Decision making is a skill you develop; it’s not something that you are born with. Every day we make a thousand decisions and some are easier than others. Which task to do first when you wake up? What to eat for breakfast? Which outfit to wear? Where to invest your money?
Decision making is a mental process that involves intuition and rational thinking, but it also comes with biases, emotions and memories.
Sometimes -- and especially when we are in a new situation or transition -- we can get stuck because are captivated between the ideas of right and wrong. Fear of being ‘wrong’ can prevent us from taking action, but what we really fear is the unknown. That’s normal: everyone wants to make decisions that allow them to feel safe and secure physically, emotionally and financially. These are the essential factors of our wellbeing.
Fear of loss can also muddle decision making. For example fear of losing a job, money or love. It might be hard to change jobs because you fear not being happy in the new job.The mere thought of being deprived of a known habit or attachment, such as a place or a person, can trigger anxiety because it disrupts patterns that we have grown comfortable with even if they are not serving us..
Fear of being wrong, fear of the unknown, and fear of loss not only may prevent us from being confident in our decisions, they can lead us into a pattern of depending on the opinion of others before taking action. But the best decision is your own that feels authentic and true to yourself.
To become more confident with our decisions, we need to work on our attachments consciously and intentionally, with the goal of removing roadblocks that hinder our growth, freedom and happiness. The first step is acknowledging that the unknown is always present
whether we make decisions that we know are ‘right,’ or not. We cannot always control outcomes, but what we can manage is our emotions and understanding.
To help you feel more confident about your ability to make a decision, try these four tools.
1.Gain clarity about your priorities, which will provide you with a sense of direction of which decision you want to take. To do this, jot down your values and needs. Your values and needs will easily connect you with the choices you want to make. Then, make a list of limiting beliefs that may be preventing you from realizing these values. If you need to make a difficult decision, start by asking yourself the following questions:
a.What are my values and needs, and how do they relate to the choices that face?
b.What is hindering me from taking my decision?
c.What are the possible decisions that I could take, and what is the worst-case outcome of each choice?
2.Decision making is all about making choices. When you choose something, consciously let go of all other choices and any outcomes that you may associate with them. If you choose with this understanding, you are ready to accept what comes next. Relatedly, choose to believe that whatever decision you take is the right one, and do not be influenced by others’ opinions. If you believe in your decision and stick to it, you will make it work.
3.Have courage. Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary. For example, you may like painting but think that you are not good at it and therefore don’t practice. Most of the time you put limiting beliefs in front of you to prevent you from taking action. You can counter those beliefs by thinking progress, not perfection. In reality, we learn on the go and from our own experiences. If we do not take a step forward, we will never get anywhere. By patiently giving yourself permission to have fun or be messy, whether you reach mastery or not, you remove obstacles to something that you want to do. This increases confidence and creativity regardless of the outcome.
4.Finally, remember that it’s OK to be indecisive! Learning to be compassionate towards yourself is part of the process of making decisions. Give yourself time to consider your priorities, your values, and your fears, and you will feel confident that you can make whatever decision you take work.