Learning how to make better decisions is crucial for reaching success. All your past choices have brought you where you are right now.
If you choose the best options in life, you’ll steadily increase your chances of achieving the life you desire.
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”
— Jim Collins
The ability to make better decisions is valuable beyond measure, as you can see.
Why is it so difficult to make better decisions?
“We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.”
— Thomas Merton
Your decisions can have a massive impact on the direction of your life. Furthermore, they can make things better or much worse.
Also, it can be intimidating or scary to realize that you might make the “wrong” choice. But, if you don’t decide fast enough, life might make it for you.
For instance, do you want to have kids? Does parenting work with your life goals? Should you marry your partner or leave them? Where do you want to live? What is your dream job?
How can you benefit from making better decisions?
There are many advantages to making better decisions. The following examples are just a few.
- You’ll be more productive because you’ll know the steps to reach the best conclusion.
- Your confidence soars when you rely on yourself instead of other people’s opinions.
- Becoming successful in anything relies on making good choices.
- You’ll gain motivation to move forward with your goals and create a life you’ve dreamed of.
As you can see, it’s valuable beyond measure to learn how to make better choices. Each time you do you’ll improve your chances of success with any venture.
So, let’s get to it!
Here are the steps to make better decisions:
1. What do you need to make better decisions about?
“A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved.”
— Dorothea Brande
First, you’ll need to know what you need to decide on and write them on paper. Then prioritize your list from most to least important.
2. Imagine the best and worst outcomes
“In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction. Your life is a product of choices.”
— Dr. Kathleen Hall
Now, look over your list and think of what you have to gain or risk by choosing each decision. Imagine your future self living with this outcome.
Would you regret not making this choice?
3. Weigh the possible risks and benefits
“When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons.”
— Sigmund Freud
When you almost have your choice made, ask yourself if the risks or benefits would be worth it. Would you regret not doing this?
Each decision has a positive or negative result.
You could create a scorecard and add up the best and worst aspects of each choice.
What would the worst outcome look like? How can you avoid this? Then imagine what your ideal result would look like. What factors were needed to create this?
4. Make better decisions by brainstorming
Create different options to solve the issue most effectively.
6. Analyze your choice
Spend time considering all the available information before making a decision. Before you take action on your decision, ask yourself some questions.
- Are you choosing this option because it’s the easiest?
- Did you choose this so you could stay in your comfort zone and avoid taking risks?
- Are you ignoring any red flags?
- Did you handpick information to align with what you want to believe?
5. Choose the best option
Now, decide on which solution will work the best. Also, you can create a “Plan B” in case this choice doesn’t work as planned.
7. Make better decisions by taking action!
The last step is to take action on your decision. Don’t waste time mulling over research, it’s time to put things in motion!
Don’t forget these valuable bonus tips to make better decisions:
Make better decisions with critical thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to examine the information and accept the facts, despite what you wish was true. Then you look at the problem from all sides till you reach a verifiable conclusion.
So, when you’re gathering data ask yourself these questions:
- Can you prove this?
- Are you assuming it’s true because that’s what you already believe?
- Have you jumped to any conclusions?
Cognitive distortions are lies that your brain tells you. They are very common so make sure you know about them beforehand.
You can’t make better decisions in a hurry
Don’t try to rush to the solution, take your time. Relax your mind during these crucial steps, so you can make better decisions.
Also, be aware of people who want you to make a choice immediately. They don’t want you to take the time to think about it
Take your time, but not too much
“Where there is no decision there is no life.”
— JJ Dewey
Take your time on making your decision. Clear out any distractions and focus on one thing at a time. However, don’t get lost in minute details for hours. You might tell yourself you’re being productive but in reality, you’re procrastinating.
Journaling can help you make better decisions
Writing can help you to get an in-debt view of your past decisions. Furthermore, you can learn from your mistakes and avoid them in the future.
Listen to your intuition
What’s your gut feeling about your options? Are you denying your intuition because it’s not the easy route? Sometimes the more challenging choice is the right one. But, you’ll be so grateful after you get through it.
Beware of love-blindness
Watch out for love-blindness because it can disguise itself as intuition. As a result, you believe this person is “the one” so you disregard all the red flags. As you can see, this can lead you to make horrible choices.
Trust yourself to make better decisions, not everyone else
“The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”
Do you always ask other people what you should do when you’re at a crossroads? Is this because you don’t trust yourself to make the right choice?
There comes a time when you need to decide for yourself. Also, realize that you might still make a bad choice. But fixing them will give you a priceless experience. You then can use this wisdom for the future.
Check your emotions
If you’re emotional or stressed when you’re trying to make better decisions, it won’t turn out well. Emotions shove logic out of the way and they take over your ability to think. This isn’t ideal when you’re trying to decide what to do.
Let your subconscious help decide
If you feel like you’re running around in circles, take a break and do something else. Engage in a hobby or go for a walk. As your conscious mind is relaxing, your subconscious can take a shot at the issue. This is how “Eureka” moments occur. You might solve this while taking a shower or even a nap.
Imagine you’re giving advice to a friend
It can help to remove yourself from the process. Pretend your best friend asked you about this decision. What would you tell them? This removes all of your assumptions, biases, and emotions from the scenario. As a result, you’ll think much more rationally.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
— Jim Rohn
In short, one of the most impactful skills you can gain is to learn how to make better decisions. Without this ability, you might repeatedly find yourself in negative situations.
So, remind yourself to use critical thinking with facts when you decide on even small choices.
It’s crucial to learn how to make beneficial choices for yourself. Otherwise, someone else will choose for you, and they might not have your interests in mind.
Keep learning more useful things by subscribing to Motivated Progress. Now you can make better decisions for any aspect of life.
2 Replies to “How to Make Better Decisions That Lead to Success”
Sheryl, Thanks for another great post! I especially like the part about intuition and self-reliance when making decisions. In the past, I would typically ask others for advice or “what should I do”, then I realized all of the answers are within myself. Thanks for reminding me of this, as I’m currently facing some decisions with my career in Project Management.
All the Best,
Awesome, thank you!