6 Steps for Healthier Decision Making

All of us have struggled at one time or another with making decisions. Whether simple, such as deciding between chicken or fish for dinner or more complex such as whether or not to make a drastic career change, quit smoking, or embark on a strenuous weight loss program.  Normally we find ourselves carefully weighing the pros and cons. Scrutinizing the benefits and risks before coming to a conclusion. Yet we often make the wrong decision or choose to do what we’ve always done, the least risky, least painful decision that is not ultimately in our best interests.

Let’s take a look at six steps to help you make the best decision…

1. Focus on the Power of Good Decision Making

The second you make a new decision you have changed your destiny. Such is the power of making decisions. You set into motion new behaviors, actions, directions, consequences, and paths for your life. Don’t despair if you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or as if life is against you and happening “to” you.

Unhappy with your life? It can all change the second you decide you want it to. A good decision  means you’ve stopped talking about it and actually taken action. If you haven’t acted on your decision then you haven’t it. No action means no decision.


2. The Hardest Part of Success is Making a True Decision

Making a definite decision can be much more difficult than seeing it through to completion. Choose wisely, but don’t procrastinate. Decide quickly and then put your decision into action. Researchers have found that what sets successful people apart from those who fail time and again is quick, committed decision making.

Successful people make rapid decisions based on their values and larger life goals, which they stick with to completion. In contrast those who are unsuccessful tend to be slow and indecisive, changing their minds often and rarely seeing their decisions through to completion.

Social Anxiety

3. Practice Making Decisions Frequently

Like any repetitive activity, whether playing a musical instrument, skiing, golfing, or excelling in sports, the more you practice the better you get.

Making decisions is like any other skill in life, the more you make the better you’ll get. Start today. Make some decisions on things you’ve been putting off for a while. Feel the energy and positive emotions it generates.

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4. Learn from the Results of your Decisions

Any decision you make will lead to effects. Some good, some bad. Reflect on the decisions you’ve made that didn’t leave you with the results you’d anticipated. Learn from this.

Would an alternate decision have had the desired results? Use this as a learning experience to help you make better decisions in the future. You now know what doesn’t work, which saves you time and effort so you can focus on what does work.

F paper grade

5. Stay Flexibly Committed to Your Decisions

Sometimes you make a decision, but don’t know exactly how to get there. For instance you may have decided you’re going to get out of debt and own a home instead of renting. You have no idea how you’re going to do this when you’re stuck in a minimum wage, part time job and can’t even make the rent this month.

Once you’ve decided on a course of action you should stay committed, but remain open to alternate routes to achieve your goal. In our example you may need to get another job, work longer hours, or conversely you may go back to school to improve your education. Then again, you may want to consider being self-employed. The point is to keep you goals in mind, stay committed and be willing to change strategies in order to achieve them. Don’t become rigid in your path. There is more than on road that leads to the desired results.

Money Jar

6. Enjoy the Art of Decision Making

Have fun and find pleasure in making decisions. Know that by making quick, informed decisions you have set yourself apart from the majority of people. You are now well on your way to success. Rest assured that the next decision you make can be the one that changes the course of your life forever.

That next phone call you make, course you sign up for, or stranger you speak to in the grocery store line up. That next website you visit, book you read or job you apply for may be the catalyst that opens the floodgates so everything you’ve always dreamed about suddenly falls into place. Expect great things…and make decisions accordingly.



Debbie McGauran

Debbie has been a registered nurse for over 25 years with experience in geriatrics, medicine, surgery and mental health. For the past four years, she has practiced as a crisis nurse in the ER. Debbie lives on a farm with her family, two dogs, a cat, and four horses.