If you’re anything like me, you can drive yourself crazy with knowing what to do when presented with a tough decision to make. It’s the kind of thing that has kept me up at night, my indecisiveness and ability to second guess myself is one of my most frustrating traits. Over the years I’ve realised there are some things I can do to make this process slightly easier. If you are a fellow over thinker – grab a cuppa, lets dive in…
Keep it simple – Start with a pros/cons list
There’s something therapeutic about getting your thoughts down on paper (says the blogger with a journal…) and what greater need is there than when you’re facing a difficult decision. As someone who works in projects we call this a Risk/Benefit analysis, simply put: do the benefits of moving forward outweigh the impact of potential risks. In life: Are the positives worth the hit of the consequences?
Accept that fear is not a reason to say no
If you’re making a decision that doesn’t come without fear then you don’t need to waste time thinking about it. All difficult choices will come with an element of fear but you can’t let it hold you back. 9 times out of 10 the fear is because of change, but change isn’t something that should be feared. Change is new and fresh and exciting, you just need to look at it from a different perspective:
- New relationship =
potential heartbreakThe love of your life.
- New Job =
starting from the beginningFresh start.
- Back to Education =
going backwardsEndless Opportunities.
- Travel the world =
Pausing adulthoodPAUSING ADULTHOOD.
- Having a child =
Hardest thing you’ll ever doBest thing you’ll ever do.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Taking the jump is hard, staying the same – if the same makes you unhappy – is harder.
Be a realist and a dreamer in equal measure
I wish we could make decisions based on making all our dreams come true but sometimes life makes it just that bit harder. If a career change means leaving a £40k job for an internship but you have responsibilities and bills to pay, you need to come up with a realistic plan. It doesn’t mean a no, it just means you may need to spend 12 months saving hard to tide you over.
Take peoples advice with a pinch of salt
If you surround yourself with good people then they should have your best interests at heart. That doesn’t mean that they will try and force their own opinions on you. It’s good to get different perspectives from loved ones, just don’t forget that the only permission you need is your own. Just because it looks good on paper or other people think it’s a no-brainer, it doesn’t mean its right for you. What looks ideal to one person is completely wrong for another and vice versa. Side note – check out my blog on identifying Toxic Friendships – just in case those opinions aren’t coming from the best place.
If it feels wrong, it probably is
All the tests, conversations and lists will never be a substitute for your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, there is a reason why. Somebody could talk all day about the long list of amazing reasons you should take a new job/trip/car/date…you should never feel obligated to feign the same level of excitement or feel like you’re wrong for not feeling the same way.
The coin test
I like this one. Get a friend to assign heads or tales to a potential decision and then toss the coin for you. They say that psychologically you already know what you want it to land on when the coin is in the air. Your disappointment/joy at the result is an instinct you can’t control. Pay attention and listen to your feelings.
From childhood through to old age, we will be presented with decisions all the time, some easy, some incredibly difficult. All we can do is our best, take a shot and follow it through. The worst thing we can do is be stuck looking backwards because sometimes things don’t work out and sometimes all we’re stuck with are “what ifs”. I would be lying if I said I have no regrets in my life so far but all I can do, and all I would advise others to do, is trust the process. Perhaps what’s meant to be will always be or perhaps it’s all on us. Either way, and in the absence of any reassurance, trust that everything will work out okay. If life was easy we’d all be bored right?
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