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How to Make Good Choices When Facing Tough Decisions

how to make decisions - making good choices
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - James Wheeler

We decide about 20,000 times every day. Some are tough decisions, others are made within split-seconds. We show you how to make good choices.

Tough Decisions: Five Tips for Making Good Choices 

Every day we decide countless times: should I get up or stay in bed? Go to university or stay at home? Jam or honey on toast? Most decisions are trivial. The decisions that are easy for us usually have no major impact on our lives.

But then there are tough decisions that we sometimes put off making because we’re afraid of the consequences or because they seem unmanageable. Worst case scenario, we miss an important chance in life that could have lead us to our dream job, house, or partner. 

Wondering how to make decisions? Here are five tips to help you out.

1. Break Tough Decisions Down

tough decisions - making good choices
If you’re stressed out about making a big decision, try getting outdoors and spending time in nature. It often helps to clear your head! (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Vlad Bagacian)

Sometimes the options seem limitless. Think about picking a course of study at college: there are so many to choose from! But still we feel we need to gather as much relevant information about our options as we can.

When you feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice you have, keep the following in mind:

  • Focus on and prioritize your goals, not the options available
  • Ask yourself what you hope to achieve with this decision
  • Once you’ve defined your goal, focus only on the options that will help you achieve it

Once you have broken it down and narrowed your options, your decision should feel less tough and a lot more manageable.

2. Follow Your Head and Your Heart

When choosing a partner, we often think that we should follow our heart. When facing a tough professional decision, on the other hand, we should use our head. Both are valid thought processes, but it’s not always that simple. 

Feeling and reason go hand in hand when it comes to making good choices — whether it is a matter of the heart or rational things. It’s a good idea to use your brain when it comes to rational thinking and logic. An easy way to do this is to write a pros and cons list.

Once you think you have come to a decision, ask yourself if this is really what you want. Pay attention to how your body is reacting if you feel relieved, or under even more pressure. Instincts can often keep you from doing things you shouldn’t do.

Warning: You might feel uncomfortable if your decision is a big step that requires a lot of courage. Don’t confuse this feeling with the fear that comes from stepping outside your comfort zone.

3. Have the Courage to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Some decisions involve major changes that virtually catapult us out of our comfort zone. Don’t let that scare you! Whether it’s moving cities, changing jobs, breaking up, or starting a new relationship, you won’t know unless you try.

An easy way to make things seem a bit more manageable is to visualize what your life would look like if you made that tough decision. Imagine the feeling of achieving your goals and how it could help you grow. 

4. Tough Decisions: Sleep on it

how to make decisions
A good night’s sleep can help make the decision for you, or help to solidify the decision you’ve already made. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Burst )

Maybe you’ve already made your tough decision, you’ve figured it out and are ready to commit to the next chapter of life. Sleep on it anyway! 

At night our subconscious works and supplies our brain with information that we maybe didn’t consider when we were awake. If you still feel comfortable with your decision the next morning, you should make it.

5. Set a Deadline for Your Decision

You can repeat the process of weighing the pros and cons, talking it out with friends (or thinking it over by yourself), and debating how you feel about the tough decision over and over again. Overthinking muddles things and makes them unclear, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. 

Easy solution: in order to make good choices, set a deadline for when you want to make your decision!

Summary: Simplify, Use Logic and Feelings

To make good choices, narrow down your options first, and use your mind to rationally evaluate them. Keep your goals in mind and be aware of what is important to you when making your decision. Never ignore your feelings, but dare to make a decision that might scare you at first. And when it is time: Make the decision, stick to it, and act!

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can read the original here: Entscheidungen treffen: Diese Methoden helfen dir

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