How to Make a Decision

 decision making formula

We've all been there. It's time to make a decision. Up until now, you've hemmed and hawed, weighed your options, asked advice from all your friends and family (and the nice man sitting next to you on the bus). You've make the pro/con list, and yet you're still unable to decide. It's simply impossible to choose.

Well, I'm here to tell you that 99.9% of all decisions you have to make, your subconscious has already decided what you want. Your conscious brain just might not be prepared to admit it yet. So how do you tap into that? How do you overcome your fear of whatever it may be and finally make that decision? How do you finally choose? 

Follow this three-step Decision-Making Formula, and by the end of this blog post, you'll know what to do.

STEP ONE: IDENTIFY WHAT THE ACTUAL DECISION IS

Stick with me. Say you're deciding whether to invest in a sedan or a sports car. Say you're deciding whether to stay in your relationship or not. Say you're deciding if it's time to accept a new job or stay at your current one. Sure, the decision seems pretty obvious, but you'll want to dig a little deeper. Here are a few examples:

  • Maybe you say you want a BMW, but your wife wants a Ford because she's ready to start family planning. Are you deciding about a car, or is the car just the excuse? Are you really deciding if you're ready for kids yet?

  • Maybe you're deciding whether or not to stay in a relationship. Is it really the relationship where the problem is, or has something else gone on in your life lately? Job loss? Death of a loved one? Depression? Family trauma? Is this decision your way of running from something bigger?

  • Maybe you're deciding whether to accept a new job or stay at your current one. Are you deciding on a job, or on a career? Are you deciding on a job, or on a lifestyle?

Overall, take a step back before even beginning to think about how to make this decision, and decide if it's really the decision you're trying to make. Don't get me wrong: Oftentimes buying a car is just buying car. There's no hidden meaning. But in a lot of instances in our lives, making a decision is related to a bigger picture and we're only letting ourselves down if we ignore that.

STEP TWO: HOW DOES EACH CHOICE MAKE YOU FEEL?

Actions stem from thoughts, and thoughts stem from emotions. So one of the most important steps of making any decision is to take a step back and think about how it will make you feel to do so. Let's go back to the job example. Say you are currently in a great sales position at a great software company, and you're really happy with the pay, but don't have many friends at your workplace and software isn't really something you're interested. Now, the new job is a sales position at an upcoming non-profit you really believe in. Less pay, but it's full of employees around the same age as you. Pros and cons for both, right?

The only way to truly figure out how you feel about each option is to take the time to really explore each option. Sit down and take just a half hour -- 15 minutes to focus on each option -- and write about how a day in the life of each would feel. Be sure to include each item on your pro/con list. How does the commute feel? How accomplished do you feel while doing the work? How excited are you to go into work in the morning? What do you eat for lunch, where do you eat it, with whom? When you get home, what are you worried about? What do you do for your free time? What do you have for dinner? After writing each, evaluate which option is closer to how you'd like your days to look. How you'd like your days to feel. Tell me -- which one do you prefer?

STEP THREE: ASK YOURSELF "HOW UNCOMFORTABLE WILL THIS MAKE ME?"

As a life coach, I see time and time again when clients, friends, family members, acquaintances, etc. decide not to do something because it scares the heck out of them. And I have two things to say to that: 

1) Make sure that you know the difference between nervous-terrified-might-vomit-roller-coaster fear and serial-killer-with-a-knife-chasing-me-holy-heck-I'm-miserable fear. The first, although still uncomfortable, is what we're actually looking for. The second isn't going to be good for you.

2) When you find that kind of fear, where your heart is pounding but in a good way, go full speed ahead. Those are the moments when we grow into that person we want to be the most. Chase after that kind of fear. Don't choose the safe option just because you're afraid of getting a little uncomfortable (could be uncomfortable because it's new, because it's vulnerable, because it costs money, because we don't want to fail, etc.). Choose the brave option, and watch yourself growth and flourish. Make that decision.

What was the last hard decision you've had to make? These tips helped me when I was deciding to start my business, or leave my corporate job, or even just when I decided whether to move or stay in my apartment. Share your experiences with decision-making with me in the comments below, or join the party on my Instagram and share there: https://www.instagram.com/katrina.widener/

 

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