is important to God and decide what is important to us, and we commit to make decisions that honor those values. In the pages to come, I hope to help you find clarity on what is important to you. We’re going to discover that when our values are clear, our decisions are easier.

3. Pre-Deciding Prevents Emotion from Taking Over

We want to live wise, God-honoring lives, but in the moment, our emotions often take over and hijack our integrity. That’s why we need to decide before the moment. That way, our emotions don’t get a vote.

It has been proven that this concept is the key to doing what you want to do. Peter Gollwitzer, a psychology professor at NYU, reviewed ninety-four studies that analyzed the effectiveness of pre-deciding by people who actually implement their best intentions. He concluded that having goals is no guarantee of success, because it doesn’t account for the barriers that will arise along the way. So what did ensure success? Pre-deciding what to do when faced with such barriers.

In another study, 368 people in orthopedic rehabilitation were split into two groups. One group set goals. The other set goals and also pre-decided what they would do to achieve them. Only those in the second group achieved their goals.

When we pre-decide, we let logic overrule emotion.

Craig Groeschel, Think Ahead: 7 Decisions You Can Make Today for the God-Honoring Life You Want Tomorrow (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2024), 7–9.

We have just released a 8-week study on the topic: Think Ahead by Craig Groeschel. You can get it on Amazon. It is also available as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking.