Posted by: painreliefcoach | March 5, 2008

Ten Tips for Making Better Decisions

Many of us have just never learned how to make good decisions.  Maybe you had poor role models growing up; perhaps you are a people pleaser and go for the initial approval without looking at the long-term ramifications.  Could it be you have never learned how to function as a separate individual because you are so enmeshed and co-dependent on others?  Whether you realize it or not, when you don’t make a decision you are still making a decision. Whatever the reason, you can make a choice to take responsibility for consciously making your own decisions now.

 

Multiple considerations affect your decision making.  Being in touch with how you really feel is an important first step that many people, especially in crisis, jump over.  Try these 10 tips for making better decisions:

  1. Give yourself some space.  You may need to remove yourself from a situation in order to really analyze how you feel about it.  Many decisions can be delayed.  It’s okay to say, “I need more time.”
  2. Spend quiet time alone every day. It can be in prayer, meditation or going for a walk.  It’s important to really let your mind settle down and start to listen to what your inner wisdom wants you to know.
  3. Clarify what the issue is.  During their divorce Rachel tells her husband Tom, “You just never listened to me like you did when we were dating and you tutored me in math.”  Tom replied, “I thought it was the math.”
  4. Gain an understanding of why you need to make a decision. If there is a problem, do you know the how, where, when and with whom the problem is occurring?  Take some time to look at each issue and see if it sheds more light on your decision.
  5. If you don’t feel comfortable with something, find out why.  You have the right to ask all the questions that you have. Check more than one source, no matter who that one source is.
  6. Once you have the answers that you are comfortable with, review and evaluate them.
  7. Next move on to possible solutions.  Let yourself think big.  Do not censor yourself or limit ideas by worrying about whether or not they are practical.  That is a later step. Brainstorm with people you trust, who also think outside the box.
  8. Now you have a list of options, write them out and put down the pros and cons for each one.  Another way to do this is to list your priorities with the most important first and write down what fits under each one.  For example, Joyce is a single, working mother who wants to be home with her kids but still needs to make the same amount of money.  Being home is a priority and making a certain amount of money is a priority.  If she could make more money with one option but not be home as she intended that would be ruled out.
  9. Develop a plan of action.  Analyze if you are willing to implement your plan.  Joyce decides to explore whether she can work virtual at her current job.  Joyce feels this is a risk, because once they know what she wants to do they may phase her out.  She also decides to explore home-based businesses she could start.  She knows this may take money out of her savings and is also a risk.  Joyce has to be willing to accept the risks and consequences in order to move forward with her decision.  Plans are more successful with a deadline.  Set one now.
  10. As Nike says. “Just do it.”  Take the leap and go. If you make a mistake or information changes you start over.  Practice probably doesn’t make perfect in this case, but it does make you a lot better.

As you become more connected to yourself and practice you will develop the confidence to make more decisions.  As you practice decision making, your skill will grow. 

Depending on the situation, timeframes or even plans may have to be modified.  That doesn’t mean you failed.  You became more educated, experienced or practical as the plan progressed and modifications had to be made. Review and assess your decision throughout implementation.  Now that you are into it what would you do differently?  Learn from every decision.  One decision may lead to the need to make another decision.  Keep going.  Don’t stop.  Big or small, success or failure take full responsibility for all of your decisions every day.   Take full responsibility for your life.  Claim it, live it, it’s yours.

 

You can gather information, process it, listen to others and bounce ideas off people, but ultimately it comes down to you.  You need to have faith and confidence in yourself.  You are responsible for all of the decisions that you make.  It doesn’t matter if someone mislead you, took advantage of you or even if a trust was betrayed.  It comes back to you.  Learn to rely on your own decision-making. 

  

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