4 Tips To Help You Make The ‘Right’ Life Decisions

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When It Comes To Decision Making Is Indecision a Decision?

BY DR SARAH HUGHES

Is indecision a decision?

Is indecision a decision?

What should I do with my life? Should I end my marriage? Should I stay in this relationship? Should I change careers?

Life changing decisions are just that, life changing, and the pressure to make the “right” decision can be paralysing. When we’re faced with big decisions we turn to logic to guide us. We weigh up the pros and cons and look at the problem from every possible angle. We try to anticipate what will happen if we follow path A versus path B but the multitude of possible outcomes can leave us feeling unsure, overwhelmed, and confused. So we postpone our decision hoping that the situation will resolve itself, all the while not realising that by not deciding we’ve made a decision by default.

So why are we so afraid to make decisions? Elizabeth Gilbert – author of Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage – put it well when she said:

The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice

Making a decision to change something big in your life can feel scary and overwhelming. The what if’s and the question mark that looms in the future can make you reluctant to commit to change, but don’t be fooled, when you avoid making a decision you’re still making a decision, you’re just deciding by default. All too often fear can stop us from getting where we need to go. If you’re unhappy in an area of your life be an active participant in the decision making process, don’t let fear make the decision for you.

Here are our top tips for making active decisions:

Tip #1: Stay Focused On Your Goal

What do you want long-term? Be clear on this before you even start thinking about which direction to head in. Use your goals to evaluate your decisions – ask “will this option take me closer to or further away from my longer-term goal?”

Tip #2: Think On It Just Don’t Over Think It

Forget logistics and feasibility and make a list of all possible courses of action you can take. Look at which options will help you to achieve your goal and then look at the pros and cons of each. If a course of action will help you to achieve your goal without causing catastrophic consequences, run with it. If more than one course of action meets these criteria, pick either one. Don’t worry too much about which choice is the most right – both options will get you where you need to be.

Tip #3: Don’t Think Too Many Steps Ahead

Looking ahead to potential consequences is an important part of the decision making process, but think too far ahead and you’ll become confused by the multitude of permutations of what could come next. Look 1-2 steps ahead, but as for the distant future, trust that you’ll be able to figure it out when you get there.

Tip #4: Don’t Be Guided By Fear

Making decisions can be scary but what are the costs of not making a decision? If you make the “wrong” decision, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Would this make you any more unhappy than you already are? Would this outcome be absolute and unfixable? Don’t allow uncertainty and fear to hold you back. Ask yourself – am I where I want to be? If the answer is no, use this as a reason to overcome your fear.

Dr. Sarah Hughes is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Think Clinical Psychologists. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and challenging behaviour.