Our lives are full of decisions, from small decisions such as what to eat or what to wear, to life-altering decisions such as quitting a job, buying a house, investing in a new business venture or getting married.
We are very protective of our right to choose, yet sometimes we feel stuck and don’t know what the right decision is. Instead of flipping a coin and hoping for the best, it may be time to asses your decision making process and learn how to make good decisions that will leave you feeling happy and confident that you are going in the right direction.
Imagine how your world would look like if you’d master your decision-making process and successfully create your ideal future.
Here are our TOP 10 ways to make better decisions.
#1 Make Your Most Important Decisions in the Morning
You only have a finite amount of willpower as you go through your day, and willpower and decision-making are intricately linked so make your most important decisions in the morning before your willpower gets depleted. As your day goes on, your energy reserves and willpower take a downturn and once you are mentally depleted, you are more likely to make trade-offs, just to get the decision out of the way. But if you make your decision in the morning, when you are mentally and physically fresh and energized, you are much more likely to make decisions that you are happy with and that positively impact your life.
#2 Listen to Your Gut
We’ve been conditioned to believe that in order to make good decisions we need to rationally weigh all the pros and cons and go through different scenarios. But sometimes, your gut instinct choice is just as good, if not better. Your intuition is one of the most powerful decision-making tools that you have available because your body never lies. Sit with the decision you are about to make and tune into your body. Do you feel an openness and lightness in your heart or do you feel tight in your chest? How is your breath? Is your heart rate slow and rhythmic or erratic and fast? Research shows that our visceral reaction hits us very fast, before our consciousness can catch up and if you can tune into those physiological reactions, you can vastly improve the accuracy and speed of your decisions.
#3 Don’t Fear Consequences
Every decision we make has an impact on our future. We try to forecast the outcome of our decision, but most of the time, we overestimate or underestimate the impact – good or bad – a decision will have on our life. Rather than imagining a worst-case scenario that will most likely never happen, try to find someone who had to make the same decision that you are confronted with right now and find out how the decision has impacted his or her life. Don’t fear the consequences of your decision as the outcome is almost always different than what you imagine.
#4 Use Both Sides of Your Brain
When you make an important decision it is important to use both sides of your brain and find the balance between reason and your emotions. We are programmed to just make decision based on the logical, left side of the brain and go through all the facts, but the emotional, right side of the brain is a powerful part of our decision making process that shouldn’t be neglected. If we don’t link our emotions with our rational decisions, we won’t stick to the decision we made, so it is important to access our emotions to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine to stay motivated to move forward.
#5 Align Your Decisions with Your Core Values
If you align your decisions to your core values and combine your values with a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you create an immense amount of motivation to stick to your decision and make it a reality. Take the time to really get clear on your priorities, passions and core values because if your decision isn’t aligned with them, it’s not going to feel right. So before you are able to make the right decision for yourself and your life, you have to get really clear on what your core values are and what you want out of life.
#6 Beware of Social Pressure
While you may think that you are a strong individual that isn’t influenced by other people, countless studies show that even the most opinionated and well-adjusted person can be swayed in their decision-making process by their peers and pressures of society. Avoid the influence of social pressure by first becoming aware of it and then really digging deep whether you make a decision because it’s the right choice for you or if it’s a decision you make because you want to please your boss, friends or society. Make yourself a priority, because you are the one having to live with the decision you made.
#7 Limit Your Options
We believe that the more choices we have, the better it is. However, if we have too many options, we can easily become paralyzed and won’t be able to make a good decision. The more options we need to consider, the greater are the demands on our information-processing skills, which leads to a process that is very time consuming and confusing. Additionally, chances are that you feel less satisfied with your choice because you may feel like you missed out on a better opportunity. Try to limit the number of options you have to consider and your decision-making process will become a lot easier.
#8 Abandon Your Pursuit of Perfection
Perfection kills the dream. There are no perfect decisions or perfect plans. Sometimes good enough is perfect and when the decision turns out to not be perfect, adapt, modify and overcome your mistake. If you wait for perfection, you may take too long and miss out on an amazing opportunity. However, you shouldn’t rush to any decision, just to get it out of the way. Make smart choices and don’t be afraid of mistakes.
#9 Take Your Time
Don’t let anyone rush you into a decision. We are not talking about procrastinating to make a decision, but in our fast-paced society, a lot of times we feel under pressure to make a decision faster than we would like. Take your time and let people know that you will make your decision when your are good and ready and won’t succumb to any outside pressures that try to rush you.
#10 Map Out Your Why, What and How
Decisions become a lot easier, when you are very clear on what you are trying to achieve, how you plan on achieving it and why you are trying to achieve it in the first place. Let your values, mission and strategies be your guides and filters when it comes to making decisions. You give yourself the best foundation that is very helpful in making a decision and you will reach your decision a lot faster because you are eliminating exhausting debates and mental discussion.
Decision-making plays a huge role in the way our life unfolds, but unfortunately a lot of people don’t pay much attention to the profound impact their decisions will have on their lives. Instead of being oblivious to your thoughts and actions, pay attention to the decisions you make on a daily basis and create your own personal reality. If you aren’t happy with the way things are in your life right now, make a conscious effort to make better decisions and create the life of your dreams.
SHAPE YOUR WORLD WITH CONSCIOUS, AMAZING DECISIONS
Joschi & Monika