“Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.”
Making decisions in our lives, whether its what to eat for lunch or where to find your next job, can seem overwhelming. Each decision carries with it a result and a chain of events that may dictate the course of our lives.
I know I have sometimes found myself almost paralysed with indecision; even over things that would have little or no real consequences for my life. So, for those of us who, like me, consider every decision as one of life or death, day-to-day decisions can seem impossible!
To help you discover the finer points of decision-making, here are some valuable tips on how you can make decisions that you can live with every day:
1. Map out your decision.
Start by evaluating the decision to be made. What are the details? By mapping out exactly what your decision will entail as far as consequences and results, you will be on your way to making an informed decision that you can live with.
2. Weigh the pros and cons.
This process is tried and true, and is something I remember my mum telling me to do whenever I had a decision to make. She would tell me to make a list and write the pros in one column and the cons in another. If you do this, make sure you include the short and long-term consequences of the decision.
Seeing the pros and cons before you on paper will make the matter at hand seem all the more real and should help you in forming a decision. When evaluating the pros and cons, give more weight to those that will have the bigger impact in your life.
Remember that the quantity of the pros or of the cons does not equal the quality. For example, if one of your main priorities in life is to make more money, listing ‘make more money’ in your pros column should count for more than one of the cons in the other column.
3. Become informed.
You should find out all of the related information you need to make your decision. By being better informed through research or by talking to others you will know that the decision you make will be one that you can live with.
4. Consider your motives.
While evaluating your list of pros and cons, you will need to consider the motives that may be contributing to the points you added in both columns. Revise or weigh accordingly. For example, can the con on your list be attributed to a lifelong fear or is it merely situational?
In the cases of fears, it might be a better idea to face your fears and make that part of your decision. This way you make fear a pro rather than a con.
5. Give yourself a deadline.
When faced with an important decision, we tend to delay making the ultimate choice. To counter this, give yourself a deadline of when the decision has to be made. You will have no choice but to reach one.
6. Look at the decision as part of the bigger picture.
Is this a small or large decision in the course of your life? Decide which and evaluate accordingly. If its small, perhaps you are spending too much time and consideration on it. If it a big decision, try to see how it will impact your life and the goals that you have.
By examining the decision in this way, you see it in relation to your short and long term goals, which helps to put in into perspective. You will see how the decision you make will fit into the bigger picture of your life.
Many tough decisions can carry with them irrevocable consequences, but, more often than not, there is always more time and more opportunity to make the decision again. Once a decision has been made, worrying about its effects is futile.
Most decisions only determine your short-term circumstances in the present. In most cases your decision can be altered in the future when circumstances are different or you are in a different stage of your life.
If you follow these tips you can transform decision-making from a stressful process into a process that gives you more control and confidence in your life.
Embrace decision-making as the good thing that it is; remembering that you are in control of the process, and the result will be a happier, more confident you!
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