How To Make Better Decisions

From choosing what to wear each day to ascertaining next steps in your career and relationships, barely an hour goes by without us having to use our head – and our heart – to decide on a course of action.

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So whether you’re one of those people who always worries about getting it wrong, or are the type who tends to plough headlong into a task, project or life-change, we’ve got some brilliant tips for helping you get it right.

Get some perspective

Making big decisions can sometimes feel rather overwhelming, so it’s important to put things into perspective. Gather the facts, analyse them with a realistic eye. By staying calm and getting some perspective, you’re putting yourself in control.

Consideration is the key

What exactly are your options? Whatever decision you need to make, big or small, essential or not, knowing where you stand so you can clearly consider your options is the perfect position to be in. Whether you’re after a strong decision making process for relationships, careers or life in general, take time to mull things over and at least you can say you tried your best and didn’t succumb to a knee-jerk reaction.

Love a list

To help with the points above, drawing up a pros and cons list is often a really useful tool. And once you’ve done it – or even ahead of doing so – it can also be a good idea to discuss the pros and cons with people whose opinion you value and trust. After all, there’s nothing like someone with a bit of distance taking a look at your situation from the outside to help you get some perspective, gather the facts and consider your options.

The mere process of talking things through can also help take the pressure off and help give you a clearer head. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while.

Give yourself a deadline

Most of us work to deadlines all the time, but in many cases they’re imposed upon us, so we have to stick to them. Getting the kids to school on time, filing that report the boss wants for a big presentation, finishing the living room paint job before the new sofa gets delivered – we all work to deadlines without any drama most of the time. Yet for some reason we often let them drag when it comes to things we’re totally in control of ourselves.

But the more time you dwell on things after gathering the facts and considering your options, the more time you let that pros and cons list sit untended, the harder it gets to make a decision. Set a time and a date and be ruthless. It’s all part of making your decision making process more efficient.

Heart vs head

Some people are ruled by their heart and some by their head. The secret to strong decision making processes is to know which personality type you are and take steps to balance things out. If you’re always ruled by your gut or impulsive, it’s important to give your head time to catch up and have some input.

Conversely, if you’re always calm and measured and let your brain do the thinking, it could be time to give your heart a say. Forget about being rational and sensible for once – what will truly make you happy? Trust yourself, listen to your instincts and see where they take you.

Learn from the past

There’s no point holding onto past mistakes or beating yourself up about decisions that didn’t go quite according to plan. Learn from them by all means and resolve never to trip up like that again, but don’t dwell on them to the point you’re thinking about them every waking minute.

Give yourself a break, be kind to yourself and move on. The past is the past and that’s where it should stay. Make amends if you have to, but always look to the future.

Master the balancing act

Lots of decisions are relatively straightforward, whereas others can make you feel weighed down. This is particularly the case when there are multiple outcomes to weigh up.

Friends, family, colleagues, finances and the future can all make life, and decision making, more complicated. But with some of the ideas above, you’re sure to be able to strike the right balance.