You may have heard the saying that life is a series of choices. Some of these choices are easy to make, like what you’ll have for dinner or what to binge watch on Netflix. Others are much more difficult, like making a career or relationship change or deciding on the proper treatment for a health concern.
These harder decisions may seem daunting, but they must be done. Failure to take action can leave you feeling stagnant, unfulfilled and prevent you from reaching your goals. Big decisions require a lot more headspace and trust in yourself because of their ability to alter the course of your life.
The good news is that making decisions is a skill that you can improve by practicing a step-by-step approach. Applying this 5 step process to your big decisions can help you make the best choices you can so you can move forward with confidence.
5 Steps to Help You Make Any Decision
Step 1. Get clear on the decision that has to be made.
While this may seem obvious, a critical first step is to really understand the decision that you want to make. Identify the decision and why it is important to you. If it is helpful, write down the purpose of the decision you need to make and the problem it is meant to solve. By having clarity on the decision, you can proceed to the next steps with more surety.
Step 2. Gather data on both sides of the decision.
What information do you need to obtain to make this decision? Gather the facts on both sides of the decision to help you weigh your options. Depending on the decision to be made, information can include scientific data, advice from friends or experts, internet research or even just your own personal thoughts on the subject. The more resources and information you obtain, the more confidence you can have moving forward to the next steps.
Step 3. Identify the consequences of both sides of the decision.
Using the data gathered in the previous step, it is time to consider the consequences of the options available to you. This step is vital because it can help you truly weigh the pros and cons based on the results of the decision. Consider how it will impact you and other important people in your life now and in the future. Doing this work will give you confidence for the next step in which you will make a decision.
Step 4. Make a decision – and stick to it.
Up until this point, you’ve done a lot of work, from identifying the decision and gathering data to weighing the pros and cons. Now it is time to make the choice. Using the information you’ve gathered and relying on your own instincts, choose one way or the other. Do not neglect the way the decision makes you feel. If you feel very uneasy after making your choice, this may be a sign that it is not the right choice for you. Once you make the decision, stick to it. Trust that you did the work to get to this point and that you should trust yourself and move forward with confidence.
Step 5. Evaluate your decision.
Like any lifelong learner, you should evaluate your decision making process after you’ve moved forward with your choice. This will help you hone your skills and make even better, more confident decisions in the future. Give this step some time, as the results of your decision making process may take some time to come to fruition.
Big decisions can feel very heavy. Using a step-by-step process can help you manage the fear or uncertainty that you feel and help you move forward. Practice this process with decisions big and small to help you get comfortable with the process and develop your confidence and trust in your ability to choose what’s right for you.
How do you approach big decisions? Share your tips with us in the comments.