How to Make Better (and more inspired) Decisions in 2022
You make a lot of decisions on a day-to-day basis. You even made a decision when you clicked the link to read this blog. You chose to devote five minutes of your time with the hope that the information will transform your life in some way.
I promise to try not to let you down.
The thing about decisions is that they are, and/or can feel life-altering. How you feel about a decision is not always aligned with how impactful it really is, and how you feel about a decision is not always reality. Often just remembering this fact alone, can help us come into the decision making process with more ease and less stress.
For example, consider the (seemingly simple) decision to speak your mind to your partner, or not. You might think it’s a rather quick and nonconsequential decision on its surface. You either say it, or you don’t.
You could spend the time preparing - thinking and worrying about how to say it, when to say it, how it will be perceived, and how your partner will react. Or you could just brush the issue under the rug, as you’ve been continuing to do for years and carry on with your business. You may make assumptions either way about what the outcome will be, and make your decision based on what you think will happen, or based on what has happened in the past with similar situations.
Here’s the thing, though, when it comes to decisions. You rarely know exactly what is on the other side of the coin. You rarely have the advantage of seeing the outcome of a the choice you make prior to taking a step in the direction of actually making it.
What if you don’t say what you want to say and your partners continues to irritate you with their actions or words? What if it ends up building resentment, and feelings of frustration that bring you to your boiling point? What if choosing not to say something is choosing to carry on in your belief that your feelings or thoughts don’t matter?
And what if you do. What if when you speak up, you discover they listen openly and intently, and with a willingness to change? What if this one conversation shifted your entire relationship and set a new precedent for your communication as a couple? What if the thing you’re about to say was on their minds too?
Even when we think we have a pretty good idea of how something will turn out, we really don’t (as evidenced by 2020-2021).
This is where some of our natural knee-jerk stress reaction comes when faced with decisions. We’re constantly worried about making the “wrong” decision or which one will move us either closer to our desired outcome, or away from things we wish to avoid. We often make decisions from a place of attempting to SURVIVE rather than a place of considering what will make us THRIVE.
So, how can you make decisions better? More easily? With less angst and stress and tearing your hair out over what the “right” one is!?
When you’re in the driver’s seat, how do you look at the big picture and decide where you’re going next?
Begin with Your Values, Purpose, and Intention
When faced with a decision, especially a major one, it’s important to have an idea of where you want to go, prior to taking the step. Otherwise, you may dread taking any sort of step in any direction because you’re afraid of ending up somewhere you didn’t intend to.
I often hear clients say they don’t know where they want to go. Make it even easier on yourself than that. When you close your eyes and envision one year, three years, four years down the road, how will this decision have affected you then? Some of our decisions have long-term impacts, and others are simply short term in nature.
The next thing to ask yourself is what you value as an outcome. For example, if you value connection, security, and safety, as well as having open and honest communication, you will likely be more inclined to have the conversation, no matter how difficult the topic or feelings. But if you place a higher value on independence, being right, appearing “strong”, or perhaps even your perceived image, you may be more wary that your decision will rock that boat.
What do you value? How is this decision moving you closer to what you value or further away from what you intend and see for your life?
Make Sure You’re Head is Screwed on Straight
By this, I mean, you want to be IN your body, aware, present, and thinking clearly. You don’t want to be making decisions when you’re feeling exhausted, physically or mentally depleted, overly stimulated, hungry, stuffed full, angry, or disconnected from self. Don’t make a decision after three glasses of wine and a sleeve of chocolate cookies. Don’t make a decision after a long, hard mentally exhausting day with clients. Decision-making requires the entire body, heart, mind, and soul and it’s important that your cup is full and you’re making the decision from a place of feeling your best. The expression, “Sleep on it” might seem cliche, but it’s actually great advice as trying to make a decision as our cognitive and physical function is restored and optimal.
Approach your decision-making from a place of confidence, security, inspiration, and abundance rather than looking at the options through a lens of fear, insecurity, lack, and survival.
Lean Into Your Intuition
One thing I see often is people trying to make decisions entirely from their head, from facts, weights, measures, numbers, data, and past experiences. They treat it like a math equation. If I put X in, what will the value of Y be? What if you put all that aside and checked in with how you FEEL? Which direction makes you feel most excited? Inspired? If you’re feeling scared or nervous, what’s at the root of these emotions? Is it a fear of failure? Or perhaps a fear of success? What would it feel like if you weren’t operating from a place of fear? If fear was not a factor, what would your decision be?
When you get very quiet, what does your heart tell you? What do you want at the core of your being?
Let go of the ego and trust your inner sense of knowing.
Trust the Journey and Bigger Picture
What if you sat down and made a list of everything you were worrying about and struggling with in making the decision? And then, what if I asked you to release all of this and let it go.
The truth is, even with the most planning, mapping, and choosing the outcome… we still have no idea exactly the path this journey of life will take us on. Let go of the who, what, when how, and trust the bigger picture that you will get to where you need to be.
I believe we are always exactly where we need to be. When you accept this deep down inside, it takes the fear and anxiety out of so many of our decisions - great and small.
Making Decisions is Inevitable - but Suffering Through The Process is Not.
Making decisions is a necessary part of life. They steer us into the next direction, even when we choose NOT to make a decision, we’re STILL making one.
While the pain of making a decision might feel inevitable, suffering through it does not need to be. It can be easier. It can be without struggle.
The process is unique to each and every one of us and it’s important to remember that there is no right nor wrong way to make a decision, and often there is not right or wrong when it comes to the actual decision itself, so take time before you start to really ask yourself:
What do YOU want?
What are you looking to achieve?
Where do YOU want to go?
What can you do?
What are you willing to do?
What shifts will you need to make?
Where do you need to ask for support, get help, ask for an outside perspective?
And lastly, what advice would you give to someone else in your shoes?
My hope is that these questions and following the tips above will help you to make better, more inspired decisions that feel freeing, right, and true for YOU and your unique path in the future.