Are you struggling with whether or not to do something? As a new year begins, you may be considering different opportunities. Perhaps you are considering taking a class or going on a trip. Part of making a good decision is knowing what is important to you. Knowing the answer to that question will make your life more meaningful and often more enjoyable.
Following is an exercise you can do to help you get the clarity you need to make difficult decisions. You will need to write or record your answers.
When you are stuck making a decision, complete each of the following three sentence stems eight to ten times. Take each stem and write different endings each time you say the stem. Use whatever comes to mind without judging your response. If you can't think of something, invent a response. If you don't want to write this, record your sentence stems and answers.
Here are the three stems:
- One of the things that might be important to me is …..
- One of the things I might hope for this year is …..
- One of the things I might be optimistic about is …..
Once you have completed your stems, look back or listen to your responses for each stem.
Stem number one indicates your values.
Next, look to see if most of the things that are important to you are also reflected in your answers for the second and third stems. If not, what can you add or change to make what you hope for and are optimistic about reflect your values? For instance, if your values are family and helping others, you would want to see family and/or helping others mentioned in your list of what you hope for and what you are optimistic about. This indicates you will be choosing to do things that are important to you. These choices will be a more meaningful and satisfying way for you to spend your time.
Then, look for a pattern or theme that might be present in one or more of the stems. What pattern do you see? If you do not see any, try writing more responses to the stems in a day or so. Sometimes this process has to be done several times for a pattern to emerge. Patterns indicate authentic action that will help you be more confident.
Finally, as you look at your responses, write down several things you learned or what surprised you.
With all this information, you may want to discuss your findings with a couple of people you trust. Do they have anything they might add that would be helpful to you in making your decision?
Now with all that you have learned, how ready are you to make your decision?
Once you have made your decision, you may want to translate one or two of your hopes into goals with action steps. You can also do the same thing for one or two things about which you are optimistic.
Think about who you need to support you as you move forward and complete your goals. Having someone in your life whom you trust and can discuss your action plan with helps ensure your success.
I hope you will set aside some time to go through these steps. When you do, you will become clearer about what your decision needs to be.
Comment below on how you discover what is important to you and how this works for you.
Until next time,