No one likes decision-making when it comes to the most challenging choices that can change your life. Nevertheless, each day you’re required to make decisions. Deciding things like where you’re going to eat, if you will take that nap that your body needs or whether to watch another hour of television are all harmless decisions.
It’s the more critical choices that count, such as if you should put the house on the market, move to another town, or take a new job that takes some deliberation. You’re free to make the choices you want, but if you make the wrong decision, then you may be broke or miserable. If only there were a way to get this process down to a science.
If you want to make good choices, then you must determine emotions from rationale. You can’t predict the future, but you can use facts to perceive a situation. This little bit of insight can help you make decisions.
Habits to Making Wise Decisions
You’ve probably haven’t given a thought to the mental processes behind your decision-making. However, it’s been a study that’s been observed by both neurobiologists as well as psychologists. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, your decision-making skills come down to things like math, sociology, sensibility, money matters, and diplomatic knowledge, to name a few.
Making a pro and con list is not the wrong place to start. However, you must make sure that you don’t make snap judgments. Sometimes, you must trust your gut on things and hope for the best. Using unconscious decision-making may work out better for you.
Using a list to define all the good and bad aspects of your choices is helpful. Consequently, it all comes down to how you feel about a situation. You may like the job offer you received because it pays good money, but you hate the town where the job is located. Since your life is about much more than your career, you might want to think long and hard before jumping.
According to Making Smarter Decisions, a pro and con list work great for some situations, but it doesn’t work so well for others.
2. Look at The Situation from All Sides
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to be a “devil’s advocate?” When it comes to your decision-making, it’s always good to look at things from both sides. You can’t just latch on to facts and figures and make the choices that you already know are best for you.
In many situations, it’s hard to be objective when it matters so close to your heart. So, you need to search for evidence that can prove you wrong. For instance, your spouse wants to move away from the snow and cold, and they have the idea that California is the perfect state.
However, you only know what you see in movies or on TV. You research the intended location and find that they have some snow in the winter and wildfire risks. Sometimes you need to get an objective third opinion who isn’t so close to the situation. They can help keep things in perspective.
3. Stay Focused
You want to buy a new car. You have your eye on a specific model, but you read an article stating that a few consumers had issues with the airbags. The car is affordable and gets good safety ratings, but you can’t get your mind off these airbag problems.
In this instance, you’re not keeping your eyes on the decision at hand, but instead, you’re getting overly concerned with this tiny detail. The fact is that you need a car, your old one is falling apart, and this vehicle receives good consumer reviews. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspects and forget all the positive ones.
4. Stop Crying Over Spilled Milk
The more invested you’re in an item, the more likely you’re to procrastinate on parting with it. Don’t let the price tag always influence your choices. Let’s assume you have a closet full of clothes you need to donate.
Nevertheless, you keep holding onto them because you paid so much for them, and it’s like throwing money out the window. While it’s good to be financially conscious, you cannot cry over “spilled milk.” You spend that money long ago, and these clothes could help someone now.
Since you’re not using these items and they’re taking up space in your closet, it’s only wise to donate them.
5. Ignore Social Pressure
There are plenty of people who will try to influence your decisions. While it’s okay to use a third party who can be objective, it’s not always the best option to get unsolicited advice. Let’s assume that you don’t care for the pediatrician that sees your baby.
You decide to go to a new pediatrician. However, your family injected their feelings about this matter because they all have used the same doctor for decades. In this instance, you must do what’s best for you and your child, even if it goes against the grain.
If you’re too emotionally attached to the situation or having a hard time deciding, it’s time to call in professional help. For investments, a financial representative might be the best one to make the decision.
When it comes to choices, some people can’t make the right call. This is when it’s good to have trusted friends and advisors that can step in to help.
7. Stop Fearing the After Effects
It’s normal to wonder what the consequences will be to the decisions you make. Sure, having Chinese for dinner instead of Mexican isn’t the same as deciding whether to move across the country. You strive to make a choice based on your happiness and comfort.
How many times does the grass look greener on the other side? Sure, if you’re not happy where you are, then a move might give you hope. However, it could make you miserable too. Have you ever thought that winning the lottery would make you happy?
If you’ve watched any television shows or read newspapers, many people who win the lottery are miserable. You have a 50/50 chance of getting things right. All the fear you feel is from silent psychological resilience.
The key is to stop using your heart and mind to project how this decision will affect you. Instead, look to others who’ve been where you are to make an informed decision. You don’t always have to play it safe. Sometimes the most significant risks in life turn out to be the greatest rewards.
8. Consider Another Viewpoint
Decision-making doesn’t have to be hard when you look at things from another viewpoint. Using a decisive framing factor will allow you to look at the big picture rather than all the small details. When you look at all sides of your choices, then the choices you make can be straightforward.
9. Limit Your Options
You’re standing in line at the local coffee shop. You want a flavored coffee, but you’re having a hard time deciding. There are 50 different options on the menu, and your mind is overwhelmed by the choices.
More choices are not always better. The more options you have, the greater the risk of making a mistake. If you’re trying to pick a new couch for your living room, narrow the choices down to the final three, and then select from those.
If you try to look at 50 at once, it’s too overwhelming for the brain to decipher the best option.
10. Consider Your Emotions
Did you know that your emotions can be the enemy when it comes to decisions making? Anxiety about a situation can put your mind in “fight or flight mode.” Your emotions play a big part in decision-making.
Carol lives next door to her parents. They’re getting older, but she received a job offer that will move her five hours away. While she is excited about the opportunity, she is afraid for her parent’s well-being.
She cries for days at the thought of leaving her ailing parents behind. In the end, she chooses to stay put because she fears her emotional state would be lacking if she were too far away. Your emotions certainly have a significant impact on both your motivation and your thinking.
While you cannot let your emotions dictate your choices, you can use them to guide you. Carol knew that she would be miserable once she got away from her parents, so she made the right choice for her.
Did any of these tips help to sharpen your decision-making techniques? While you will make choices every day, some of the more important ones require more deliberation. When you look at things from all sides, step back and reflect on the situation, and keep your emotions out of things, making the right choice won’t be nearly as difficult.