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How to Make Good Decisions (Part 1)

12 Tools For Making Tough Life Choices

By on Apr 22, 2018 in Productivity | 1 comment

Making decisions is one of the biggest challenges in life. People waste countless hours going back and forth in their heads.

Getting stuck in indecision leads to lost opportunities, leadership failure, damaged relationships, and inner turmoil.

Few things stress people out more than major choices, and few things bring as much relief as getting decisions made.

With practice, you can improve your ability to make the best choice. Below are 6 tools to start using today.

2 Types of Decisions

There are 2 types of decisions, major and minor. The bigger the choice, the more tools you should apply.

Major: Choices that have big consequences. When they go wrong, they will probably take more than a year to unravel.
Minor: Choices with consequences that, if they go wrong, you can recover in less than one year. 

Examples of Decisions

~ Do I take this job? (major)
~ Should we buy that house? (minor)
~ Should I leave my job? (major)
~ What should I do this weekend? (minor)
~ Should I hide in the closet and scare my daughter? (minor)
~ Where should I invest my money? (minor)
~ Where should we go on vacation? (minor)
~ Should I end this relationship? (major)
~ Should we lease more office space? (minor)
~ Is this the person for me to marry? (major)

6 Decision Making Tools

Tool #1: If I Make This Decision, Can I Live With the Worst Possible Outcome?

Write down the worst realistically possible outcome for making a specific decision. “If I take this new job, I could be miserable and leave within 1 year.” “If I buy this house, I could regret it and be stuck in a house I don’t like.” Then describe how you think you will handle the worse realistically possible outcome. This will help you determine if it’s a major or minor choice.

Tool #2: What Do Experts Recommend?

When you struggle to make a decision, but you know of a trusted expert on the topic, use them for direction. Buy their books, listen to their podcast, give them a call. Many experts have laid out steps to follow that have helped thousands.

Tool #3: If I Make This Decision, How Will it Impact Me in 10 Minutes, 10 Months & 10 Years?

I discovered this tool in the book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip & Dan Heath. Write down how you believe you will think and feel about a particular decision you’re contemplating 10 minutes after you make it, 10 months after you make it, and then 10 years later.

Tool #4: Get Advice From Trusted Friends & Family

Get the opinions of your mature and trusted heart buddies. These people know you well, want the best for you, and often can see roadblocks before you can. 

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tool #5: Advise Yourself Like You Would A Close Friend

A friend is someone who has the courage to tell you the truth. Be a good friend to yourself. If a close friend came to you for advice, regarding this decision, what would you tell him? Shoot straight. Write down your answer.

Tool #6: Does This Decision Make it Through My Filters?

Uncovering and clarifying your core values, life purpose, mission, and vision for your future is an incredibly valuable investment in yourself. They serve as filters for making decisions. Say “no” to any decision that doesn’t align.

Intentionally apply these tools and your choices will improve. I will give you 6 more decision making tools in my next post.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing” – Theodore Roosevelt

Related Posts
How to Make Good Decisions (Part 2)
How To Find Clarity in Life: No Clarity Leads to Bad Decisions
A Simple & Powerful Stress Coping Tool: 4 Steps to Letting Go

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