Making Decisions

Making decisions isn’t an easy thing to do at times.  These days, it seems that we are faced with so many decisions and it can often feel impossible to make a firm decision.  When working with patients in treatment, sometimes the work is around a decision that they are faced with.   This is the tactic that I use to help them try to find the best solution to the problem.

When making any big decision, you first have to define the problem.  Whether you are moving to a different house or state, changing jobs, or leaving a relationship, stop and write down the pros and cons of the problem, and I do mean write.  Putting things on paper helps to put things in better perspective.  Putting things on paper also helps to really see things, and go back to them to add or resolve issues that may be standing in the way.  It also helps to keep things focused.

Next, review all the things you wrote down, and put them in some kind of order or prioritize.  Live with them, if you can, for a day or two.  Re-organize and add to the list, and let them simmer.  Talk to the people around you, and get their feedback.  Let them ask questions.  It can make you think differently about things and adjust your goals.  Many times, people might ask a question about something you didn’t think about.

Next, start thinking about the set you need to make to make the best decision for you.  Do you need to get information?  Do you need to talk with other people to make things happen?  Do you need some time to get other things in order?  It you are thinking about buying a house, you may need to work on your credit.  If you are thinking about moving to a new state, you may need information about your destination to find out about housing and job opportunities.  If you are leaving a relationship, maybe you need to find a place to live to move out.  If you are working on changing jobs, or careers, knowing what kind of job and what kind of degree or experience you need then becomes key to making it happen.

Once you know more about what’s needed, picture yourself five years in the future with each option.  How do you feel?  What could go wrong?  What should you plan for?  Talk to the people around you again, to get updates.  Think out of the box!  If you have made a decision, move forward.  If you are still struggling, keep researching.  Trust your gut, along the way, and make sure that you keep your list up.  Things change, but if the primary goas stays the same, don’t’ give up.  The situation will never be perfect, but if the goals is the same, keep focused.

Remember that as you go through the process of making your decision, you may change your mind as you gather information.  It’s okay if you change your mind.  That also gives you information.  When you are ready, you will know what you need to do, even if it’s the harder road.  Keep you notes handy and listen to the people around you, but don’t let them talk you into something that is not the best for you.  Even if you make a decision that makes things harder for a while, remember your thoughts about five years from now.  Don’t take the easy way.  The hard way can pay off, too, and make you happy for life.