We live in a world where everyone has to stay on their feet at all times and make conscious decisions about their lives. We cannot go through life by accepting whatever situation comes our way or resigning to fate. No matter what we do, we make different decisions, all with their different outcomes.
Decisions come in different shapes and sizes. Some are as easy as flipping a switch, while others are hard and require a lot of thinking. One school of thought opines that our current lives result from all the decisions we have ever made or refused to make. So, our lives depend heavily on our choices.
Many of us find it easy to make decisions. We rely on our thinking to solve problems, and we know when to take a step back and observe. Most times, we can ask our family and friends for their opinions, filter out the views we don't like and act on those that feel right. Social media has made it so easy to get feedback and opinions from people regardless of their distance or relationship with us.
Many others rely too much on external opinions to make decisions, and that often leads to confusion. For example, you can ask ten different people for advice on a subject, and you will end up with ten different opinions, most of which may not even benefit you if you act on them.
Unless you have a magical 8-ball that can point you in the direction you should follow, you might as well learn how to make well-informed decisions and stop leaving everything to fate. Therefore, knowing how to make decisions on your own will save you a lot of time and effort. It will also free you from the confusion that comes with asking other people for their opinion. Whether you want to decide on things to start doing to promote healthy living, positive thinking, or just about any other thing, here are five steps to help you make the right decisions.
- Define your goal
The first step to making the right decision is to know why you are making the decision and what you hope to achieve in the end.
Many times, we take things as they come and roll with the flow. Doing this may sometimes lead to good things coincidentally, but it may often cost us good opportunities. This is why being deliberate about our life decisions can get us good results consistently.
One of the reasons why a clear goal must be defined in making decisions is that it will help to endure through the challenges we may face when trying to stick with our choices.
If you decide without any clear goal in focus, you may get overwhelmed when the first signs of trouble show up.
As part of defining your goals, it is important to ask yourself a lot of questions. You need to know who the decision will affect, the possible obstacles you may face, how worthwhile it will be to follow a course of action, what are your backup plans. These and so many other questions need answers to establish a clear goal.
- Gather information about all your options
The level of information you have about your available options will determine the quality of your final decision. A good decision is the result of careful consideration and comparison of different alternatives to find the best course of action. Each decision will come with opportunities as well as glaring warning signs. A simple SWOT analysis can help you create a list of necessary points to consider before selecting the best option for you. Assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that every option presents will help you understand more about the unsolved problem and the best solution.
When information is not readily available, you can ask people, preferably professionals, for more information. Doing this will help you reduce your chances of getting biased opinions that will confuse you rather than convince you about choosing the best option.
- Trust your instincts
You may feel the need to decide after much consideration, but you must also not forget that your first instincts can be a glaring indication of what you subconsciously want. However, trusting your instincts does not mean that your decisions should be rushed or improvised. Improvisation might work well for actors on set, but it may lead to undesirable outcomes in real life.
In essence, what trusting your instincts means is that you should consider which alternative gives you inner peace when you think about it. Don't go with the most logical option all the time; make sure that you consider which decision makes you happy and at peace with yourself.
- Take enough time
Understanding how timing affects decisions and the eventual outcomes is a great decision making skill. Decision making comes with a lot of pressure. Imagine the pressure that comes with surprise opportunities like a job offer or the offer of a serious relationship. These things cannot and should not be decided on a whim.
In cases like these, the best thing you can do is take enough time to consider all your options and respond after giving it a lot of thought.
- Make the decision
Now that you have taken enough time to weigh all your options carefully, you have all the information, you need to make the right decision. This stage can still be as scary as hell, even though you have considered the decision seriously. When in doubt, remember to channel a lot of positive thinking and meditate to make the right decision.
The thing about decision making is that the more decisions you make, the better you will make decisions in the future. So, practice these simple steps as much as possible, and you will become more accurate when making future decisions.