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How To Make Better Decisions

“We are our choices.” ~Jean Paul Sartre

Do you have trouble making decisions?

Is it hard for you to choose between options?

Or are you great at making decisions…

you just make the wrong ones over and over?

Decision-making is a life skill that just can’t

be over-rated, as it affects everything in life.

It’s A Process…

So, how do you make better decisions?

Ask yourself the following questions when

you have to make an important decision:

1.  Have I considered all the possible consequences of this action?

2.  Have I considered all the possible alternatives to this action?

3.  If I cannot come up with either #1 or #2, who can I talk to

who can help me think this through?

4.  Am I willing to accept all of the possible consequences

of this action, even the ones I cannot now anticipate?

Take Responsibility, Then Act

If you finally work through all the possible consequences

and alternatives to the choice you are about to make,

and you are willing to live with and learn from whatever

happens if you give it a try…you are generally good to go.

The next step is to make the decision and act.

Hey, Not So Fast!

But, before you do that…take a moment and just

“check in” with yourself about a few things.

First, just because you CAN do something,

doesn’t mean that you SHOULD do it.

Does this decision fit with your values and

who you know yourself to truly be?

Is this decision something that you believe

you will be okay with ten years from now?

You Might Need to Sleep On It

What’s your emotional state as you are

going through the decision-making process?

Are you reacting to something that just happened

or to someone who easily pushes your buttons?

If you’re angry, hurt, or upset, take extra time

to cool off before you go through the process…

otherwise what looks like a reasonable decision

to you now will look mean, petty, or just plain

stupid in a few days’ time.  (You know this!)

Take a night (or two) and sleep on it.

It’s Not All About You

Okay, Sartre would say your decisions ARE

all about you… but it’s a very good thing to ask

yourself how the decision you are going to make

is likely to affect the people you care about

and who care about you.  We are all interdependent,

so don’t forget that every choice you make, even

what you buy or eat today, will affect not only

you, but others, perhaps our planet, as well.


A final question to ask to help you make better

decisions is “In ten years, will I regret more that

I chose to do this or that I chose not to?”

Happiness researchers have found that it is

often easier for people to be happier living with

mistakes they have made and learned from than

it is to live with regrets and wondering “what if?”

So, take that into consideration as you also

ponder all of the other important questions

in the decision-making process.

You Can’t Make A Mistake

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you already

know that I believe you cannot make mistakes

in living your own life.  You make the best decisions

you can at the time, with the knowledge, awareness,

and understanding that you have at that time.

Then you see what happens, you learn, you may

make different choices in the future based on what

you discover as you live.  Most importantly,

you don’t have to be afraid to make life choices,

especially if they are carefully considered.


“The greatest accomplishment began as a decision

once made and often a difficult one.”

                                                        ~Michael Rawls


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