20 + Ways to Make Difficult Decisions

  1. Consider whether or not you will be able to look proudly into the mirror the next day.
  2. Reflect on past difficult decisions and how you made them. The problems don’t have to be similar for the method to work the same.
  3. Be silent, go inside your mind, your heart, and your gut, and listen to your instincts.
  4. Consider Time Frame: If there is little or not urgency, set aside time to give careful thought to the decision.  The worst thing you can do is act in haste.
  5. Ask yourself, “Who will it affect and what does my heart tell me?”
  6. Imagine having made the decision. If you get a feeling of relief, that’s the way to go, even if it’s coupled with sadness.
  7. Ask yourself, “What is the most pleasurable choice, and where is the most fun?”
  8. Check with your internal compass. How will you feel if you make the decision in one way?  How will you feel if you make the other?
  9. Make mistakes and learn from them. Many people lose valuable opportunities because of indecision, vacillation, and analysis paralysis!   Most decisions can be “unmade” after the fact.   Yes, you may have to label it a mistake – so what?  Everyone makes mistakes.   Yes, sometimes it can be a costly exercise if you make the wrong decision ~ most of these won’t sink the ship.    Just make the decision – then ACT ON IT.
  10. Talk it through with friends. Then after you have gathered as much info as possible, decide and act!
  11. Make a patient effort and have confidence in yourself as decision maker. Whatever choice you make is valid, as you can gain experience and wisdom through any experience, preferred or not.
  12. Let go of fear. Know there is no “right” or “wrong” decision.   Any decision is better than indecision.
  13. Ask yourself three questions before diving into something new or daunting: What’s the worst that can happen? How likely is that to happen? Can you deal with it if it does happen?
  14. Go with your first instinct. In most cases, our first instincts are our best ones.  When we begin to second guess and dwell on decisions that are against our first instinct, it’s usually the wrong way.  That said – most decisions can be reworked if you get feedback that shows you a different direction.  Actions will cause outcomes!
  15. Take a moment to think about the consequences of every course of action, and decide which course will be best for everyone.
  16. Try to see the situation from all angles. Also ask your elders for advice. They are always great sources! Sometimes you need to walk away from the issue for a bit, and then come back for a fresh look.
  17. Remember this quote: “Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.”
  18. If you find that you have to talk yourself into something, it is usually a bad decision. Good decisions usually feel right without much second-guessing.
  19. “Stay in the tension” as long as possible. If none of the choices feel right, consider delaying the decision until you have clarity (be careful not to wait for “certainly” – this is different from clarity and may never show up). Sometimes another option you hadn’t thought of before becomes apparent.
  20. Listen to your emotional instinct. If it feels good, authentically good, then go for it. If it does not use caution and back away.
  21. Take two pieces of paper and write down your options on each. Put them in a hat, close your eyes, and pick one. If you feel disappointed with the outcome, then you know that is the wrong decision to make!
  22. Reflect on past decisions. Good or bad, each teaches a lesson. To learn from your mistakes is key, but don’t forget your triumphs. They are just as important.
  23. Consider Vision, Mission, Purpose, Values and Goals: Whether these are personal or business decisions, your actions should be aligned with all of these things.   Otherwise, you must ask yourself why you are in a decision making moment.  The prerequisite to this is actually knowing and defining your organisation and/or yourself.  Gain awareness.
  24. Consider using decision making strategies or models to help.
    1. SWOT ( Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats)
    2. D’Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats
    3. Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving Matrix (for complex issues)
    4. OODA Loop Model (Observe / Orient / Decide / Act)
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