Dear Dr. Christi,
I struggle so much with making decisions. Then, after I make one, I constantly go back and forth about whether it was the right one. Do you have any tips or even book recommendations that might help?
You’ve posed an excellent, and very common, challenge. Many of us struggle with decision-making in general; others may face the challenge in specific life areas. Decision fatigue, regret, or a recent hit to our confidence can also exacerbate the issue.
I, too, have struggled with strong decision-making, particularly early in my career. One solution I have found helpful involved creating a set of Guiding Principles for myself – a list of 5-7 ‘rules to live by,’ so to speak.
My #1 Guiding Principle all those years ago that remains #1 to this day?
Decide And Take Action.
Essentially, this reminds me to conduct my due diligence, make my best decision, then immediately take an action in favor of that decision. This turns my energy into creating momentum on my decision rather than worrying about the paths not taken.
You might also reflect on strong decisions you’ve made in the past and tease them apart for clues: What did you do in advance of the decision? What helped you ultimately decide? What contributed to that decision standing out in your mind as a strong one? Often our best clues can be found within our own history.
Finally, one of my all-time favorite resources on the topic of decision-making is Suzy Welch’s excellent book, 10 10 10. Basically, her process encourages you to make a hypothetical decision, then imagine the consequences – both positive and negative – 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years from now. You can then repeat the exercise choosing other hypothetical decisions.
You may find your ‘best’ answer naturally becoming clear through this process. As an added benefit, I often find simply walking through the exercise calms me down enough to make a stronger, more confident decision.
And to be honest, many times I realize that 10 months from now (let alone 10 years from now) I probably won’t even remember stressing over this particular decision!
I recommend reading Welch’s book, as she offers numerous examples of the 10 10 10 process in action. You can also find a good overview in this article.
I hope this helps! Here’s to strong, confident, uncluttered decisions for all!
Feel free to share your decision-making tips in the comments below! And if you have a question you’d like Dr. Christi to address in a future installment, leave it below or email our office.