Most people don’t know the profound effects of making decisions. Often times, we go through life oblivious to what thoughts we are thinking and what actions we are taking. Every single decision we make in our days shapes our current reality. It shapes who we are as a person because we habitually follow through with the decisions we make without even realizing it.
If you’re unhappy with the results in your life right now, making the effort to changing your decisions starting today will be the key to creating the person you want to be and the life you want to have in the future. Let’s talk about a few ways you can go about making life changing decisions.
1. Realize the power of decision making.
Before you start making a decision, you have to understand what a decision does. Any decision that you make causes a chain of events to happen. When you decide to pick up a cigarette to smoke it, that decision might result in you picking up another one later on to get that same high feeling. After a day, you may have gone through a pack without knowing it. But if you decide not to smoke that first cigarette and make a decision every five minutes to focus your attention somewhere else when you get that craving, after doing this for a week, your cravings will eventually subside and you will become smoke-free. But it comes down to making that very first decision of deciding whether or not to pick up that cigarette.
2. Go with your gut.
Often times, we take too much time to make a decision because we’re afraid of what’s going to happen. As a result of this, we go through things like careful planning, deep analysis, and pros and cons before deciding. This is a very time consuming process. Instead, learn to trust your gut instinct. For the most part, your first instinct is usually the one that is correct or the one that you truly wanted to go with. Even if you end up making a mistake, going with your gut still makes you a more confident decision maker compared to someone who takes all day to decide.
3. Carry your decision out.
When you make a decision, act on it. Commit to making a real decision. What’s a real decision? It’s when you decide on something, and that decision is carried out through action. It’s pointless to make a decision and have it played out in your head, but not doing anything about it. That’s the same as not making a decision at all. If you want to make real changes in life, you have to make it a habit to apply action with your decision until it’s completed. By going through this so many times, you will feel more confident with accomplishing the next decision that you have in mind.
4. Tell others about your decisions.
There’s something about telling other people what we’re going to do that makes us follow through. For example, for the longest time I’ve been trying to become an early riser and whenever I tried to use my own will power, waking up early without falling back asleep felt impossible. So what I did was I went to a forum and made the decision to tell people that I would wake up at 6 AM and stay up. Within two days, I was able to accomplish doing this because I felt a moral obligation to follow through with my words even though I failed the first time. Did people care? Probably not, but just the fact that there might be someone else out there seeing if you’re telling the truth will give you enough motivation to following through with your decision.
5. Learn from your past decisions.
Even after I failed to follow through my decision the first time when I told people I was going to wake up early and stay up, I didn’t give up. I basically asked myself, “What can I do this time to make it work tomorrow? The truth is you are going to mess up at times when it comes to making decisions and instead of beating yourself up over it, learn something from it. Ask yourself, what was good about the decision I made? What was bad about it? What can I learn from it so I can make a better decision next time? Remember, don’t put so much emphasis focusing on short term effects; instead focus on the long term effects.
6. Maintain a flexible approach.
I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but making a decision doesn’t mean that you can’t be open to other options. For example, let’s say you made the decision to lose ten pounds by next month through cardio. If something comes up, you don’t have to just do cardio. You can be open to losing weight through different methods of dieting as long as it helps you reach your goal in the end. Don’t be stubborn to seek out only one way of making a decision. Embrace any new knowledge that brings you closer to accomplishing your initial decision.
7. Have fun making decisions.
Finally, enjoy the process. I know decision-making might not be the most fun thing world to do, but when you do it often, it becomes a game of opportunity. You’ll learn a lot about yourself on the way, you’ll feel and become a lot more confident when you’re with yourself and around others, and making decisions will just become a lot easier after you do it so often that you won’t even think about it.
Anything you decide to do from this point on can have a profound effect later on. Opportunities are always waiting for you. Examine the decisions that you currently have in the day. Are there any that can be changed to improve your life in some way? Are there any decisions that you can make today that can create a better tomorrow?
Slow down and read this: 6 ideas for making better decisions Poynter.org But this is, in a way, the speed-versus-accuracy debate applied to the decision-making process. In the end, which is more important: a quick decision or a good one?
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