Know When To Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em. (How To Make A Decision.)

Some people are just good at making decisions, are you one of them? Click through for 4 simple steps to walk you through how to make a decision so it's less overwhelming.

It seems like the older I get, the harder it can be to make a decision.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more conscientious, or that I’m noticing my perfectionist tendencies, but either way–I’ve recently noticed I don’t make decisions as quickly as I used to.

Understanding how to make a decision is the difference between being a child and an adult. I am lucky because I had a mostly easy childhood and didn’t have to make a lot of heavy decisions– there’s a tribe of people–parents, neighbors, classmates, friends + family that helped move me along to the next step.

But when do you figure it out how to make a decision on your own?

For example: I remember the moment I told my parents I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to college and that I thought I’d take a year off to explore.  Their response was, “that’s nice honey, now get in your room and finish your college applications.”  The decision was made for me; my parents didn’t let my fear of growing up get in the way of my progress.

Fast forward to post-college days; they were full of trial and error.  Left to my own devices, some of my decisions lingered longer for the mere fact that I didn’t know what I was doing.  My failed engagement sent me into a tailspin,  there were a few jobs that weren’t quite the right fit for me and my ever changing address kept me on the move; decisions during this time were made a lot by trial and error.

Now as a real adult, (what is that anyway? I recognize that each decision is a small piece of the puzzle of the life I am building.  No one is pushing me along anymore.  I am the creator of my own life.

And sometimes I’m afraid of making the wrong decision.  Aren’t we all?  But I’ve figured out a simple way to go through the decision process and not get overwhelmed.  You can easily walk your way through these steps, too:

1) Weigh the options.  Demistify the whole process.  Are there 4 different possibilities?  Write each one down and take into consideration the options they offer.  When you can see the different paths broken down step-by-step, it takes the mystery (and fear) out of each one.

2) Think about the what ifs.  What ifs can often bring you to a screeching halt, but to make a sound decision,  you have to consider each alternative.  There’s always this thought: what if I hate my decision?  What if it doesn’t work?  But there’s also this: What if I succeed beyond my wildest dreams?  The possibilities are endless.  If you hash out the most immediate ones, the options becomes more manageable.

3) Set a deadline to pull the trigger.  Give yourself some room to figure things out, but give yourself a deadline of when to decide.  Procrastination is the enemy of progress, especially with matters of the heart.  When you allow yourself some room but also set a goal of when to reign it in, you’ll feel better about exploring. 

4) Go for it.   You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t make a choice.  Check in with your gut and make a move.  Good or bad, actually taking some steps is a positive.  Things work out well?  Great, you now have more confidence.  Things falter a bit?  Find the learning point in there and keep moving forward.  And remember–it all works out in the end.