How to Make a Difficult Decision

April 1, 2021

The decision-making process is not always easy. This is especially true if we have difficult choices to make that could have a large impact on our lives, whether that involves a job, relationship, family matters, or other major factors. With a lot on the line, we don’t always know how to make a difficult decision.

Some of us may experience what is known as “analysis paralysis,” where we are caught in a cycle of overthinking and anxiety that makes it tough for us to make decisions and commit to them. Much of this stems from a fear of failure or regretting not making the right choice.

But the truth is that there is never any real “perfect” decision. All we can do is try our best to make informed choices that feel right for us. If you’re feeling stuck, these five tips should help you ease your anxiety and make the decision-making process more manageable.

1- Do Your Research

We will feel better about having to make a decision if we have considered all of the possibilities and outcomes based on the facts. Do as much research as you need to understand the situation and your options. When we are more informed about what different decisions would look like, it can be easier for us to make a final choice.

2- Write it Out

Consider writing out both of your options and the points for each of them. This is where pros and cons lists can be useful. You can also take the information you’ve gathered and brainstorm what each decision would mean with a mind map. Writing the details down can help us to better visualize the factors that go into each possible decision.

3- Talk it Over

Another tip is to discuss your options with someone who you trust to give you good advice. In some cases it helps to get a second or third opinion before making a final decision. Talking it out may also help us to realize points we hadn’t previously considered.

4- Try the Toggle Technique

If you’ve already extensively considered the possibilities of your decision and are still struggling, you might try this toggle technique that Psychology Today recommends:

  • First, get centered in a quiet place, close your eyes and take some deep breaths.
  • For about 30 seconds, consider your Option A in your head. Observe how this decision makes you feel in your body. Do you have a sinking feeling in your stomach or do you feel energized by this option?
  • Then, mentally toggle over to Option B for 30 seconds. Notice how this decision feels emotionally and take note of how your body reacts.
  • Lastly, compare how each option felt. Give yourself permission to choose the option that felt the best to you emotionally.

This technique is a great way to know how we want to make a decision based on our gut feelings.

5- Make Peace With Your Decision

Finally, once you’ve made your decision, choose to make peace with it. We must acknowledge that sometimes our choices won’t be perfect and that there will likely be trade-offs with every decision. Still, remember to be kind to yourself in knowing that you’ve made the most informed decision that you could. This type of acceptance will help ease our anxieties.

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