The choices you make today will define your future. Choosing which shirt to wear or which movie to watch is easy. It is the problems at the crossroads of life that are the hardest to solve. These decisions, no matter how much research you’ve done or how many friends and experts you’ve spoken to, still seem hard to make. Here are a few suggestions on how to make this process a bit easier:
What am I afraid of?
When facing a tough decision in life, ask yourself who is going to make this decision – fear or you?
Who am I really doing this for?
Do not let other people’s advice distract you from making the right decision. While it’s important to have others’ interests at heart, you shouldn’t have to give up your own needs to please someone else. Take a balanced look at how your choices will benefit you as well as those around you when facing a tough life decision.
What would you say to a friend?
If a close friend had to make a similar difficult decision, what advice would you give him or her? Emotions often cloud our judgement and by advising someone else, it can make the challenges and advantages seem clearer. Sometimes, the very act of talking out loud can help you get to the heart of the problem, which is often the key to finding a solution.
Think in years, not days
What’s going to happen? And then what might happen? And then? Thinking in longer time frames will help settle your brain and shift from reaction to strategy mode. Try to think about the future rather than thinking only of the next few hours or days.
Can I cope with the fall-out?
When you make one decision, other challenges may naturally come into play that could affect your finances, relationships and friendships. Think things through, and decide how you will deal with the possible consequences of the decision you are about to make.
Limit the information
Doing research is important, as is seeking the counsel of valued friends, family members or leaders in your community. However, one can easily go from “educated decision” to “decision fatigue”, which can make the decision process even more difficult. There is a point at which we need to limit the information and voices we receive.
Test-run your decision
Once you feel that you have arrived at an answer, live with it in your mind for a day or two. Does it feel like the right decision, or does it feel uncomfortable? Your instincts often know best – so give them a chance to guide you.
You can always change your mind
You always have the right to change your mind. After all, you will be the one living with the outcome of your decision for the rest of your life.