6 strategies for decision making in life.
Tips and guidelines for applying the right strategies when making decisions.
When facing challenges and overcoming life or professional crises, not everything is based on effort or discipline; a large part of what allows us to adapt correctly to the demands of our environment has to do with learning to make decisions.
Psychology has a lot to say about this: there are worse and better ways to choose among the options available to us, and to do so properly, it is important to learn certain patterns of behavior and management of thoughts and emotions.
6 strategies to learn how to make better decisions in life
Here are some key ideas worth keeping in mind to approach important decisions from a constructive, goal-focused mindset.
1. Define your options
Before making a decision, it is important to make sure that the task of making a choice is made up of clear and concrete options in the first place, rather than based on generalities.Instead of being based on generalities and diffuse desires. Otherwise, you will be setting yourself up for the constant frustration of not knowing what to do while being unclear about what you are supposed to choose between.
Having blurred and constantly changing alternatives without you realizing it is an insurmountable obstacle that will not allow you to make a consistent decision, and worse, will not even allow you to learn from your mistakes.
That is why, first of all, take care to to specify the options in front of which you must position yourself and make a decision.
2. Assume a certain degree of uncertainty
We are not talking about learning to make good decisions, not even about learning to choose, but about developing the necessary skills to know how to choose from an adequate, reasonable position, creating situations so that the risk of failure is relatively small and the risk of getting it right increases.
In fact, achieving this means being aware at all times that it is impossible to learn to always or almost always get it right, and that uncertainty and lack of information are the main reasons for this. uncertainty and lack of information are a necessary element of the decision making process..
3. Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses
To know how to "measure your strengths" in the face of a challenge, it is important to have a complete and richly nuanced view of what you can and cannot do. In this sense, it is very useful to make a SWOT matrix, in which you make a brief list of your strengths, weaknesses, risks and opportunities in relation to a specific mission.
This SWOT analysis must be focused on the here and now, i.e., it has to be based on the real you, the one you know exists in the present, and not on an idealized you or on the potential skills you think you can develop with a few days of learning or training. Dedicating about five minutes to this is enough.
4. Estimate your ability to learn
Although the SWOT analysis was focused on the present, it is still true that you certainly have the capacity to increase your chances of success. whether you are adequately prepared to take on a challenge with which you have relatively little experience..
So if you are hesitant about how you should approach a project or challenge that is relatively new to you (or if you are hesitant about whether you should try to take it on in the first place), stop and think about what you have time to learn or train in the time you have, and whether you think you have the skills and resources to make it work.
5. Take into account your emotional state when making the decision
At a certain point you will have to choose one of the options; after that stage, it is important that you remain consistent and act consistently, so that if you abandon that decision, it is only because you see that you have made a mistake and that the strategy or tactic does not work.
Now then, try not to let that moment coincide with a situation in which you feel your emotions overflowing, because they can distort your perspective on what is happening.They may distort too much your perspective on what is happening. It is clear that time is limited and in certain cases you will not be able to wait indefinitely until you calm down completely, but look for a balance between the minutes or hours you have to decide and your emotional state.
6. Beware of analysis paralysis
So far we have focused on tasks based on introspection, on reflection. But while these are useful and necessary if there is a lot at stake in your decision, you should keep in mind that this "thinking" phase can become a trap.
Some people do not decide to take the step from words to deeds because they are afraid of exposing themselves to failure, so they always remain in the "thinking" phase.They always remain in the same stage, thinking about their doubts, their ideas, etc. This is a phenomenon known as analysis paralysis: the task of reflecting before doing something goes from being a tool to overcome a challenge to being an excuse for not tackling it.
Therefore, it is important that you know how to detect that point at which, if you keep limiting yourself to thinking, you are self-sabotaging yourself.
Do you want psychological assistance?
If you are interested in having professional psychological support to face periods of crisis, to learn how to manage your responsibilities or to handle your emotions correctly before a project, I invite you to contact us.
At Psicoconsulting we work with individuals and companies both in face-to-face sessions (in Barcelona) and through online therapy.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)