What do you do when you have absolutely no idea what to do? Making up your mind can be difficult even when it comes to choosing what to cook for dinner (After half a day of thinking, I still can't decide for tonight: Chinese-style chicken or grilled and a salad?). So how can you deal with big decisions, the kind that may change your future to a great extent? If you're struggling, check out the following tips that could make the process easier for you.
1 Pretend That You're Advising Your Friend
Being faced with an important decision can wreak havoc on your emotions, and this clouds your judgment. I know, it can be hard to set your emotions aside, but it helps to be aware that they can have a big impact on your choices. Pretending a friend of yours is the one who needs to make the decision and that you're just advising them can help you break free of your emotions (at least to some extent) and see things more clearly.
2 Pretend That No One else Cares What You do
Our decisions are often influenced by what other would think of us. What if people will laugh at me if I choose to do this? What if I'll look ridiculous? What would bring me more prestige/appreciation? To not fall prey to such thoughts and discover your intrinsic goals, imagine nobody else knows or cares about what you decide to do. Of course, I'm not saying to disregard the needs or desires of your loved ones, especially if your choice affects their life. This exercise is meant to help you get rid of external factors that don't really matter and shouldn't carry any weight in your decision.
3 Don't Give It so Much Importance
We often put more weight on our decisions than they're worth. Chances are, this decision you're about to make will not end the world – nor save it. Yes, deciding the career path you want to pursue is a big deal, but you CAN switch careers after all, if your first choice wasn't the best one. Almost everything is reversible.
4 The Escape Clause
Speaking of reversibility, think about what happens if you finally choose one of your options and then you decide to back out. Acknowledging that you have an escape window and considering what would happen if you jumped through it can make it easier for you to take the leap.
5 Get Informed
Maybe you're the kind of gal who likes to rely on her instinct when making a decision. Still, informing yourself is an essential step to take. A study conducted by Dutch psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis showed that decisions driven by intuition tend to be more accurate when made by experts. So, doing your homework on the topic and becoming an expert can make your gut feeling more reliable.
6 There May Be an Option C
Because this is how our brain works, we are prone to making the same type of choices throughout our lives. Sometimes, challenging ourselves to step outside our comfort zone can lead to completely new ideas – sometimes much better than the options we thought we had. If you have to decide between two different choices, throw in a new one that is very different – the opposite, even – from what you would normally do. Even if option C is not the answer, it will at least challenge your brain and help you figure out what truly matters to you.
7 There is No One "Right" Choice
When faced with a tough decision, we often think that there's just one "right" choice and we have to find a way to figure out which one it is. Unfortunately, the truth is that there's no perfect answer. Each option will come with its own pros and cons. Whichever path you decide to walk on, you may feel a degree of regret, fear, loss or sadness (or step into a puddle). But that doesn't mean it's the wrong path.
Okay, I made up my mind: I'm going for Chinese-style chicken. Time to heat up the wok and chop up some veggies. How about you? Did the tips above help you with your decision?