No matter what stage you’re at in life, difficult life-changing decisions are inevitable.
The bad news is the further along in life you move, the more complex those dilemmas become.
While we know the decision making process is never easy especially when involving several people or potentially impacts several lives, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Here’s our best advice for making smart choices in difficult situations:
– Give it time.
Never feel compelled to rush difficult decisions because the last thing that you want is a choice you end up regretting. Time is precious, but decisions you can be happy with are even more precious. So, whenever you’re in a difficult situation, don’t be afraid to wait a few days or until you feel more confident about the choice you’re making. That’s not to say delay it until the last minute – just make sure your verdict has time to marinate before jumping the gun. What’s meant to be yours will still be yours.
– Perceive your situation as an outsider.
We all know that we give better advice (and make smarter decisions) when we’re NOT actually in the situation. Everything is easier said than done especially when you’re not emotionally invested. That means when you’re making difficult decisions, try to look at yourself from an objective point-of-view. What would you say if this was your sister, a best friend, or even your mom? And then, what would you do?
– Limit intake.
When stressed, we also have the tendency to seek advice… We turn to the internet, friends we trust, and family. However, the answer is in you. When consuming information from everyone around you, you might get conflicting advice…maybe some you want to hear and others you don’t want to hear. What you have to remember is that in the end, it comes down to YOU. No one will live with the consequences of your actions except yourself. At some point, you have to quit asking and decide for yourself.
– When in doubt _____.
Make a decision and stick with it. The funny thing is in the next 5-10 years, none of what you’re worried about will matter or happen. It only feels heavy and devastating in the moment when the emotions are high. Fear of regret leads to a period where nothing happens and your problem winds up blooming into something worse. The best thing you can do right now is make a choice and do it (but don’t base your decision on what you think you’re “supposed” to or “expected” to do).
One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow
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