We all know this dilemma: We have to make an important decision, but somehow that seems impossible and soon leads to an eternal back and forth. Should I accept the new job offer or should I rather stay with my current job?
Should I really dare to move to a larger apartment in the countryside or will I quickly get bored there? My relationship hasn’t been what it used to be for a long time – should I stay and work on it or should I end it?
No one is exempt from difficult decisions!
Such difficult decisions are, for better or worse, a part of life and they can be a big challenge for us. If you are struggling with a difficult decision at the moment, we would like to share with you in this article, together with chainlesslife.com, the best tips, techniques & methods that will help you make a clear decision that you will not regret afterwards!
This desper understanding of the mental mechanisms, which are then particularly in our subconscious mind in the course, if we stand before an important/difficult decision, serves as later basis for it, in order to make a decision more simply and to be able to convert these then also more consistently.
There are 3 main causes that make it difficult for us to make a clear decision:
Cause 1: The fear of regret & remorse.
Since we (unfortunately) cannot see into the future, the mental scenario that once we have made a decision and taken a path, we will eventually find that it was the wrong path for us, creates a paralyzing fear of the decision.
Cause 2: The fear of change
The most difficult decisions are usually the ones where we know that they will bring (strong) changes in our lives. This would mean that we would have to leave our comfort zone and we humans fear this enormously!
Cause 3: The fear of loss
Quite often, a decision for something also means a decision against something else at the same time. In combination with the fear of subsequent regret, we are afraid of losing something valuable/good/comfortable in our lives when making these decisions!
Before we get to the 5 concrete tips, techniques & methods that will make it easier for you to make a decision, you should ask yourself at this point, which of these 3 causes apply to you and your current situation or decision?
5 methods and techniques for easier decision making
So that we can make decisions easier & faster in the future, it is advisable to familiarize ourselves now with some methods and techniques that can help us to decide. In the following I have compiled the 5 best of these methods and techniques for you and with their help you can make a difficult decision very quickly much easier.
1. the 4-W question technique
The 4-W question technique helps us make better decisions by going through question by question and analyzing the background of our hesitation in more detail. The best way to do this is to write down the questions on a piece of paper and then answer them in writing. With a little practice and time, you will have internalized the 4-question technique and will be able to use it “on the go” to make decisions even faster and easier in the future.
W-question 1: What is holding me back?
In this first step, simply write down all the things that are currently holding you back from making a clear decision. This way you will see exactly which and how many reasons there are against a decision.
W-Question 2: What do I fear?
Fears are there to be looked at! That is the first step to face them and to overcome them. Exactly the same applies to the process of your decision-making!
W-question 3: What could happen in the worst case?
This question is about becoming aware of the worst case scenario of your possible decision(s). This will help you overcome the fear of fear, which can often seem much stronger than the decision itself.
W-Question 4: What would happen if I do nothing?
Finally, try to imagine and feel what would happen if you do not make a decision in this situation. This may open up new possibilities & perspectives for you OR you will be motivated to act at the moment.
2. the O-R-D-E-R technique
With this technique you take the word “order” as a tool to be able to decide better & easier. Each letter stands for a step you have to take on the way to making the right decision.
O – Options
Be clear about all the options you have in relation to your decision.
R – Risks and Advantages
Become aware of the possible risks and benefits of your possible decision(s), which should serve you as a kind of mental pro-and-con list.
D – Decision
Make a clear decision – in particular, commit yourself internally and try not to revise it immediately
E – Execution
Execute the decision NOW! Often the problem is not the action itself, but the eternal procrastination and the weighing of the “perfect” decision.
R – Review
Now try to get an overview of the entire decision-making process. This will give you even more security, clarity and especially a positive confirmation, so that you can decide even faster & easier next time.
NOTE: Also with this technique for easier decision making, it is highly recommended (just like with the other 4 methods) to actually record the whole thing in writing with a pen & a sheet of paper. This process often speeds up the decision-making process enormously.
3. making decisions with the help of a mind map
This technique is almost something of a classic! With the help of the mind map, also called thought map or memory map, you can get a more accurate overview of your thoughts & fears. And just this deeper self-reflection helps you enormously to make a decision. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. Alternatively, you can also use an app/software for this.
This is how you create a mind map for faster decision making:
- First, write down the crucial question or problem in the middle of the paper and circle the whole thing.
- Now draw so-called main branches that lead away from the central question. These should represent the various decision options.
- Label each of these branches with a possible decision. Try to formulate this as concretely as possible.
- Two more side branches lead away from the main branches, which you label on both sides with the positive consequences and negative consequences of this decision.
- Now add more branches to the positive and negative side branches, each of which has positive or negative consequences, until you can’t think of any more.
When you have put all your thoughts on paper and your mind map is ready, you will not only have a better overview of your own decision process, but also a visual tool that presents the possible consequences of a decision at a glance. And that’s what will usually make it easier for you to finally make your decision!
4. the 10-10-10 method to make good decisions
Business journalist, coach and writer Suzy Welch developed the 10-10-10 method to become aware of the potential impact our decisions could have over three future time periods and thus determine the scope and importance. So this decision-making technique uses your entire imagination!
To apply this method in the best possible way, first gather all the important information related to your decision. The more exactly you know which factors could be important for the decision, the better or clearer the result of this method will be.
As soon as you are clear about this, you can start with the actual 3 questions of the 10-10-10 method:
- What impact will my decision have in 10 minutes?
- What impact will my decision have in 10 months?
- What impact will my decision have in 10 years?
The first thing to do here is to determine what immediate consequences (if any) our decision might have. Our gut feeling plays a decisive role in this question, as it can give you an indication of whether this is more of a short-term effect, or whether the whole thing could possibly have longer-term consequences?
This period should show you what effects your decision could have in the medium term. This can be especially important if the decision involves more far-reaching planning and problem solving. In addition, imagine here what you can achieve or implement in just under a year – such as further education, training, projects…
After all, when we look back on our lives at some point, we want to have as few regrets as possible – so when making difficult decisions, it’s important to reflect on what is important to us in our lives in the longer term and what we will benefit from in the long term. Therefore, ask yourself: Does this decision have a far-reaching impact on my future life and if so, how DOES IT FEEL TO ME?
This technique is especially great when things have to go quickly!
From my experience I can say that the 10-10-10 technique is a really great tool, which I now personally also very happy and often use to decide faster and easier. The especially great thing about it is the simplicity and the speed! Just try this technique and you will probably find yourself using it again automatically in the next situation.
Making decisions with the help of a pro and con list
The true classic among decision-making tools! The pros and cons list is a great way to take a closer look at the pros and cons of a decision and to become clear about which decision is the right/better one.
It’s a quick & easy way to create a pros and cons list:
To create the list, write the central question that requires a decision as a title in the top center of a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line below it. On the left side you can put the “pro” and on the right side the “con“. Now list in the respective columns everything that comes to your mind as an advantage (pro) or disadvantage (con) of your decision.
You will quickly notice if one side or the other fills up faster and more. Once you’ve entered everything, you’ll see more clearly what the advantages and disadvantages of the decision are. It can also help to go through the list again the next day to check with a “fresh” perspective and a clear mind whether the respective reasons still apply or maybe something should be revised / weighted less strongly.
Helpful tips and conclusion
OK, and that’s all they were. The 5 best methods & techniques to make a clear decision faster & easier. No matter which of these 5 methods and techniques you try out now, you will definitely find it easier to reach a solution and make a decision faster.
Do not be afraid of wrong decisions!
But at the same time, please be aware that we all, and I mean ALL of us, make bad decisions in our lives! However, wrong decisions always give us the chance to develop further and to learn something new and valuable, if we are willing to accept the lesson.
Therefore, wrong decisions are sometimes even necessary to learn to make better decisions in the future. So it is also very important that you learn to forgive yourself when you make a “wrong” or not the most optimal decision. The whole thing is in truth only as tragic as you make it in your mind. Whether you believe it or not: You alone control your thoughts!
Weigh your decision in the best possible way, act according to your best possible and you will have nothing to regret!
So if you do your best in your decision making process and use one or maybe even more of the techniques presented here, you will not be able to blame yourself afterwards and that is ultimately the most important thing!