Life is an endless series of decisions: with whom to play at the break, with whom to go to the party, what profession to choose, where to go for fun, where to live, whether to end a relationship or not. Some of these decisions have little significance for the rest of your life, but others can have huge consequences.
It is a known fact that people make many choices each day, from small decisions (what should I wear today?) to changing their whole life decisions (am I buying this house?)! Making decisions becomes more difficult when we have more options and this can be stressful! Without clear goals for what you want to achieve with a decision, you can focus on the wrong things.
- Ask yourself, “What do I hope to achieve by making this choice?” and focus on aspects that are not easily measurable.
- Do not dwell too much on small choices. It’s much more important to take your time to make bigger decisions, so don’t keep thinking and consuming your energy on smaller things. And do not worry too much about the quality of your decisions in these small choices!
- Decide, where you can, in advance! Making a decision before you really find yourself in a particular situation can help you avoid being influenced by external factors or end up overwhelmed by the many options available.
- Get a second (and third and fourth) opinion on the big things. Get several opinions – ideally from people with previous experience in this field. The more know-how they have, the less likely they are to base their ratings on a bias and the more likely they are to come up with something that makes more sense.
- Watch your emotions. Emotions can negatively affect decision-making. The key is to understand how your emotions affect your choices.
- Be careful about how you use the pros and cons list. Lists can be a useful tool. When forcing yourself to distinguish between good and bad in every choice, you need to slow down and think about your priorities and values.
Perceive decisions as opportunities. Do not take decisions as mere precautions to prevent you from making your life worse. You can make choices that make a good situation even better!