Our Recent Posts



Decisions, decisions...

How are you more likely to make an important decision - by reasoning through it, or by going with your gut? Maybe even a bit of both? As with all things, there is no right answer here, rather what I'm suggesting is the importance of #Selfknowledge.

When you make a decision, what is it that matters to you? That you don't do anything risky, or that you don't do something you'll later regret (and yes, those are different). Some decisions are easier than others. When it's a smaller decision which could turn out to be inconvenient at worst - the regret needn't be more than fleeting. Equally, when you know who you are - your morals and guiding principles, and you're clear on what you want, you can react more easily with a categoric "yes" or "no" without needing time to ponder.

But there's also the big stuff - and what's big is personal to each individual. A house purchase seems likely to be the biggest decision most of us make, which is probably why it ranks up there in the realms of life's biggest stressors. Another on that list is divorce (and I would include here the breakdown of a long/serious relationship). And yet... and yet, if you're absolutely clear about what you want/need, if you're black and white about your requirements from a house - or a relationship - the decision making is probably not the most stressful part.

So, what is? Control - or more specifically, control over the outcome. The need for a guaranteed outcome in order to decide has huge consequences - for none of us can predict the future, and that knowledge alone can paralyze the best of us. Making no decision can become a decision in itself, because it's likely the decision comes with some form of time limit, and once that's past, it's inevitable that the decision defaults to a "no". If you find yourself in this position, the only way to make an active choice rather than passively ending up with a choice being made, is to look at the decision in the here and now. When it's impossible to forecast the future, I find basing my decision on what I can live with right now, helps me to push back paralysis.

One method I use involves engaging with your gut. When a decision has to be made and you have a little time available (overnight is generally sufficient), you first make an active choice. You don't need to acclaim it publicly, but you do choose. Then you live with it for whatever period is available. Ideally, you sleep on it, and when you wake up in the morning, you take your emotional and gut temperature. A bounce in your step, a feeling of excitement, or relief - you know you've chosen a path that feels right for you, right now. While you may also be feeling fear or anxiety over what's ahead, that's not something which needs to worry you, for the feeling you need to look out for and to act upon is dread - the "oh no, what I have done" feeling. But, far far better to feel it now, before you're in a position from which you cannot reverse.

Sorry, I've jumped ahead to the "can I live with it" part, so let me go back to the how of decision making. While I'd never diss the making of a pros and cons list, for it can help to form a clear picture of what you can live with right now, there's also four other questions I'd suggest you ask yourself:

1. What would happen if I did?

2. What would happen if I didn't?

3. What wouldn't happen if I did?

4. What wouldn't happen if I didn't?

Take your time in answering these... the answers could prove illuminating.

© 2021 Caring Coaching