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A Simple Strategy for Making Better Decisions

It's been well documented that highly successful people tend to make decisions quickly and they rarely change their minds.


Do you have these traits - or do you struggle to make decisions and then waffle back and forth afterward? Having a decision-making process to follow can be a faster and more effective alternative.


This proven process has worked well for others; it can work for you, too:


1. Consider your values. Project into the future and imagine how you'll feel about your choice. It can be easy to go down the wrong path during difficult times; stick to your core values and you'll feel much better in the end.


2. Avoid allowing fear to paralyze you. If you're in danger of falling off a cliff, fear serves a purpose. However, if you tend to fear any change, then it's wise to make a concerted effort to keep this fear out of your decision process. A fear of change can prevent you from seriously considering any of your options and keep you from making any decision at all.


3. Make a list of pros and cons. What will you potentially gain and lose from each of the options available to you? Make a list of your options and look at things from that perspective. Draw a line down the middle of your page and put the pros on one side and the cons on the other for each option. This exercise clarifies your choices.



4. What are your long-term goals? What is your vision of your ideal life? Which option is most supportive of that vision?



5. Set a deadline. Decide how long it should take you to make up your mind and stick to it. Consider how much reflection and information gathering time you should need. When that time has come and gone, promise yourself that you'll make a decision and stick with it. Is spending another week in turmoil really going to help you make up your mind?


6. Realize that it doesn't matter (much). When you're faced with a couple of good choices, either choice may work out fine. For example, if you're stuck between two different chicken salad options on the menu, is it really going to matter in the long run? Regardless of which one you select; you'll likely enjoy it either way!


* Simply making the choice and following through consistently will yield great results. Not making up your mind gets you nowhere fast. If you really can't choose, flip a coin and get busy. You'll be much further ahead than if you never choose anything at all.


Making decisions quickly takes practice. It's counter-productive to become so worried about making a wrong decision that you never choose anything at all. Follow the process above and make a decision.


In most cases, the act of making the decision is the powerful aspect, not which option is ultimately selected. If you didn't reject an option immediately, it's probably not too bad. So, make up your mind and get busy living your life!

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mvanpelt@ascentleadershipresources.com

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