Have you ever struggled with making a choice that you weren’t sure if you should do or not? Whether it was the right decision or not? Sometimes people get stuck wondering if they are making the right decision or the correct next step, and never actually move closer toward making a decision and moving forward. Others find themselves making rash decisions, often times leading to regret. What if there was a way to know that you have thought things through and, although you may be nervous proceeding, you are ready to move forward confidently knowing that you have done your due diligence and are making the best choice based on the information you have at this moment in time. Below are 5 steps to follow to help walk you through the process.
#1 Defining what is the problem
This seems pretty simple but is the most overlooked step! We tend to think about outcomes, pros and cons, etc but in cases where people get stuck it's usually because they skipped this step. They did not take the time to identify what is the actual decision that needs to be made. Here’s an example: “Should I hang out with Susie?” Seems like a yes or no question – pretty simple. However, if we don’t know what the problem is, we just answer the question. What if the problem is “I don’t to hang out with Susie, but don’t know how to tell her.” This problem is much more complex than yes or no. If this step is skipped it may look something like this “Should I hangout with Susie? Well No because I don’t want to, but I feel bad telling her no, so maybe I can be busy or just spend a little of time, etc. This makes the yes-no decision much more complicated. By identifying the problem, which in this example is telling Susie no, it makes the problem solving much easier.
#2 Gathering information
Anytime a decision or choice needs to be made, it is important to gather as much information as possible. We like making informed decisions and feel much more empowered when we have more information to work with. This also allows us to utilize our brains and logic, which is important to acknowledge.
#3 Identifying the pros and cons of each decision
You know the saying, “Look at both sides of the coin,” well it is also true for all logical information gathered. To expand and take this step a little further, it is recommended to work out the pros and cons for EACH choice or decision that can be made. So, from the example in #1, options could include saying, "No thanks", telling her you’re busy, or spending a few hours with her. Creating a list of pros and cons for each option will give you a clearer picture of how this decision impacts you at this current moment in your life. Continuing with the example, your pro and cons list can look very different when you are busy or stressed versus when you are bored or have spare time.
#4 Listening to your gut
Now that you have given you mind or logical side a chance to weigh in on the decision, allow your body or emotional side have a chance. Sometimes we have feelings about a situation that are not logical, but very valid. These should be allowed to be heard and validated with the same weight as the logical ones. Continuing with the example from #1, what if you have a feeling of being used or manipulated. This would heavily impact your decision on if you want to give in and give away your power, or if you want to stand strong and stay true to yourself. On the flip side, sometimes things just “feel right” without any logical reason to why. Spending time listening to your body and intuition can help provide insight into what is making the decision so difficult.
#5 The Feeling of Acceptance
Finally pay attention to the feeling of acceptance. This isn’t something that is usually pointed out or talked about. It is the feeling we get when we just know “yep that’s right.” Everyone has experienced it at some point in their life, but many are not aware of it. Trusting this feeling helps people know that, regardless of the outcome of their decision, they can confidently stand beside it. This feeling is described differently by people, but is usually along the lines of "a wave of calm that feels like clarity." From my experience people get to this point when they acknowledge both the logical and emotional side of the situation at hand. When they feel balanced and clear, they can see what is the best decision for them at that point in their life, and in my opinion that is always the right decision.
Following these 5 simple steps can lead to you feeling more confident about your decision. Many times people get stuck worrying about whether this is a good choice or a bad choice, but if you can remove these labels you start to see that choices are just choices. We learn from what happens after, regardless of whether you label the outcome as good or bad. There is always something to be gained. Allowing yourself to work through this process, leaves us open on the other end to be able to receive the lessons to learn. Which in fact shapes our future.
If you’re looking for more support with processing through decisions or with other areas you feel stuck on, feel free to check out my website at www.crystaldeichert.com. If you would like to schedule a session or a free 20 min consult click here.
Crystal Deichert LPC, of Positive Assist, offers a full suite of counseling and holistic services for those wishing to get unstuck and move forward in their lives. She is trained in several evidence-based modalities and holistic approaches to help her clients see their barriers through their soul’s perspective allowing them to break free and fly. If you’d like to discover your true self, you can schedule a free consultation at www.crystaldeichert.com, by calling 720.767.1994, or emailing [email protected]. Check me out on Facebook at Crystal Deichert LPC