The Power of Decision-Making
I recently had to make a hard decision. Though I knew I had to make the decision, I still didn’t want to. It was quite difficult for me because, often, I am not brave. I like the safe path. When a difficult decision needs to be made, consider the alternatives to the “safe” path. Ultimately many people do not realize the power of decision-making.
1. Consider Future You
I want you to think about future you right now. This is the you that you want to be. The ideal, happier, wiser, improved you.
What would they want you to do? Doing this can help prevent mistakes, regrets, and not acting sooner than later. Thinking about future me is what helped me the most in making the hard decision.
I knew that not making the decision would be more comfortable, but worse for me in the long run. Sometimes hard decisions give us better futures, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the present time. If we are faced with a hard decision, it often comes with unhappiness and a need for change.
Many of us are scared, so we stay comfortable yet unhappy or unfulfilled. I know it can be hard to be brave.
2. Pain Now is Better than Avoiding Reality
With a hard decision comes discomfort. Doing what’s easy can eventually make life harder, but doing what’s hard can make life easier.
Making the decision for me was awkward, uncomfortable, and yes, a little painful. But I faced it. So, when it comes to making the hard decision or doing nothing, you have two choices.
You can make a difficult decision and risk some anxiety, uncertainty, or discomfort. Or, you can make the easy, comfortable choice and do nothing and possibly deal with long-term, enduring pain.
Keep in mind you will experience pain in either situation. The type of pain you feel is your choice.
3. Consider Your Values
These are YOUR values – maybe not the values you grew up with or the values of the people around you. This may be a chance to put yourself first. Discover what is important for you: what are your needs, wants, and goals for the future? What is important to you? Often, we sacrifice our own happiness or don’t love ourselves because it’s easier, or we’ve been doing what was expected, or what we thought we were supposed to do. Maybe you’re starting to see the power of decision-making.
I want you to be clear on your values, goals, and what you want out of your life. If something is not aligned with your values, now is a great time to start thinking and working on changes you want to make in our therapy sessions.
Oftentimes what we want now or what we think we want is not always best for us.
4. Doing Nothing is a Decision
Choosing to do nothing is an easy choice to make – but it is a choice. Everything you do or don’t do in your life is a choice. Making hard decisions gives you the power that nothing else can.
Over time, you will find that there are trends in your life. These trends are based on what is going on in your life now. Trends continue unless there is a change that reverses the trend.
5. Waiting to Make a Decision Can be a Waste of Time
If you need to make a hard decision, chances are that you already know the decision you want to make. Why are you waiting? Only you can really answer that question for yourself.
When you’re waiting, you may feel stuck. Your mind is thinking about the future, but you’re physically stuck in the past. Your actions are not lining up with your values.
6. Consider the Potential Growth You May Experience
When thinking about decisions I’ve made, sometimes I wished someone else could have done it for me! It would have been so much easier. But I know that by making these decisions myself, I learned and grew from them on my own. I gained insight and created a life for myself by making decisions.
Recognizing the power in desision-making is half the battle. Take power in making your decision and embrace the freedom in your ability to make it.
7. Make a Plan
Sometimes a hard decision involves a lot of small steps toward that decision. Make a list of things that need to be done to get you closer to making your own decision. These steps should have urgency and be a top priority. Try not to wait around to make your list. Creating a plan with small, realistic steps makes the action you’ll take more realistic and manageable. No one flies straight to the moon. They go to training first!
8. Set a Deadline
Part of making a plan is to set a deadline – an actual date. The more detail and clarity you invest in your ideas, the better. Be realistic about your timeline, (remember the Moon!), but don’t set it so far out that you forget about it, either.
9. Tell Others
Sometimes telling others about your decision and plan can help with accountability. It’s also helpful to have a trustworthy friend or group of friends who support you on your journey to make changes in your life. They can help reduce your anxiety about your decision and help you realize that you’re not alone in what you’re going through.
Having an outside opinion, like a therapist, can also be useful if you’re having trouble making sure it’s the right decision.
10. Make a Commitment to Yourself
When we make a commitment to others, we’re more likely to follow through because we don’t want to disappoint them. When you make a commitment to yourself, you have the opportunity to decide to follow through no matter what!
When you start to accept and embrace the power of decision-making, you can start to make better, more informed decisions.
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