An Easy Strategy for Making Better Decisions

An article providing an easy strategy for making better decisions, emphasizing the importance of considering values, overcoming fear, weighing pros and cons, aligning with long-term goals, setting deadlines, and realizing that the choice matters.

Dec 20, 2023
It's been well documented that highly successful people tend to make decisions quickly and they rarely change their minds.
Do you have these traits - or do you struggle to make decisions and then waffle back and forth afterward? Having a decision making process to follow can be a faster and more effective alternative.
This proven process has worked well for others; it can work for you, too: 1. Consider your values.
When faced with tough decisions, it can be helpful to visualize yourself in the future and consider how you will feel about the choice you make. By projecting into the future, you can gain perspective and clarity on what is truly important to you. Additionally, during challenging times, it can be tempting to take the easy way out and make decisions that do not align with your core values. However, by sticking to your principles and making choices that are in line with your beliefs, you will not only feel better in the end, but you will also be able to maintain your personal integrity and sense of self-worth.
2. Avoid allowing fear to paralyze you. If you're in danger of falling off a cliff, fear is a natural response that serves a purpose, as it can help you take quick action to avoid harm. However, if you tend to feel fearful of any kind of change, it can be detrimental to your decision-making process. This fear can cause you to feel paralyzed and unable to weigh your options effectively, making it difficult for you to make a decision that aligns with your goals and values.
A fear of change can be rooted in a variety of factors, such as a lack of confidence in your ability to adapt to new situations, a fear of the unknown, or a belief that change will inevitably lead to negative outcomes. However, it's important to recognize that change is a natural part of life, and that it can often lead to positive growth and new opportunities.
One way to overcome a fear of change is to take small steps towards embracing new experiences. This could involve trying a new hobby, exploring a new part of town, or meeting new people. By taking small risks and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you can build your confidence and develop a more positive attitude towards change.
Another way to manage a fear of change is to seek support from others. This could involve talking to a trusted friend or family member about your fears, or seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. By working with others to address your fears and develop coping strategies, you can build your resilience and better prepare yourself to navigate the challenges of life.
Ultimately, it's important to recognize that fear is a natural response to change, but it doesn't have to control your decision-making process. By taking small steps towards growth and seeking support from others, you can develop the resilience and confidence you need to embrace new experiences and achieve your goals.
3. Make a list of pros and cons.
When you are faced with a decision, it is important to fully understand the potential outcomes of each option available to you. One way to do this is by making a list of your options and analyzing them from different perspectives. To begin, draw a line down the center of a blank page. On one side, list the pros of each option, and on the other side, list the cons. By doing this exercise, you can gain a clearer understanding of the potential gains and losses associated with each option, which can help you make a more informed decision in the end. Additionally, by taking the time to thoroughly analyze each option, you may even come up with new ideas or considerations that you may not have thought of before. So, take the time to weigh your options carefully and don't be afraid to explore all of the possibilities to ensure that you make the best decision for yourself.
4. What are your long-term goals? What is your vision of your ideal life? Which option is most supportive of that vision?
5. Set a deadline.
When facing a decision, it's important to take the time to reflect and gather information. Consider how long it should realistically take you to make up your mind. This can vary depending on the complexity of the decision and the amount of information available. However, once you have determined your timeframe, it's important to stick to it. Don't fall into the trap of continuously second-guessing yourself and prolonging the decision-making process. Instead, promise yourself that you'll make a decision and stick with it. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that more time will lead to a better decision, but sometimes spending too much time in turmoil can actually make the decision harder. So, take the time you need, but don't let the decision-making process drag on indefinitely.
6. Realize that it doesn't matter (much).
When faced with a couple of good choices, it can be tempting to think that either choice will work out just fine. But in reality, there may be more to consider than we realize. For instance, even seemingly inconsequential choices can have a ripple effect down the line. In the case of selecting between two different chicken salad options on a menu, it may seem like a trivial decision at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, there are several factors that could influence your choice. For example, perhaps one option is made with locally sourced ingredients while the other is not. Or maybe one option is spicier than the other, and that could impact your enjoyment of the meal. Additionally, by taking the time to consider your options, you may discover that there are other dishes on the menu that pique your interest even more. So while it's true that either choice may be enjoyable, taking a moment to weigh your options could lead to an even more satisfying outcome in the end.
Simply making the choice and following through consistently will yield great results. Not making up your mind gets you nowhere fast. If you really can't choose, flip a coin and get busy. You'll be much further ahead than if you never choose anything at all. Making decisions quickly takes practice. It's counter-productive to become so worried about making a wrong decision that you never choose anything at all.
Follow the process above and make a decision. In most cases, the act of making the decision is the powerful aspect, not which option is ultimately selected. If you didn't reject an option immediately, it's probably not too bad. So make up your mind and get busy living your life!