A common issue in reaching goals, whether attaining financial, physical, spiritual, or mental well-being, is taking that all-important first step: making a decision. For some, decision making comes easy and with seemingly little effort; for others, decision making can present a huge burden, crippling one in a mire of complacency and robbing them of positive life changes.
Being successful in attaining your goals means knowing how to decide and commit, which means being comfortable with change. Most people dislike change and would rather avoid it and stay where they are instead of moving out of their current situation.
First, let’s take a look at some roadblocks to make that all-important decision. Then we will explore some tactics you can use to take that first step towards achieving your goals.
Two Roadblocks to Decision Making
Making a decision requires an investment from us in terms of emotional currency and focus. There are two roadblocks to decision making which, if you fall into their traps, will keep you from moving forward in your life:
- Decision Avoidance – avoid making a decision due to fear of change. Change can be difficult. We, as humans, are hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. We want to feel good and comfortable. Change is rarely comfortable and usually requires a great deal of work.
- Focusing on Outcomes – it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine all of the outcomes of a decision made. Outcomes are driven by many factors that a decision maker simply cannot control. Rather than focusing on outcomes, it is better to focus on the decision-making process by making an informed decision.
Tactics for Making a Decision
Uptal M. Dholakia, Ph.D., a professor at Rice University, offers the following definition of a good decision:
A good decision is one that is made deliberately and thoughtfully, considers and includes all relevant factors, is consistent with the individual’s philosophy and values, and can be explained clearly to significant others.Uptal M. Dholakia, Ph.D.
Making a decision after gathering information, examining options, and thoughtfully considering desired outcomes is ideal. Often, though, life throws us a curve ball and we have to make a decision immediately, not always having the luxury to deliberate over options. At those times, we have to move forward with the information we have at hand and figuratively choose water over fire.
Here are some tactics offered by Chris DeBlasio, successful actor, producer, and entrepreneur, which you can use to make that life-changing decision:
- Recognize that it is time to decide – if you go a few days feeling dissatisfied with a certain situation, it is time to change something. It may not be a big change, but something must change. Don’t be the person who remains unhappy in a situation but does nothing about it. Commit to making a change and embrace the uncomfortable feelings.
- Pay attention to your gut – you will know instinctively that something is wrong and needs to change. Being nervous, tense, irritated, tired, or stressed out are usually good indicators that the time for change is nigh.
- Seek wise counsel – go to a trusted mentor, friend or family member and ask what they think. Generally, the people who love you the most are going to want you to be happy.
And remember, do not get hung up on the many possible outcomes of a decision, which are beyond your control. Rather, concentrate on the decision-making process and take steps to gather all the information you can to make the best decision.
Choose to Take That First Step
Making a decision narrows down what you want. This allows you to focus more intently on your goal. And resolute focus increases your chances of reaching your goals exponentially. When you decide, you focus. When you focus, you achieve.