There are three kinds of decision makers: the decisives, the wafflers, and those in the middle. The middle group is decisive with some kinds of decisions, but waffles on others. It doesn’t seem to correlate to the type of decision either. For example, I know someone who picked out a new car in about 10 minutes, but will spend what feels like days waffling over what to order when we go out to eat.
Whatever your decision making type, there comes a time when we are all faced with a big decision. Maybe you’re thinking of moving across the country, or considering a marriage proposal, or changing jobs, or choosing which house to buy, and wondering, how should I make this decision?
There are a lot of schools of thought on this, but you can definitely move beyond waffling over a pro/con list and make a more nuanced evaluation of your decision. Here are some things to try:
- Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen with each option. Often we are paralyzed by fear when making a decision. When you face your fear and think about the unlikely worst case, it may be easier to take some of the emotion out of the decision and think rationally.
- Then ask yourself what the best case scenario is for each option. One option will likely look more appealing, especially when you open yourself up to the idea that things will likely go well.
- Check out your body – often our body is telling us an important message. If one option makes you tense up and the other relaxes you, for example, that’s important information to consider.
- Meditate on it. Try to clear your mind, focus on your breath and observe your thoughts as they pass. Don’t analyze them, just observe. You know how sometimes you can’t remember something no matter how hard you try, and later when you stop trying it pops into your head? Meditation can help you get to the state where the right answer pops into your head.
- Talk to a trusted friend. Ideally this is a friend who is good at seeing both sides, and will tell you the things you don’t want to hear.
- Look for signs the universe is telling you something. I know, this might be a bit out there for some folks, but you may see hints around you that lead to one option or another. Or you may have a dream that points you in the right direction.
- Create a vision. Ask yourself, what do you really want out of the decision? Then consider how each option supports the vision or gets you on the path you want to take.
- Actually make a decision, then stick with it. Don’t dither too long, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Get comfortable and clear, choose an option, and don’t second guess yourself.
In the end, remember this: you will be OK. You may look back and be glad you made that decision, or you may regret it, but either way, things work out the way they’re supposed to. So grab life with both hands, pick a path and embrace your destiny.
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