Everyone makes decisions on a daily basis. Many of these are small and often done without much thought. Larger decisions require more time and thought before you arrive at an answer.
Making decisions, especially the important ones, involves some risk because there is an element of uncertainty in almost all decisions. If you are absolutely sure of the results, you are more than likely following steps or a recipe which will bring about a fixed result rather than making a decision.
Making a wrong decision can cause anxiety and sometimes remorse. Not making a decision is usually not a good answer either. Sometimes it can work with minor things or things that aren't that important to you. However, things in your life that require your attention will need a decision.
Making decisions that are right for you leads to happiness and a more fulfilling life. It is also known that living a fulfilling life is closely connected to living a life that is consistent with your values or things important to you. This creates more satisfaction and wellbeing.
What is absolutely necessary in your life?
Discovering what is important to you is a critical first step in making better decisions. You have to know what your values are before you can honor them.
Once you know your values and have identified the decision you need to make, the following steps will help you increase the possibility of making a good decision:
Clarify the goal or outcome your decision will achieve – you want to change jobs so you have a shorter commute.
- Get as many facts as you can within an appropriate time frame – include ideas from those you consult, your feelings and hunches.
- List all the possible options or alternatives – include doing nothing.
- Consider the pros and cons of each option – rate each on a continuum so that the total is 100 (shorter commute 75/longer commute 25).
- Name and rank from 1 (low) to 5 (high) the value of each option.
- Rate the risk of success for each option as a percentage – focus on the benefits of each choice.
- Reflect on what you have learned from doing this process, and make your decision.
- Tell others who will be affected by your choice how you will implement your decision.
Sometimes it is a good idea to talk an important decision over with several important people you respect. Some of the decsions you make might affect them also. They also know you and can give you some feedback about your decision. They may see things from a different perspective that could give you additional information.
I recommend you begin with a small decision you want to make. Practice these steps to build your confidence making good decisions. Gradually use these steps to make more important decisions.
Once you have completed all of these steps, it is up to you to make the final decision. As you follow these steps, using your values as your compass, you will discover that you are living a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
Until next time,