12 Mar 2012

How to make better Decisions

No Comments Decision Making, Fearless Living, Free Life Coaching Tips

decision makingDo you like to sit on the fence? It is nice sitting up there on that fence! There is a good view from way up on indecision peak! You can see both sides very clearly, on one side you have all the Pros of a decision, and on the other side of the fence, all the Cons are clearly laid out.

Having the ability to sit up on that fence is actually a positive trait because it means you do take the time to be reflective and really look at the pros and cons of decision. Where it shifts from an empowering act to a dis-empowering act is when you become comfortable sitting up there, and as a result fail to take action. This leads to a couple of negative things.  1st, you end up walking around with the burden of a decision on you. This creates chatter in your head as you roll the pros and cons back and forth . This chatter inevitably leads to negative self talk or negative thinking which then impacts how you feel about the decision, and yourself. All of this distracts you from being present and happy in the moment.

How many decisions do you have that are undone in your life? They could be big decisions like deciding to have a baby, or smaller things like deciding to register for a course, or join a gym. These types of things weigh on you, whether it be subconsciously, in other words you don’t think about the decision, aka avoid it, or consciously, all you can do is think about it and carry it around with you all day.

Here are three strategies to get you down off the fence and making better proactive decisions:

1) Talk it out. Warning! This strategy needs to be applied with caution. Talking it out is the best way to gain clarity on both sides of the decision. When you are able to do this with someone who is invested in your potential, it is tremendously helpful. We’ve all had experiences in our lives where we were free to just talk.  When we allow ourselves to speak uncensored often times the right decision reveals itself. Talking it out with the wrong people in your life however, can be tremendously damaging to your decision making. Be sure to choose people who can listen impartially to you and not impose their own will upon your decision.

2) Manufacture a deadline. All of my clients know this is one of my favourite tools from my kit of living your best life strategies! When you have a decision to make and you do not really have a time frame to decide by, (ie having a baby, quitting smoking, joining a gym), MANUFACTURE a date for yourself and stick with it. For instance, if the decision is to put your house on the market, it would be easy to sit and wait and consider and weigh your options. When exactly is the best time to do this? You can manufacture a deadline in two ways. One is to say, “okay, by March 30 I am going to decide once or for all.” If you feel like you are actually ready to decide, then press yourself into getting the decision made. Decide on a date to decide by, and get busy!

You can also use this technique to work on giving yourself a break. This requires accepting that you are not actually ready to decide. “I am not going to think about putting the house on the market until March 30.” Doing this supports you in taking the pressure off that causes all the negative mind chatter. If you are really unable to decide, then decide proactively to not decide. Manufacture for yourself the deadline when you will revisit it, and then work on letting it go.

3) Allow potential regret to guide you. There is a quote by Lucille Ball that I love. “I would rather regret the things I have done, then regret the things I haven’t done.” When making big life decisions ask yourself what you think you might regret more. Doing or not doing? Most of us can connect to an experience where we did something that didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but we can still find the lesson or silver lining. To me, that is much more comforting then wondering how things might have been had I not let an opportunity pass. The key to this is to look at decisions as an opportunity. Does the opportunity really support the vision you have for yourself, or if it passed by, could it easily be replaced by another? If it could not be easily replaced, then get honest and ask yourself if you think you will regret it later. A great way to evaluate future regret is to ask yourself: “What would my 85 year old self think of this decision?”

Remember, the purpose of getting better at making decisions is so that you can move forward. Doing things ‘on purpose’ feels so much more fulfilling.  Being decisive creates greater excitement than sitting on the fence watching it all happen around you.