Decision Making Strategies

Lately, a number of people have been coming to me with big issues that require making a crucial life decision. Making decisions is what we do all day long beginning from the moment we awake – like, when to get up, what to wear, what to eat, when to leave for work, etc. We all make hundreds of decisions everyday and most of the time we don’t even think about these. But what happens when we have a big decision to make? Among many things, we can fret, worry, waste time, feel awful and procrastinate. We feel anxious and concerned that we make the right decision. Worrying is an emotion that is an indicator to tell us that we need to do some problem solving to resolve the issue of concern. However, chronic worrying without problem resolution is destructive to us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Have you ever thought about how you make important decisions? Having a systematic problem solving strategy can make the difference between moving on and staying stuck or stressing with worry. Anything you can do to avoid stress is worth doing so that you can be free to enjoy life and have good mental health.

Probably the most common way of making a decision is to think about the pros and cons of doing one thing or the other. Analyzing the advantages and disadvantages gives the perspective of evaluating one thing over another to determine the better choice. This is useful, but lacks the impact of how important an advantage is over a disadvantage. What makes this process work more effectively is giving a weight to each. For each advantage and disadvantage consider the value to you and your current situation.

The weighting system I use is from low to high priority or importance: +, ++, +++, ++++ or 1, 2, 3, 4. Giving weight in this way will allow you to determine to importance of each. If the numbers are fairly even, the next step is to determine which three concerns are most important to you. Then add and compare those numbers. This should point out what decision you need to make. If you are comparing and contrasting more than one set of advantages and disadvantages, you will need to do further calculations to determine your decision.

You can use this strategy for very basic simple needs to highly complex emotionally laden issues. Having a tool to help you make decisions can make your life much less stressful. If you have further questions you would like answered about making decisions or other problem solving strategies feel free to contact me.

Eilise Ward