One of the hardest thing in life is making decisions. Whether you’re deciding where to have dinner, to take that new job, or to propose to your significant other, decision making can be scary and difficult. There are a few key things that you can do to make making decisions a whole lot easier.

Understand the Why

The first thing you need to do is understand the why behind your decision. The bigger the decision the more important the why.

Consider the constant struggle of making decisions regarding where you are going to eat. Is it for a special occasion? Perhaps you should think about what you are celebrating or what kind of environment you would like. Or maybe you are too tired to cook. If that is the case maybe you should consider the speed of service or the cost of the dinner to help make your decision.

Maybe your decision making is revolving around a more significant question, like taking a new job. Then you want to consider why you applied in the first place. Are you looking for more money, or perhaps you are looking for a better work life balance? Only you know why you applied for a new job in the first place, and it is important to remember this initial reasoning.

Using Your Why To Help Making Decisions

Once you understand your why, it is important to use that why for making your decisions. I am partial to making lists at this stage of the game. When you make a pros and cons list, you can write down things that support your why and things that take away from it.

I use this to my advantage when making decisions. Often times it can be difficult to properly identify all the nuances of a reason for a decision. When you use the why, you can very quickly say whether it supports or takes away from your why. This allows you to really build a strong rational for your ultimate decision.

Defining Success

The next step after understanding the why, is defining success of your decision. What is the desired outcome? Are you looking to have a nice night out for dinner? Are you looking to build a long and prosperous career? If you don’t define success than you won’t be able to understand what is working and what isn’t.

It is also important to have multiple measurements of success. For example, if you are trying to learn a new language I am sure your success is not knowing every single word in the language. Perhaps success for you is defined as being able to have a 5 minute conversation with a native speaker.

I also like to set multiple measurements of success for my decisions. Perhaps when deciding to take a new job I also want to learn a new software program. I may not like the job, but if I learn the new software than I still succeed in something. This brings us to our next point about evaluation.

Evaluating Your Decisions

With every decision you make, it is important to take time to evaluate and if time allows it, to pivot. Even the best laid plans sometimes fall short. When this happens it is important to take a step back and reevaluate the decision that you made. Look back at your why and see if it still aligns.

You can also use your definition of success to evaluate your decision as well. If you met some of your goals then it may be time to pivot and make a new decision. If your situation has changed, you may want to see if your success still looks the same. Often times with changes in our lives we have different goals and aspirations so these are important to consider as well.

Learning from Failure

Once we decide to either pivot or change direction it is important that we learn from our perceived failures. What did not live up to our expectations? Did we miss a variable that we need to evaluate later? Either way it is important to learn from our set backs.

During this time we should also check and see if we hit any of our goals. We may have not had our desired outcome but we could of still had some degree of success. It is important to celebrate these victories and build upon that forward momentum.

Failure can also be scary, but you shouldn’t let the fear of failure stop you from making decisions. If you are looking for tactics to overcome your fear check out this post on some tactics that have helped me.

The 4 Steps for Making Decisions

  • Understand the Why
  • Define Success
  • Evaluate Your Decisions
  • Learn From Failure

Hopefully this helped you make decisions more effectively. Do you use these steps to make decisions? Let me know in the comments below!

If you are interested in following along with all our conversations don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.