2 Questions, To-Do List, Visualize, Implications, Feelings, Meditate, Environment, 24-hr Rule, Intuition, Reactions, Analysis Paralysis.
Smart Strategies – for when you’re struggling to make a tough Choice.
Our entire lives are structured around making decisions. Every day we make tuff choices, like what’s the next most important thing to do or what to plan ahead, that don’t cause us too much stress. Yet even bigger decisions — ones that could totally change our lives or impact the ones we love — can be a source of significant anxiety.
We asked members of the Thrive community to share their best tips for making life decisions when they feel stumped. Here are some strategies to use the next time you feel overwhelmed or unsure about.
Ask yourself two important Questions
When making difficult decisions, Pro vs. Con Lists are useful, except they’re not always. Asking advice from a wise & objective friends, colleagues, or a mentor is useful, but doesn’t always help. When I’m really stuck, with no clear means of resolution, I ask myself two questions: #1. Which choice do I want to make and #2. Which choice am I trying to avoid making? The first exposes self-interest, which cannot always be trusted. The second reveals the voice of conscience, which is the most likely guide to a well-calibrated moral compass.
Make a To-Do List
There are so many benefits to knocking To-Do items off your list or using a Pros & Cons list to evaluate something. You can experience a boost of self-esteem, productivity, & accountability. When stumped making a potentially life-altering decision, craft one or both of these lists. There is a second step to this: consult my support network to go through the points on the list. Take everyone’s perspectives, including my own, to make a preliminary decision. Then, listen to your intuition – to see how you feel about it – to make the final decision !!!
Visualize the Outcome
When choosing between two potential paths, look at both and consider, “Am I ready for the possible outcome of this path? If the answer is yes, you are prepared to make the decision. If the answer is no, you need more research and contemplation.
Consider the Implications a year down the road
When you struggle to make decisions and spend too much time worrying about whether you are making the ‘right’ choice, I like to remember a question that my dad taught me when I was teenager: ‘Will it matter in a year’s time?’ Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up and make decisions far scarier than they really need to be. Asking myself this question reminds me that smaller decisions don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Make them and move on !!!
Think about how your Decision will make you feel – after the fact !!!
In my younger years decisions were much more spontaneous than they became after 50. Now, I decide if the decisions fall in line with my values. How will this make me feel later or tomorrow? If I don’t work out, or if I accept this, how will I feel later? Now, decisions are not just about being in the present — they are about how I want to feel after I make them.
Meditate and Listen to your inner Wisdom
Whenever I have a tough decision to make, I meditate on it first. I sit for 10-15 minutes uninterrupted in my meditation space at home and just breathe deeply, using my breath as an anchor to remain in the present moment. I ask for guidance from my inner spirit. When I’m done meditating, I journal any wisdom that I’ve received during that time. After I’ve decided on the decision, I ask myself if this is the answer that I would be proud to tell my family and friends. Then I know I’ve made the right decision.
Change Environment. Get some Fresh Air
Take a walk outside. If you can get out into the park or woods – even better. Fresh air & interaction with nature will calm you down, bring your thinking back to normal, and help you to think more clearly. When we have big decisions to make at work, we participate in Walking Meetings: 15-minute (or more) walking meetings outside. The combination of light exercise and fresh air aids in restoring cognitive function and boosts creativity !!!
Use the 24-hour Rule
If you’re a strong communicator, talk things out, but only six times. Hopefully, it’s six different trusted advisers who get to hear the problem and offer input, and not your poor partner – six times. If you’re truly stumped, invoke the 24-hour rule and give yourself permission not to mull on the issue and not to make any decision for 24 hours. It’s amazing how many problems resolve on their own in 24 hours.”
Follow your Intuition
When we feel stuck, or indecisive, it’s typically because we are disconnected from ourselves. When faced with ‘I don’t know’ we need to take a time out and listen to the silent whispers of our soul. Take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes and tap into your intuition. Run each choice through your mind and notice how your body responds. If you feel contracted, or feel a pit in your stomach, that is a clear ‘NO.’ If you feel fluttery, but expansive and excited, well, that’s a yes, but you’re just being stretched out of your comfort zone, but Go for it !!!
Recognize your Body’s Reactions
When making tough decisions, the first step to take is to empty your mind & relax – so that you can start with a clean & clear slate. Allow this process to last for a few minutes. Next, bring up the situation you need to resolve or make a decision about. I start to think of the scenario + the Pros & Cons. Turning into your body and how you react physically to the information that you are thinking about. Try to base decisions on what feels good & right by the way your body reacts. Your body has a way of knowing what your mind may not be able to, sometimes.
Avoid “Analysis Paralysis” !!!
With experience, making hard decisions gets a lot easier. Draw on your experiences and those from others – but ultimately – the decision rests on your shoulders. There is an Army adage: ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way.’ Trusting my gut feelings led to a lot of great (& fast) decisions in life. ‘Analysis paralysis’ will limit your opportunities, because you fear making the wrong choice. Weigh your options, follow your heart, seek advice, then decide to act. No one gets anywhere meaningful just watching the river rush by from the banks. Jump in. Swim against the current if you have to. Hard decisions require guts and faith in yourself. Avoid ‘what ifs’ by pushing yourself. No one advances without making mistakes, so let go of fear and lead !!!
Give yourself the Time you need – to make the best Decision
“When it comes to important decisions, I make sure to give myself plenty of time and space to think through my options. It may be helpful to talk about them with trusted friends, colleagues, or family members. I look at the pros and cons of different options and come to terms with what would be the best option. I also need to be comfortable with the consequences of the selected choice — both good and bad. We can make decisions logically, but we can also make decisions based on what we feel is right. When in doubt, I follow what my heart tells me is the right thing to do.”
Comments: Do you know any other Ways to help make Decisions?
From Thrive 1/22 enhanced by Peter, CXO Wiz4.biz
For more Info, click on Decisions-Making.