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Published on March 9, 2021

8 Effective Ways To Make Hard Decisions Easier

8 Effective Ways To Make Hard Decisions Easier

Do you find it difficult to make major decisions? Some people would rather put off making hard decisions than confront them head-on.[1] Others rush through the process, ending up regretful and wishing they had taken more time deciding on a tough matter. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic put more pressure on the process because we want to avoid making the wrong decisions as we try to adapt to the new abnormal.[2]

Yet, it’s not about how much time you spent making a decision that matters. Rather, it all boils down to your decision-making process and whether you use effective methods. Using the correct methods will also ensure that you won’t get held back by decision fatigue when the quality of your choices declines after a long bout of decision-making.[3]

Tough Decisions: Should You Listen to Your Gut?

Whether you are deciding on personal or professional matters, many major decisions are life-changing and must be approached with care. Unfortunately, many people rely on intuition for their decision-making process. Gut reactions are considered magical, acquired either by hard-earned experience or possessed by only a few experts. Popular gurus even reinforce these mystical beliefs with their advice.

However, research in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics shows that unbiased methods, not gut-based ones, improve one’s decision-making ability.[4] We have a lot more tools now in the information age to aid in our decision-making. That being said, it’s truly unfortunate that prominent gurus continue to advocate for intuition-based methods.

The reason why intuition is a bad tool for decision-making is that we are prone to dangerous judgment mistakes resulting from how our brains are wired. These errors are what scholars in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience refer to as cognitive biases.[5]

It’s a good thing that recent studies in these fields demonstrate how you can use pragmatic strategies to identify and defend yourself against these errors.[6]

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8 Effective Ways to Make Hard Decisions Easier

Whether you’re about to make a personal or professional decision, you can follow data-driven and research-based approaches to make hard decisions easier. Note that efficient decision-making doesn’t depend on either innate talent or hard-earned personal experience. The reality is that it all boils down to efficient methods that are teachable and learnable.

Moving to a new city, asking for a raise, getting a graduate degree, deciding on whether to get into or out of a long-term relationship—all of these and many more represent important decisions. You can, of course, recover if you make the wrong ones during such life-altering junctures.

However, getting them wrong can cause terrible disruptions that can be completely avoided if you follow these 8 efficient methods.

1. Identify the Need to Make a Decision

This is crucial because it allows you to take notice even when there’s no outward problem signaling that you need to make a hard decision or when you initially feel that you just need to make a minor one. Don’t forget that your natural intuitions can also make it uncomfortable to admit that a difficult choice needs to be made.

Keep in mind that the best decision-makers take the initiative to admit the need for a decision before they become an all-out crisis. They also don’t let their gut reactions affect their decisions.

What will help you maximize this method is to make sure that you are asking the right questions. It’s common to waste a lot of time trying to analyze a problem by heading straight to the data and a hasty conclusion. Focusing on good questions will help you avoid this.

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2. Get Relevant Information From a Diverse Set of Informed Perspectives

The information could be from a friend, a colleague, a mentor, or even someone you are not closely related to, as long as they have significant knowledge regarding the matter. Furthermore, limiting your data gathering to just informed perspectives will keep you from over-investing in unnecessary data.

Make sure not to dismiss perspectives with which you disagree. After all, opposing opinions allow you to distance yourself from relying on your gut instincts and allows you to see any possible bias blind spots.

3. Decide What Goals You Want to Reach

Using the relevant information you gathered, decide what goals you want to reach. Visualize the intended outcome of your decision-making.

It’s crucial to identify when a seemingly one-off decision is a sign of an underlying problem. Include dealing with these root problems as part of your end goal. This method will help you further streamline your decision-making process because it allows you to identify your targets clearly. This, in turn, helps steer your mind away from having to juggle too much information.

4.  Form a Decision-Making Process Criteria

Form a decision-making process criteria to assess the different options of how you want to achieve your desired outcome. If possible, create the criteria before you even begin looking at your choices. Remember that our intuitions affect our decision-making process by pushing for outcomes that match our instincts. The result? You get worse results overall if you don’t make the relevant criteria before you examine your options.

5. Make a List of Potential Options That Can Help You Reach Your Goal

It’s quite common to generate an insufficient number of options when dealing with hard decisions, particularly when you need to address underlying issues. The best way to tackle this is to generate more options that seem intuitive to you. Aim for 5 attractive choices as the minimum.

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Keep in mind that since this is a brainstorming method, you should avoid judging the options even if they seem outlandish. From what I’ve seen in my years of coaching people who were having difficulty making tough life decisions, the best choices usually involve elements that came from innovative options.

6. Examine the Options and Select the Best One

Avoid going with your initial choices when weighing your options. In addition, try your best to view your own preferred option in a harsh light. Another key point is to do your best to assess each choice from your opinion of the person who suggested it. This will minimize the effect of internal politics and relationships on the decision itself.

When examining options, avoid automatically choosing your original preferences. Also, view your own preferred choice in a harsh light and from many angles. Moreover, do your best to evaluate each option separately from your opinion of the person who proposed it. This will minimize the impact of personalities, relationships, and internal politics on the decision itself.

7. Implement the Option You Selected

Implementing this method calls for careful brainstorming and imagination. You will need to minimize your risks and maximize rewards because the goal is to arrive at the best decision possible.

To do so, first, imagine that your choice completely fails. Next, think about all the issues that led to its failure. Then, think of how you can solve these problems and integrate those solutions into the implementation plan.

The next step for this method is to imagine that your decision was a success. Next, think of the factors leading to its success, brainstorm how you can bring these reasons to life, and include what you came up with into rolling out the decisions.

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8. Assess the Implementation of the Decision and Revise or Fine-Tune as Needed

Develop clear metrics of success that you can use during the implementation process. Check regularly if your implementation is meeting or surpassing the metrics. If it’s falling short, revise the implementation. There might even be instances when you’ll need to revise the original decision itself. That’s not a bad thing. Just go back to the particular method you need to reexamine and start again.

In broader terms, you might experience going back and forth among these 8 methods. Remember that these revisions are just part of decision-making and do not mean that there’s a problem in the process.

For instance, if you are at the choice-generating stage and you find that you need to add relevant new data, you may need to go back and change your goals and criteria.

Let me just add that these methods are battle-tested and you can elaborate on these methods for the most part. I’ve used it extensively with my consulting and coaching clients who previously found themselves stuck when trying to make different sorts of hard decisions. After using these methods several times, they soon got into the habit of approaching each hard decision with a pragmatic mindset and had an easier time deciding eventually.

Conclusion

Don’t be fooled by the advice of popular gurus to listen to your intuition when making hard decisions. Your gut reactions are not a good way to gauge life-altering actions. Instead, follow the pragmatic strategy of using these 8 research-based and data-driven decision-making methods to conquer difficult junctures in your personal and professional life.

More Tips on How to Make Decisions

Featured photo credit: Jake Melara via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky

Cognitive neuroscientist and behavioral economist; CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts; multiple best-selling author

8 Effective Ways To Make Hard Decisions Easier 8 Daily Habits To Develop Emotional Intelligence How to Cope with COVID Anxiety And Stress How to Handle Pandemic Depression and Take Care of Yourself How Cognitive Bias Influences Our Decision Making

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Published on March 18, 2021

7 Best Brain Supplements that Actually Work

7 Best Brain Supplements that Actually Work

As important as it is to look after our body, it’s also important for us to be looking after our own mental health. Doing daily exercises, eating plant-based or organic meals, amongst other activities are a good way of promoting our brain health. But for many other people, they feel that they can be getting more out of it.

There is a tonne of top brain supplements available for you to look out for. With plenty of brain supplements available on the market, we wanted to pick out the ideal supplements for you to purchase. As such, the ones we recommend offer the following:

  • Nootropics – Every one of these supplements is a nootropic, meaning that they are drugs that have a track record of improving cognitive function.
  • Science-backed – One of the big problems with brain supplements is that there is no oversight. The best memory supplements, therefore, are the ones that have been researched and have studies to support the use of them.
  • Price vs. Value – All of these nootropics are able to work on various parts of the brain, offering plenty of value at a reasonable price. They’re one of the best memory supplements and can stave off age-related brain problems such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Below is a list of the best brain supplements to improve your memory, sharpen your focus and grow your brain further.

1. Blended Vitamin & Mineral

When it comes to supplements, it’s hard to find a supplement that offers a blend of vitamins spread over many vitamins. This isn’t the case when you’re purchasing from the Infuel brand. Infuel Focus Boost offers a great blend of vitamins and essential nutrients that can help in whatever you hope to achieve.

The vitamins, which include Vitamin A, B complex, C and D, that Infuel Focus Boost provides will allow you to stay focused and sharp throughout the day. You’ll also find that your energy levels, memory retention and overall clarity will be increased with this brain supplement.

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2. Fish Oil

Another one of the best memory supplements to consider is fish oil supplements. Fish oil supplements provide a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

These types of omega-3 fatty acids have been tested thoroughly and have been linked to several types of health benefits. One such improvement is brain health.[1]

Out of the various supplements available, Nature’s Bounty is an ideal pick. They are softgels which means your body will be able to absorb all the nutrients. The company also prioritizes purity so you can expect no filler or unnecessary ingredients in these pills. Paired with the fact they are trusted by wellness experts is enough to say this is a quality brand.

3. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant that occurs naturally in the skin of purple and red fruits such as grapes and other berries. You can also find this in red wine, chocolate and peanuts.

Even though you could get resveratrol from those sources, health experts still recommend supplements to ensure you get higher doses of it. Studies show that taking resveratrol is able to prevent the deterioration of the hippocampus,[2] the part that is connected to our memory.

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One brand that caught our attention for providing this supplement is Toniiq. The company takes pride in their 600mg capsules providing the highest quality of resveratrol you can find. Better yet, they are ethically sourced and cultivated using an extraction process that ensures a 98% purity. While it’s not 100%, it’s a big stretch as other brands that produce resveratrol tend to contain 50% or less purity.

4. Phosphatidylserine

Also known as phospholipid, it’s a type of fat that our own brain has right now. That said, because our brain will deteriorate with age, taking supplements of this type can actually help in preserving the health of our brain.[3] By preserving your brain, you’ll be able to keep up with typical brain functions as you would normally.

Out of the various best memory supplements available, Double Wood’s phosphatidylserine was a notable one. It’s made in the USA and tested for purity. It’s non-GMO, soy-based, and the capsule is gelatin.

5. Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid that our body produces ourselves. But like many supplements on this list, boosting its production with a supplement has proven to be beneficial for us. In this case, this is one of the ideal focus supplements to go for as studies show taking these supplements to boost focus, improve memory and slow down age-related memory loss.[4]

Out of the various top brain supplements available, our pick is the NaturaLife Labs supplements. They are GMO Free, and Vegan friendly. Beyond that, these supplements are highly potent at 1500mg. It’s also made 100% pure acetyl-l-carnitine so you shouldn’t expect fillers or binders when taking them.

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6. Ginkgo Biloba

You probably haven’t heard about Ginkgo Biloba much because it’s actually a herbal supplement that stems from the tree of the same name.

Think of it as a supplement hidden in plain sight as it’s incredibly popular amongst people who look past the unique name and figure out what it does. Research shows, taking these supplements increases blood flow to the brain which in turn improves brain functions of the brain.[5]

Nature’s Bounty offers these top brain supplements too and is a great brand to purchase from. Similar to what’s mentioned above with the previous supplements, these are pure and high-quality supplements.

7. Creatine

Creatine is the last on our list and is something that you might be familiar with. After all, it’s commonly found in protein powders, meats, fish, and eggs too. Creatine is also found in our own bodies and plays an important role in our energy levels and metabolism.

That said, not every person is big on eating those kinds of foods. As such, supplements provide a good way to get the creatine your body needs. Not only does creatine help with energy levels, but also sharpen our brain – namely an improved memory and thinking skills.

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You can look to protein powder for creatine, but you can also consider capsules as well. With capsules, you don’t have to think much about adding liquids. Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine capsules are a notable option as they provide 2.5 grams of pure creatine per serving. They’re also easy to swallow making it an ideal supplement to try out.

Bottom Line

When looking for brain-boosting supplements, you don’t have to look far. Paying attention to your diet can help you out in keeping up your brain functionality.

However, adding one or two of these supplements into your daily supplement routine would help you in boosting your brain functionality, memory, and stave off the various age-related brain problems.

Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

Reference

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