Let’s get real: we’ve all made bad decisions from time to time. 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.
You don’t prioritize sleep
60 years ago, Americans slept an average of 7.1 hours a night. 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.
You struggle a lot when making decisions
It may seem strange that indecisiveness can lead to terrible decisions, 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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
|||^||The New York Times: Why We Make Bad Decisions|
|||^||Lifehack: 5 Techniques To Make Better Decisions|
|||^||EKU Online: Sleep Deficiency and Fatigue Causing More Workplace Injuries|
|||^||Harvard Business Review: 9 Habits That Lead to Terrible Decisions|
|||^||Fast Company: 5 Common Unconscious Biases That Lead To Bad Decisions|
|||^||USC Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology: Lack of engagement in the workplace|