We make so many decisions every day that it makes sense to have a set of guidelines to help us make them timely, confidently, and wisely.
Our decisions range from the small, seemingly inconsequential (what we’re going to wear, what we’re going to eat, where we’re going to stop for gas); to the ones that have lifelong implications (our choice of spouse or career); and those that fall in between. These days, decisions can be complicated even more because everywhere we turn there’s so much to choose from. It’s not just information or product overload…it’s everything overload! As a mom of three – (and grandmother) – and service business owner/operator for 25 years, life has been a continuum of decisions. These are some of the decision making guidelines that help me keep my sanity:
- First, the physical: It’s hard to make decisions when you’re not functioning well physically. Give yourself what it is you need to function well. If you need 8 hours of sleep, don’t sleep 6 hours. You’ll end up paying for it. I know I can function fine on about 6 hours of sleep, but when I consume too much sugar my brain and body become so lethargic that I feel terrible. It isn’t always easy for me to follow this guideline. I often try to pull the wool over my own eyes by telling myself “one more cookie will be fine…don’t worry about it…” It’s definitely the classic angel on one shoulder and devil on the other!
- Cultivate action as a habit: In other words, don’t procrastinate. Handling unexpected issues and decisions is easier without the weight of back logged chores and responsibilities.
- Accept the reality of failure: I almost wrote “accept the possibility of failure” but changed the word possibility to reality because the reality is: people who actually make decisions and actually do things are going to fail at times. It’s not just a possibility, it’s inevitable. People who are leaders-in their homes, in their jobs, and in their communities put themselves in the position of driving their world forward.
- Big stuff deserves attention: Decisions that will significantly affect life (do I move, quit my job, have another baby) should have your full mental energy. Do research, weigh it out, think, trust yourself.
- Seize the momentum: After you’ve decided to do something, decide when to do it. If it’s
appropriate to wait – wait. But a lot of times it’s best to seize the momentum and move forward.
- The principle of half: This is one of my favorite ideas. I heard financial expert Suze Orman talk about it in relationship to investing. She said that if you’re having a hard time trying to decide how much to invest or save, just do half the amount you had in mind. That made sense. This principle helps free me from indecision when I feel stuck. I’ve used it many times-with money issues to deciding how much coffee to make.
Having a full life—with our families, our work, our passions–with all the good and the bad—means living and moving through life. It all starts with a decision.
I’d love to hear what decision making guidelines you use. Please let me know in the comments below!
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