WAY #1 — FIND SPACE
It’s difficult to make decisions when you’re stressed and overwhelmed. Or are prioritising everyone and everything else before yourself. If you’re struggling to find clarity, start with self-care and take a break.
Then, when you’re feeling less frazzled, give yourself some time and space to make a decision. Slow down and let go of the pressure to decide right now. Change up your environment, get outside in nature, move — whatever it takes to clear your mind.
Recently a client shared they’d been wrestling an important professional decision for many weeks. After carving out some time and space for themselves, the answer became clear. All within a matter of days!
WAY #2 — REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
Every day we’re inundated by offers, opportunities and requests for our time. Not only is this overwhelming, but often we’re spending valuable time and energy trying to make decisions based on other people’s agendas, opinions or ideas.
The problem with making decisions from this place is we often end up making choices on the basis of what we think we ‘should’ do. Or ‘have’ to do. Rather in line with what we want.
An important part of decision making is muting the ‘noise’ and removing these distractions. By setting boundaries and finding some space.
Then, you can figure out what you want and make the right decision in line with your values. Instead of automatically choosing what you think you should do.
WAY #3 — FACE THE FEAR — HEAD ON!
Self-doubt, fear of regret and making the wrong decision stop you making any decision. The only way to move through these feelings is to control the thoughts behind them. By managing your mind.
One way to do this is to tackle these fears — head on. Ask yourself: what’s the worst thing that could happen if you made this choice?
Would it be losing your job, your savings, business — or sense of pride? What would it cost you in terms of your time, money, health or the impact on those around you? Keep digging deeper to uncover the worst case scenario and write it down.
How likely is it this would happen? And if it did, what would you do about it? Identifying solutions upfront removes the fear and helps you figure out if taking the risk is worth it.
Finally, consider — what’s the best case scenario? What dreams will you accomplish? And what will you learn as a result?
Considering both the positive and negative outcomes allows you to weigh up the risks and benefits of a decision. By this stage, you’ll be clear if this isn’t something you’re willing to risk. Or if it’s an opportunity you can’t miss out on!
WAY #4 — GO WITH YOUR HEART
Trying to rationalise and ‘think’ your way through a decision may not be as effective as you believe. Research by neurologists reveals decision making is associated with the emotional part of the brain. Brain injury studies found patients with damage to the prefrontal cortex — responsible for processing emotions — experienced difficulties making decisions.
Tapping into your body’s natural wisdom allows you to bypass fear, ego and logic. Ask yourself: what feels right?
When you consider this decision, do you feel contracted or expansive? A sense of heaviness and dread — or lightness and excitement? Intuition can be subtle and tricky to identify but feelings of ease and expansion indicate you’re moving in the right direction.
Finally, what does your heart say? Will you regret NOT doing this in 5 years’ time? If your response is a clear YES! — you’re on the right path.
When it comes to big life-changing decisions, always go with your heart, not just your head.
WAY #5 — BITE THE BULLET
If you’ve worked through these other strategies and are still agonising over making the ‘right’ decision — just decide! Figure out what you want. Then commit to it, by following through and taking action.
Say you’re struggling over a big decision, like whether to start a business or change careers. Consider how you can test this idea out on a small scale. Treat it like an experiment and focus on taking one small step at a time.
If this decision is consuming your time and energy, remember there is never a ‘wrong’ choice. Reframe mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth knowing you can always reset and choose again later.
Finally, always review your decisions. How do you feel afterwards? What worked or didn’t — and why or why not?
Based on this experience, what will you do differently in future?
If you let it, decision-making can become a challenging, exhausting and all-consuming process — but it doesn’t have to be this way. These strategies have helped my clients and I get unstuck and make decisions with clarity and ease. I hope they support you too!