Sometimes life can feel like a series of decisions, but while the day to day ones are easy enough to deal with, others can be life-changing and therefore very hard to actually make. We have to consider all the potential consequences of choosing which road to take, and to weigh up the effect of our choice both on ourselves and the people close to us.
But sometimes such situations are very difficult to deal with – considering the different outcomes can make you hesitant to actually make that decision. So what’s the best way to approach decision-making?
For instance, if we’re debating about moving house, it’s not just us that it affects. What about the feelings and needs of our children, our parents and our wider network of friends and family? Similarly, if you’re in a secure job that doesn’t bring you much fulfilment but pays the mortgage, would the benefits of changing career direction for something that brings a greater sense of achievement be outweighed by a drop in salary, or having to commute further each day?
When faced with a life-changing decision, we often end up over-analyzing a situation, weighing up the pros and cons until we feel even less sure than where we started, and no closer to a decision. It’s probably why so many of us stay in a job that doesn’t make us happy or end up never moving house.
So how can we make decision-making less difficult? Try these tips for a new way to look at life’s choices and see if any make the process easier for you.
Look at the Bigger Picture
Whatever decision you need to make, you have to consider how it fits into your overall life plan and vision. If you don’t have a life plan, then maybe that’s what you need to think about first. Allow yourself to visualize the life you’d like to live and write down all those dreams and goals that come to mind – be they about your love life, your finances or your career. Write down what principles and values are important to you at the same time.
If you’re having trouble getting started – and some people do find it hard to articulate what’s really important to them – you can seek outside guidance. You might talk to a friend or another way to do this is with help from an objective third party. Many people now use medium readings or other psychic readings as a way to take stock of their lives and look into how they might want to make changes. It’s easy to book online or telephone medium readings at a site like TheCircle. You may be surprised by how much you can discover about yourself during a reading.
Once you have a clear idea of a life plan, when it comes to making individual decisions you can see how they would fit or clash with your overall vision and this can help you evaluate your choices.
— Steve Gutzler (@SteveGutzler) January 11, 2017
Weigh up the Pros and Cons
Every decision has advantages and disadvantages attached. Drawing up a list of pros and cons may be a traditional problem-solving technique, but that’s probably because it’s one of the most effective ways to come to a balanced decision. It may help you to choose a mind mapping or brainstorming tool or app to make your list. Are there more advantages or disadvantages? Do any benefits outweigh the potential negative consequences of a particular choice?
Do Some Research
While you don’t want to over-analyses a situation, neither do you want to make a decision with your eyes closed. Talk through your options with people, preferably with people who’ve experienced the scenario you’re faced with.
Experiment with possible outcomes. For instance, if you’re planning on moving cities, spend some time in that city, don’t just decide to live there on the back of a day trip. Similarly, if you’re interested in a new job opportunity, see if you can shadow a person in that role.
Play the Coin Trick
Don’t leave your final decision to the toss of a coin, but toss the coin anyway, assigning one choice to heads and one to tails. As you flip the coin, take note of the side you’re hoping for the coin to land on – this gut reaction will show you what you really want to do. It may not be the most practical option, but the fact that your emotions are pulling you in a particular direction is worthy of consideration.
“Honest Abe” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by jeff_golden
No matter how carefully you think through a choice, you can never have complete certainty that you have made the right decision. However, uncertainty is what makes life an adventure. Be confident that you’ve thought things through and accept that your decision will allow you to move forward, even if things don’t turn out exactly in the way that you imagined.