Updated: Nov 20
Learn how to make a tough decision that is values-driven.
Every day we come across situations where we have to make decisions related to our personal or professional life, relationships, or family responsibilities. Life is constantly made up of making choices, and at times it can feel quite confusing, challenging, and overwhelming since we worry about making the “right” decision.
Have you recently been faced with a dilemma or had to go through the process of decision making and you weren’t sure how to go about making up your mind? Making a tough decision is often a very deeply personal choice which may impact our daily lives, our families, and perhaps our quality of life.
Below are a few steps that can help you when you’re feeling stuck on how to make a decision or if you’re in a dilemma.
1. Recognize That Process of Decision Making Is Not Easy.
Let's quickly lay the obvious on the table and not pretend that making a decision is a simple process. Don't feel as if the decision-making process is easy. We can at times minimize the process and placing pressure on ourselves to quickly know what is the “right” thing to do, but making decisions isn’t easy!
Most of the time there isn't a perfect decision. Even if the decision made was well thought out; it doesn't mean that it won’t have its challenges.
We often are quick to be hard on ourselves and question our past decisions. However this process can allow us to learn and grow so that in the future we can have greater clarity the next time we have go through the same situation.
In this process, you will walk through the other following steps listed.
2. Clarify Your Core Values
When making a decision it is important to consider and include your core values. Not sure what your core values are? Core values are your beliefs, practices, and fundamental driving forces that all come together to guide how you live your life on a daily basis. Your core values are a critical part of the process of decision making as they include what is most important to you and how you want to show up in the world.
If you are not sure what are your core values, you can start by following these quick and easy steps:
Think about at least 20 values that you can resonate with well.
Try to narrow you list down and select 5 of the 20 values that you have highlighted.
Within 2-3 days after selecting, be intentional with your actions and connect them to the 5 you have chosen to ensure you truly feel connected to them.
3. Make A List of Positive Aspects Vs. The Challenges of The Decision.
As earlier mentioned, every decision will have its trials. Therefore, it's essential that you take the time to outline both the benefits and challenging aspects of the decision and reflect on the different aspects before going forward with your choice. This process can help you gather information, assess the facts, as well as have a methodical process to explore all the ways the decision may impact you. It is important to write your list down! Many people make a mental list, however the process of externalizing and seeing your list on a piece of paper (or computer screen) can allow you to reflect on your decision.
4. Let your Core Values guide your decision.
Using your core values as a compass can help you determine if the decision moves you towards a life that is more aligned with the person you are striving to be. When you step out to make a big decision, considering what values are most important to you and if your decision aligns with that choice, can help you clarify if it a good fit for the life you want.
5. Practice Self Compassion.
The process of decision making and trying to decide what to do can often cause to feel a variety of emotions, which may show up as confusion, anxiety, excitement, overwhelm, or joy. Recognizing and allowing all the emotions that show up for you can allow cope with this process. It is also important to practice self-compassion and patience with yourself without judgement. This means displaying acceptance and kindness to yourself even in challenging situations.
Making a hard decision can be complicated, and it can evoke a range of emotions like frustration, excitement, relief, and stress. Practicing self compassion can allows us to sit with all of those emotions and know it is normal and common that making a decision is not a straight forward process.
Taking these steps can help guide you in the right direction with a decision most fitting your core values and help you feel more calm, empowered, and at peace with the choice you’ve made.
If you're looking for support or feel lost about making a tough decision, feel free to contact Kristin for therapy or coaching services to help you gain clarity as to what you really want.
***The ideas, concepts, and opinions expressed in all Living Openhearted posts are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author and publisher are not rendering medical advice of any kind, nor are intended to replace medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. It is imperative that before beginning any diet or exercise program, you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician. Authors and publisher claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material.