“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” — Tony Robbins
Do you struggle to make decisions?
You may feel so concerned about making the wrong choice that you don’t make any choice at all. I firmly believe that but by doing this, you actually do make a decision: you decide not to choose any path or destination! No decision is a decision.
The typical way of coming to a decision involves attempting to compare the future consequences of each of the possible actions. But really how do you know the future, how can you realistically make a decision based on “possible” outcomes?
The first challenge lies in attempting to predict the future; it’s tough to have any real accuracy. The second challenge is that the more important and serious we believe the issue to be, the more likely we are to become paralyzed. Yet, these big issues are the ones that really require a decision and a direction. Ultimately, making decisions this way can be difficult. Indecision can feel paralyzing.
Try this on for size, see how it feels differently from the last method. Instead of looking at a long-term point in the future, try considering just the impact on your life and your well-being now – right here, right now, in the present moment.
Suppose you had a job that you didn’t really care for, but the money was good and you didn’t have to work very hard to get it. But you really wanted to be a teacher. The thought of teaching middle school English always appealed to you, and you’d love having the summers available to do something other than work your usual job.
If I selected this option, what impact would it have on my life right now? What changes would I experience immediately?
Now it is so much easier to see what option will feel better, will enhance your life and lead you to greater personal satisfaction.
When you look only at the impact your decision making have in the present moment, you get to the heart of the matter very quickly. The very fact that you’re stuck to begin with and can’t make up your mind means that you’re having a difficult time choosing one over the other. So if there’s no obvious winner, choose the option that’s the most fulfilling to you.
By taking the future out of the equation and simply making a decision, you can move forward and spend your energy taking action to make your decision work out the very best it can. This is a much more effective and enjoyable way to live.
Creating checklists for routine and everyday tasks can free your mind and lower your stress levels. I use checklists often, it allows me to breathe easy, I’m never stressing that I am forgetting something. Once your checklist is ready you don’t need to spend time deciding to do A or B, you will know that you will do B after you have completed A.
Set aside a specific block of time for making your decision. Pick a location where you will not be disturbed. Set a timer. Give yourself enough time, but be careful about using too much as you will turn the session into an unproductive procrastination session.
Quickly rule out choices not suitable. Pick 2-3 choices that interesting and part of your life plan or vision. This allows to you eliminate unnecessary information overload and will help you analyze choices quicker.
Putting the right amount of effort into your decision making will help you make faster decisions and with less stress. Making the decision about “what’s for dinner?” and making the decision about “where to go to college?” both deserve the appropriate amount of time and effort. Understand that smaller decisions don’t need to be made into large ones because you are feeling “stuck”.
Put together a group of friends and family that can assist with the big decisions. You could also opt to join a Mastermind group, a group of peers that can offer you an objective view and a new prospective on your decisions.
Whether it is around the house or at the office, there are some things that you can definitely pass on to other people. Think about the things that can easily be shifted to other family members or assistants. Allow these people to learn the art of decision making for themselves, help prepare them for bigger decisions.
Put some or all of these strategies into practice for fighting stress while making decisions, and you will see real changes in every area of your life. You will see the levels of stress decrease, you will see that decisions become easier to make each time.
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