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The Four Rules for Decision-Making
Sometimes, the methods we use to make decisions create additional challenges for us. However, if we decide to follow a specific path to better our decision making, we can overcome obstacles more quickly and achieve our end goal faster. By following these four simple rules for making decisions, you’ll set yourself up to win by discovering the clarity, purpose and decisiveness you need to make your next important decision.
1. All important or difficult decisions must be made on paper. If you try to make toughs decisions in your head, you’re going to start doing what’s called “looping.” Here’s what that means. When you first arrive at a decision, you’ll think, “That’s a good idea, but what if this happens?”
You’ll come up with an alternative scenario, then you’ll think, “But what if this happens?” Soon, you’ll find yourself back at the first option without any kind of resolution. All this does is add stress and pressure to your current situation, without making any progress. Get rid of this pressure by making decisions on paper. By writing things down, you’ll have a physical list that tells you exactly what you need to do. This relieves pressure from the situation and allows your mind to focus on the task at hand, rather than spiraling into self-doubt.
2. When it comes to making tough decisions, be clear about what you really want—and why you want it. You’ve got to get absolutely crystal clear about your outcome and your purpose. If you forget the reasons behind your decision, you won’t follow through. Why are you pursuing this path? Will this decision benefit you mentally, physically or professionally? You also need a way to measure your success—sometimes you’re actually winning, but feel like you’re losing, because you don’t have an effective tracking your progress. Get as specific as possible about what you want, why you want it, and what you’ll use to track your success when you’ve completed your goal.
3. One of the key things to note when learning how to make difficult decisions, is that we’re often afraid to because we’re afraid things won’t work out as planned. You shouldn’t let fear motivate your process though; don’t wait for absolute certainty because you’ll almost never get it. You have to take a chance on yourself. One of the ways to do this is to have a consistent process for making decisions. Having a go-to process will give you some of the certainty you need to take action in the midst of the doubt that almost always accompanies large decisions.
4. Recognize that decision making is value clarification. Many times it’s hard to make a decision because you don’t just have one outcome; often times there are many. You’re going to have to ask yourself, “Of all these things I want, what’s really number one for me? What’s number two? What’s number three?” You may not get all of the things you’re working towards, but chances are, you’ll be better off than you are now. may get the top three. If you’re clear on your priorities, it will be that much easier for you to design the best outcome for your life.
The next time you’re confronted with a decision, big or small, apply these four rules to your decision-making process. The clarity that these rules provide will help you take decisive action in the direction that serves your ultimate outcome best.