Everything we do in our lives is governed by the decisions we make, whether they are big or small decisions. Decision-making affects people in many different ways. Some are skilled enough to take on this task and handle it properly. Others push it to the back of their minds, and others merely moan and groan in anguish. The procrastinators are convinced they function at their best under stress and wait until just before the deadline.
To make our lives a bit easier, we should all have one or two processes we use for decision making that work for us. Choosing the right process to use is the first step. Do we want to handle the decision rationally or intuitively? These are the four different styles people use when making their decisions.
- Reactive – They make decisions by reacting to the events.
- Emotional – They allow emotions to influence their decisions.
- Analytical – They only consider reason and logic and ignore feelings.
- Integrative – They integrate all of the other styles making this the most efficient way.
It may be a trial and error process in the beginning, but when we find the right way for us, it all falls into place. We all learn from the wrong decisions we’ve made along the way. Just don’t let these mistakes hinder your decision-making process in the future. Decision making isn’t a mysterious art or an inheritance of the lucky few. It’s a necessary skill that can be learned. It’s a process, consisting of a set of steps to be taken, that will build confidence and ease the entire procedure.
Use these tips to develop Your very own decision-making process:
1. Recall Your Successes
By remembering a time when something was done well, it proves it can be done again. It doesn’t have to be about making decisions, just a success at something. Think of the good decisions you made to eat healthy, get enough sleep, take care of the family, work hard, etc. Time needs to be devoted to encouragement with a “high-five” for even the smallest decision that was made. This gears you up for the bigger decisions that need to be made.
2. Begin to Take Action
Our first instinct, when making an important decision, is to procrastinate. All sorts of negative ideas come to mind and our brain freezes! Just getting started will relieve some of the pressure. Begin by checking out everything you need to make this decision. This first step will make it clearer what will be involved in this decision. So get started and each step taken makes you strong enough to take the next one.
3. Make a List
Think of all of the different options available and write them down. Let your ideas flow freely during this stage of creativity. Our brains are more active when we just let our mind wander, and we become more creative. If we allow ourselves to become pressured and stressed, our brains function differently, and our creativity suffers. Relax and let your mind go where it wants.
4. Get Rid of Limiting Thoughts
If you believe it’s true that your abilities are limited; remember, we can all change our thoughts and beliefs. Some people haven’t been in situations where they’ve had to make critical decisions. That doesn’t mean you can’t step up and do it now. Change your thoughts to focus on the positive accomplishments you’ve had in your life. Carry those thoughts with you when going into the decision-making process.
5. Fact Finding
Take your list of ideas and find any additional info by research, talking to others, or whatever else is needed. Your confidence strengthens when you know all facets that are involved. The more facts you have on hand, the easier it will be to make the right decision.
6. Write Down the Basis
Once you’ve gathered all of the facts, you need to set out an organized approach to value the benefits. Weigh these facts and information to work out what the implication will be, depending on the decision you make. Write down the basis for reaching this decision to see if it makes sense. If not, change it around to come up with a better ending.
7. Consider Compromising
It doesn’t really need to be an “either/or” decision especially if neither one of them is good. Think of an alternative by breaking this important decision down into increments. Write down some smaller decisions and commit to each one of them if they make sense. Then take the smaller decisions and combine them into the major decision. You can always use the smaller ones to show others how you got to the final determination.
Now, it’s time to evaluate your decision by looking at the results. Ask yourself if the decision was a success or could it use a few adjustments. Do you have more information now than when the decision was made? By asking these questions, you can learn how to make better decisions in the future. If the decision was a great success, remember how you came to making it and do it again the next time. And give yourself a pat on the back!
Building your self-confidence can’t be accomplished overnight. If you have habits of not believing in your own capabilities, it may take a little longer. Be guided by what you want and the values you hold close while getting rid of your fears. As the process continues, you’ll gain more trust and empowerment for yourself. Then, when an important decision needs to be made, you’ll be ready to make it.
It’s not always easy to make a decision even if a person is full of self-confidence. Change is not always easy! There are, and will forever be good and bad decisions. And because there are a lot of choices, when making a decision, conflicts can arise. Even when a decision has been made, there may have been good things about the other choices. So it’s not always easy to decide which way to go.
“Making a wrong decision is understandable. Refusing to search continually for learning is not.”
A big part of learning is making decisions which mean people can’t grow or learn if they haven’t made mistakes. If a mistake was made, immediately stand up and question what you’ve learned. Then take that information and use it the next time. As your self-confidence grows, so does your ability to make those important decisions.
Disclaimer: All images are provided by author.