If you’re unhappy with the results in your life right now, making the effort to change your decisions starting today will be the key to creating the person you want to be and the life you want to have in the future.
Most people don’t know the profound effects of making life choices. Often, we go through life oblivious to what thoughts we are thinking and what actions we are taking. Every single decision we make shapes our current reality. It shapes who we are because we habitually follow through with the decisions we make without even realizing it.
Of course, changing your decisions is no easy feat. It takes an immense amount of effort, courage, and dedication. But if you don’t do this, you may end up living a life you don’t even like.
Now, let’s talk about the 7 ways you can go about making life-changing decisions.
My Life Choices: 7 Ways To Help Make Critical Decisions
Let’s talk about the 7 ways you can go about making life-changing decisions.
1. Realize the Power of Decision Making
Before you start deciding and wondering what your life choices are, you must understand what a decision does.
All life decisions that you make cause a chain of events. When you decide to pick up a cigarette to smoke it, that decision might result in you picking up another one later. After a day, you may have gone through a pack without knowing it. But if you decide not to smoke that first cigarette and decide every five minutes to focus your attention somewhere else when you get that craving, your cravings will eventually subside, and you will become smoke-free.
It comes down to making that very first decision of deciding whether or not to pick up that cigarette.
Each decision you make in life is linked to certain individual factors, such as personality, anxiety, and level of stress.  Be aware of your current situation to help make a choice when you feel yourself leaning into a habit.
2. Go With Your Gut
Oftentimes, we take too much time to make a decision because we’re afraid of what’s going to happen. As a result of this, we go through things like careful planning, deep analysis, and pros and cons before deciding. This is a very time-consuming process.
Instead, learn to trust your gut instinct. For the most part, your first instinct is usually the correct one or the one you truly want to go with.
Your gut instinct is a form of information processing, and scientists call it the “predictive processing framework.” This helps prepare the brain to deal with your situation the best way possible. 
Even if you end up making a mistake, going with your gut still makes you a more confident decision-maker compared to someone who takes all day to decide.
3. Carry Your Decision Out
What’s considered a real decision? It’s when you decide on something, which is carried out through action. It’s pointless to make a decision and have it play out in your head that has no follow through. That’s the same as not making a decision at all.
If you want to make real changes in life, you have to make it a habit to apply action to your decision until it’s completed. By going through this so many times, you will feel more confident with accomplishing the next decision that you have in mind.
4. Tell Others About Your Decisions
There’s something about telling other people what we’re going to do that makes us follow through.
Research proves that you are more likely to meet goals if you share them with people, especially those with a “higher status” than you. 
For example, for the longest time, I’ve been trying to become an early riser. Whenever I tried to use my willpower, waking up early without falling back asleep felt impossible. So what I did was I went to a forum and made the decision to tell people that I would wake up at 6 AM and stay up. Within two days, I accomplished this because I felt a moral obligation to follow through with my words even though I failed the first time.
Did people care? Probably not, but just the fact that there might be someone else out there seeing if you’re telling the truth will give you enough motivation to follow through with your decision.
5. Learn From Your Past Decisions
Even after I failed to follow through with my decision the first time I told people, I didn’t give up. I asked myself, “What can I do this time to make it work tomorrow?”
The truth is, you are going to mess up at times when it comes to making decisions. Instead of beating yourself up over it, learn something from it.
- Ask yourself, what was good about the decision I made?
- What was bad about it?
- What can I learn from it to make a better decision next time?
Remember, don’t put so much emphasis on short-term effects; instead, focus on the long-term effects.
6. Maintain a Flexible Approach
I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but making a decision doesn’t mean you can’t be open to other options.
One of the major reasons why people don’t achieve their goals is because the ones they set are unattainable. 
As much as you can, be objective. If you realize a goal is unattainable, change it to something more realistic.
For example, let’s say you decided to lose ten pounds by next month through cardio. If something comes up, you don’t have to just do cardio. You can be open to losing weight through different methods of dieting as long as it helps you reach your goal in the end.
Don’t be stubborn to seek out only one way of making a decision. Embrace any new knowledge that brings you closer to accomplishing your initial decision.
7. Have Fun Making Decisions
Finally, enjoy the process every time you make a choice. I know decision-making might not be the most fun thing to do, but when you do it often, it becomes a game of opportunity.
You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and you’ll become more confident in yourself and when around others. Anything you decide to do from this point on can have a profound effect later on. Opportunities are always waiting for you. Examine the decisions that you currently have in the day.
Bonus: 4 Reminders In Making Life Choices
Learning how to make a big decision is no easy feat. Here are bonus tips to keep in mind when making life choices with confidence.
1. Take the Time to Reflect
Once in a while, wherever you are in life, take the time to either sit with pen and paper or be alone on a walk or somewhere quiet and ask yourself some questions.
Leonardo da Vinci reportedly would ask himself hundreds of questions. He would not necessarily answer his questions but pose them for consideration. The artist’s thinking can be dubbed interdisciplinary. This means that it is grounded in many aspects. 
This technique allows you to get past the initial surface thoughts to access the deep-rooted ideas that are causing the issues/obstacles and beliefs that are holding you back.
Ask yourself questions like these:
- What do I love about my job?
- What makes my life choices so important?
- What do I love about my life?
- Do I love living here?
- Do I feel like I make enough time for myself, and what do I like to do with my time?
- If I was to write down the emotions I experience each week, would I describe them as mostly positive, mostly negative, or a balance of both? What impacts that?
- How do I respond to criticism?
- Am I good at telling people what I think?
- What do I feel holds me back?
- What would I love to achieve but fear doing and why do I feel I fear it?
The more questions you can ask, the better. Remember, this is not about knowing the answers or answering according to what you know or trust you can do, so be honest with yourself.
2. Challenge Your Own Beliefs
Challenge yourself to ask if your beliefs serve you well or hinder your success and happiness.
Are your beliefs keeping you in a comfort zone, so you don’t have to face what you fear? Or do your beliefs challenge you to go for things even if you fear them a little?
Challenging beliefs help you to see, acknowledge and accept what your beliefs are doing to you. Once you can see, acknowledge, and accept your beliefs and their impact, you will be in a position to take responsibility for them and change. You can’t change permanently until you go through this process.
This will lead you to another very important reminder for us all. You are allowed to change paths.
If you liked being a teacher or a graphic designer and now want to be a police officer or a journalist, that’s fine. It is scary to make changes and choose a different path but to help you do this, remember this question: If I agree to stay like this, then what am I agreeing to?
You don’t need to know how you will achieve it, but you need to know you want to do it.
3. Accept Disagreements
If you think you are confident to be yourself and share what you think, post an unpopular opinion on social media (not an offensive, derogatory comment, just something you don’t like.) I did this recently (I’m happy to connect so that when you give this a go, you can tag me), and asked people to share their unpopular opinions.
I just posted that I don’t like a certain cooking programme that airs here in the UK – The Great British Bake Off. I just don’t get why you’d watch a bunch of people mixing up ingredients to make a cake and then watch three hyper-critical judges tell you your cake has a soggy bottom. While my post had lots of likes, laughs, and loves, not even a quarter of people that liked the post commented.
Within a week of that post, wherever I went, someone would say, “I saw that post, my unpopular view is…..” I asked all of these people, “Why didn’t you post your view on my post?” To which I heard replies like:
- “I didn’t want to offend anyone.
- “I can’t post like you do.”
- “It’s not appropriate to do that.”
- “It could damage my reputation.”
- “You know what people are like.”
Headline news folks, saying you don’t like Christmas jumpers or Elvis is not against the law. While some may not agree with you, ultimately, nice humans accept that with billions of people on the planet, we aren’t going to agree on everything.
4. Look Forward
People need to spend less time looking back at what has happened and spend more time planning where they want to go.
For example, I created a long list of everything that could need to be done to set up Person A’s business, then we broke that down into a timeline to enable them to see their priorities.
So many people try to get to the end of a to-do list, not appreciating there will always be something new on the to-do list.
It’s not about clearing the to-do list, it’s about owning it. And to do that, you need to have a clearly defined plan. Consider everything you could do to make a decision or powerful life choice, and then narrow that down to the absolute priorities.
Do not deviate, and lastly, only ever have three to five actions on your to-do list. Clear them, and you can add the next three to five.
Person A didn’t just set up her own business, it went from her kitchen table to her own offices with staff within 2 years! Spend less time looking back and wondering and more time focusing on what you want and creating the plan to get you there.
Some decisions in life are harder to make, but with these 7 pieces of advice, you can trust yourself more even during the process. Making a decision is the only way to move forward. So remember, any decision is better than none at all.
Tips to Making Critical Life Decisions and Choices
Featured photo credit: Justin Luebke via unsplash.com
|||^||Springer Link: How to Make Big Decisions: A Cross-Sectional Study On the Decision Making Process In Life Choices|
|||^||Cambridge Core: Whatever Next? Predictive Brains, Situated Agents, And The Future of Cognitive Science|
|||^||Ohio State News: Share Your goals – But Be Careful Whom You Tell|
|||^||Harvard Business Review: Why We Set Unattainable Goals|
|||^||Scientific American: The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci|