Everyday we make thousands of decisions. From what to eat for breakfast to where we’re going to invest our money. Some decisions take us a split second while others we could sleep on for days, week’s, months and sometimes even years.
So what drives us humans to make decisions? Quite simply, it’s the perception of loss or gain. We make decisions based on what we believe we will get from the outcome of our choices…and this is when it gets tricky. Sometimes we confuse ourselves, over-analyze every detail, and ponder every eventual outcome to the nth degree. The result…people spend WAY too much time thinking about the decision instead of taking ACTION!
To help with these inevitable road blocks, I want to share with you 8 straight forward ways to crack your decision making dilemma so you can take action.
1. Remove Emotion
Emotions are an essential part of all decisions but do not let them get the upper hand. Take an analytical approach when you feel emotions are getting the best of you. Write down the pros and cons and make an analytical decision based on it. Remember, people have a natural tendency to dress up decisions (good or bad) so work hard to remove emotions from your decision making process.
2. Take Time Out To Think
This sounds pretty simple, but often people don’t realize that in addition to a “yes or no” decision that there is a third alternative of “no decision.” Just because you are presented with a decision doesn’t mean you MUST make it! Stop and ask yourself if this is something you really want. Maybe the choice is to make no choice at all!
An example…you’re asked to join friends for either a steak dinner or Italian food. If you’re not hungry…then you don’t have to decide on either! Some decisions could be just this simple.
3. Flexibility Is Key
You need to be able to start new things, discontinue doing other things and be prepared for the fact that not every decision will result in the desired outcome…but an outcome of some sort is inevitable. If you build in flexibility, that is, you can adjust to any outcome of your decision then the process becomes easier because you will be able to adapt quickly.
4. You Will Be Wrong
This is a fact…you will, at some point in your life, make the wrong decision. On average 70% of the decisions we make will be wrong*. When this happens, you better be able to acknowledge your mistake and make the changes you need to in order to fix it. It’s amazing how many people refuse to accept that they made a mistake and continue plodding down the wrong path.
Be aware that you aren’t infallible and that you will make mistakes, but develop the ability to learn from those mistakes to make better decisions in the future!
5. Stop Being Cruel
When you make a bad decision, how long to you beat yourself up for it? How much time goes by where you find yourself wishing you made the right choice? 3 months? 6 months? Longer? Ask yourself – What does dwelling over it accomplish? NOTHING! It simply keeps you from making decisions in the future.
Life is about getting out there and making decisions so stop wallowing in self-pity when a bad decision is made. Pull yourself up, get over it, get your mind right and move forward. That’s the only way to succeed!
6. Commit and Follow Through
Once you’ve made your decision it’s crucial that you follow through with consistent and regular action to make it happen. Sometimes the decisions you make will require time and effort for the follow through to assure that the goal is achieved.
Once you commit to a choice, follow through on it and make sure things keep heading in the right direction.
7. Build Your Muscle
Your decision-making skills are like muscles that need to be worked, strengthened and improved. Make your decisions, move forward and you will find that your decision making “muscles” get stronger every day to the point that decisions to be made down the road are a breeze!
8. Help Yourself
Once you’ve committed to a decision you MUST trust yourself. Be positive and energetic around reaching your desired outcome.
Although you could have made potentially dozens of different choices, you have decided on one and you’re moving forward. It felt right, it made sense and you’re going for it. Now that you’ve done that – reach for that goal!
Sources: American management association