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If You Have These 8 Habits, You’re More Likely to Make Terrible Decisions Than Others

If You Have These 8 Habits, You’re More Likely to Make Terrible Decisions Than Others

Let’s get real: we’ve all made bad decisions from time to time.[1] That’s just part of life. Some people make terrible decisions more often than others, however (let’s be honest: we all have that one friend).

If you suspect you might BE the friend who can’t get it together, then it might be time to reevaluate your own decision making. Here are 8 habits that could be fueling a string of bad decisions. Do they sound familiar? Don’t worry—you CAN work on fixing these habits, but you need to understand why they’re sabotaging you in the first place before you can start making better decisions. We’ll show you why they’re standing in your way—and how to fix them.[2]

You don’t prioritize sleep

60 years ago, Americans slept an average of 7.1 hours a night.[3] These days, that number is only 6.1 hours. We’ve all heard how important sleep is to our health and well-being. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t think clearly. You’ll be more prone to injury (1.6x more likely to be injured on the job), and you won’t be able to make good decisions.

The fix for this is simple, but it does take some discipline and boundaries. Set yourself a bedtime and stick to it! Limit caffeine late in the day, and turn off your electronics before bed.

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You struggle a lot when making decisions

It may seem strange that indecisiveness can lead to terrible decisions,[4] but it’s absolutely true. If you don’t want to make a decision, you may go back and forth on what you want, which won’t allow you to objectively make a good decision based on your gut and the facts.

There’s no point in going over the facts over and over to avoid making a decision. Consider all the angles once, and then make a decision that seems best. Then move on!

You follow the herd

It’s so tempting to just agree with what everyone else is doing, isn’t it? Unfortunately, this can lead to some pretty terrible decisions. Following the herd doesn’t allow you to form your own opinions and make a well-reasoned decision—it’s based on emotion and perceived safety.[5]

If you’re thinking about following suit and making the same decision as everyone else, really stop and think about it first. Are you following because it’s easier, or because you actually agree with the decision?

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You’re used to giving up on goals

If you have a pattern of repeatedly giving up on goals, it could be influencing some bad decision making. If you give up at every road block, then you might start making decisions only based on fear. Setting and sticking to goals is essential for personal growth and making consistently good decisions.

If you’ve had trouble meeting goals in the past, start small. Make some easy goals you can achieve quickly to help build up your confidence. Decide to meet any obstacles head on, and don’t give up!

You focus too much on the past

It’s essential to draw on past experience in life—that’s how we learn and protect ourselves. If you’re only focusing on the past, however, you may be repeating mistakes when you make decisions. Or, you may be making decisions based on faulty or outdated assumptions.

It’s important to continually update your processes and look for new solutions. This will help you move forward instead of staying stuck in the past—and getting left behind.

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You seldom do self-reflection

None of us want to blame ourselves for our own problems—we’d much rather point the finger elsewhere. Unfortunately, this self-victimization can sabotage good decision making. You won’t be engaged at work because you’ll be too busy blaming others, and you can easily become one of the 38% of Americans who feel overwhelmed at work.[6]

It’s important to accept that you are responsible for your own feelings and actions. Take ownership of your decisions, and own up to them when you make a mistake. You’ll make better decisions because you’re willing to stand behind them.

You think too much in face of uncertainties

Similar to indecisiveness, overthinking your decisions can lead to uncertainty and reading into the situation too much. You won’t trust your gut and you’ll probably end up too confused to make a good decision.

Yes, you should obviously put thought into a big decision. But don’t let it consume you. Look at all the angles, check your instincts, and make a decision confidently. Then, move on!

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You mistake opinions for facts sometimes

In theory, we all know the difference between opinions and facts, but many people blur those lines and take everything other people (or themselves) think as fact. Falling into this trap can lead to some truly terrible decisions!

If you’re making a decision, do some research on the “facts.” Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you proceed!

Reference

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Last Updated on December 17, 2018

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

We live in a time of productivity overload.

Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

    Is this you?

    Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

    When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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    Take a deep breath/change your body posture

    When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

    Focus on right now

    Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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    Take Action

    Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

    Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

    Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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    yoga-422196_1280
      Relax and enjoy the moment

      Stop feeling guilty

      Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

      Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

      Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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