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1. How to pick a single, impactful goal

2. Create an actionable plan

3. Build the habits and skills you need to succeed

With real-life examples, practical tools, and guaranteed progress for committed individuals, this session is your first step towards a more organized life.

How to Navigate Decisive Moments: Impulse Control & Positive Decision Making

Do you dream of the perfect morning routine? Mine would look like this:

⏰ Get up at 5:30 AM without hitting snooze. 

🛏️ Make the bed.

🧘‍♂️ Meditate.

🙆 Stretch.

☕️ Coffee.

📖 Read.

On occasion, I pull it off. But, that's rare. Instead, this is more likely:

⏰ Press snooze until 6:30 AM

📱 Doom scroll Instagram until 6:57 AM

🏃‍♂️ Rush out of bed and stressfully get ready for my day

After speaking with friends, I learned many neurodivergent adults struggle to stick to a morning routine.

So, I did some research, tinkered with my methods, and finally created a morning routine I actually stick to.

⏰ Get up before 6:30 AM (I hit snooze at least 2x)

📖 Read for 5 minutes.

🧘‍♂️ Meditate.

☕️ Coffee.

Is this easy? Not at all. When the alarm buzzes, I don't want to get up. 

But, I learned how to reduce the resistance. It begins by conquering the first decisive moment of your day. 

In this article, I teach you how to recognize decisive moments, control your impulses, and make positive decisions that align with your long-term goals. 

Let's dive in.

What are Decisive Moments?

We make 36,000 meaningful decisions every day. According to James Clear, an expert on habits and author of Atomic Habits, some decisions are decisive moments

Decisive moments are,

“...a handful of moments that deliver an outsized impact.”

They are small decisions that, when made consistently, have a profound impact. Decisions made during decisive moments compound over time.

  • The moment you decide between going to the gym or watching Netflix after work impacts your long-term health.

  • The moment you choose to read before bed or scroll on your phone impacts your sleep.

  • The moment you become angry with your partner for being late or use self-talk to regulate your emotions impacts your relationship.

  • The moment you choose to work on a project or procrastinate impacts your career progress.

Decisive moments mark a fork in the road of our day. If we make a positive decision, there's a better chance we have a good day.

executive function coaching
The importance of positive decision making.

Often, the choice that propels us closer to our goal isn’t easy. And, we tend to make up excuses.

“I’ll skip today’s workout but go to the gym for an extra 20 minutes tomorrow…”

Making positive decisions isn’t easy, especially for neurodivergent adults. It requires delayed gratification and three executive function skills: impulse control, cognitive flexibility, and metacognition.

executive function coaching

How to Navigate Decisive Moments: Impulse Control & Positive Decision Making

Our brains are wired to desire instant gratification, making impulse control feel like a battle against our brains. Instead of battling impulses, modify your environment.

  • Trying to lose weight? Set your grocery list beforehand and avoid the freezer section at the store. 

  • Want to exercise more? Bring your gym clothes to work and go straight to the gym after. 

  • Want to check your calendar each morning? Create a visual reminder near the coffee machine. 

  • Want to improve your morning routine? Set your environment to make it easier.

Last year, I started charging my phone in the kitchen. With my phone far away, my morning routine changed immediately—no more doom scrolling or checking emails from bed.

How to Win Decisive Moments

After setting up your environment, it is time to develop stronger metacognition. By becoming more aware of our thoughts and behaviors, we can more easily align difficult decisions to positive outcomes. Here’s a strategy to do so: 

Become aware of decisive moments

  1. Make a list of 3-5 decisive moments you faced today and expect to face again in the future. 


Set a goal

  1. Answer these questions:

    1. What will you do when you face each decisive moment?

    2. How your life will improve in the short term and long term?

Predict obstacles and generate solutions

  1. Predict an obstacle that might prevent you from making each positive decision.

  2. Next, generate a solution to overcome the obstacle.


  1. Tomorrow night, spend 5 minutes reflecting: 

    1. What decisive moments did I face today? 

    2. What positive decisions did I make? 

    3. What poor decisions did I make?

    4. What will be my first action when I wake up tomorrow?  


According to James Clear, during a decisive moment, we make decisions that compound over time. These decisions form our habits. These habits become who we are.

By understanding what decisive moments are and why they are important, you can take control of decisive moments throughout your day. We discussed how to design an environment that makes difficult decisions feel easy. We learned strategies to control impulsive behavior, especially for neurodivergent adults who may struggle with this challenge. Remember, the first decisive moment of your day is the most important decisive moment you face. What will your first action be tomorrow morning? 

Executive Functions Defined

What is Impulse Control? 

Impulse control is the ability to resist or delay an urge or temptation and instead act intentionally. This executive function skill involves managing emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in the face of immediate gratification or reaction. Effective impulse control helps us avoid hasty decisions, reduce risky behaviors, and maintain focus on long-term goals. 

What is Metacognition? 

Metacognition is the awareness of one’s thought process. It is referred to as “thinking about thinking”. It involves higher-order thinking skills that help us to monitor and control our thoughts and decisions.

What is Cognitive Flexibility? 

Cognitive flexibility is the ability to adjust plans or ideas when faced with obstacles, setbacks, or errors. It involves adapting one's thinking and behavior to new, unexpected, or changing situations.

Are you ready to improve your executive function skills?

We know adulting is HARD. It demands strong adult executive function skills. Luckily, we've made a LIVE course to cover the fundamentals so you can make the best of each day: Adult EF Skills 101. We are currently accepting applications!

In this course, you will:

  • Learn how to plan your priorities 🎯

  • Learn to get started (task initiate) 🔨

  • Learn how to keep things tidy 🧺

  • Learn how to find and keep a job 👩‍💻

  • Learn how to communicate effectively 🗣️

  • Learn how to budget 🤑

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About the Author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

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About 👋

Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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