We all face difficult decisions in life. Some require us to think about what we want in the short term, while others have us thinking about our long-term goals.
No matter what kind of decision you’re facing, there are a few helpful tips that can make the process a little easier.
The Process of Making Difficult Decisions
Difficult decisions usually come down to two things: our head and our heart. Our head is logical and calculates the risks, rewards, and possible outcomes of a decision. Our heart, on the other hand, is emotional and allows us to follow our gut instinct.
Most of the time, it’s a good idea to listen to both when making a decision. However, there are times when one or the other should be given more weight. Let’s take a look at how to make difficult decisions by using both our head and our heart.
When to Use Your Head
There are some types of decisions that are better made with our head instead of our heart. These are usually decisions that have more risks than rewards or when the consequences of a bad decision could be devastating.
For example, you might use your head instead of your heart when choosing investments for your retirement fund or when deciding whether or not to start a family.
When making decisions with your head, it’s important to be as rational and objective as possible. Try to set aside any emotions that might be clouding your judgment.
If you need help doing this, write out a pros and cons list or talk to someone who can offer an unbiased opinion.
When to Use Your Heart
Our heart is often more in tune with what we really want than our head is. This is because our heart doesn’t analyze or calculate—it simply feels.
That’s why it’s often best to go with our gut instinct when making decisions about relationships, jobs, and other areas of our personal life.
If you find yourself torn between two different choices, it can be helpful to sit with each one for a while and see how you feel about it after some time has passed.
If one choice continues to feel right even after you’ve thought about it for awhile, that’s probably the one you should go with.
10 Helpful Tips for Making Difficult Decisions in Life
1. Define Your Values
The first step in making a difficult decision is to define your values. What is important to you? What do you want in life? When you know what you value, it becomes much easier to eliminate options that don’t align with those values.
For example, if one of your values is an adventure, then you would probably eliminate the option of working a 9-to-5 job that keeps you in one place.
However, if security is one of your values, then a 9-to-5 job might be the better option for you.
2. Consider Your Options
Once you’ve defined your values, it’s time to consider your options. This is where you’ll want to brainstorm different courses of action and figure out which ones align with your values.
In our example above, if adventure is one of your values, then some options might be taking a gap year to travel or working remotely so that you can live in different places. It’s important to consider as many options as possible so that you can make the best decision for your life.
3. Weigh the Pros and Cons
After you’ve considered your options, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of each one. This step is important because it helps you understand the implications of each decision.
For example, let’s say you’re considering taking a gap year after high school. Some pros might be that you get to travel and see new places and meet new people.
However, some cons might be that it could set back your education or career plans. As you weigh the pros and cons, keep your values in mind so that you can make the best decision for yourself.
4. Trust Your Gut
This is an important thing to consider when making a difficult decision. After all, only you know what’s best for yourself.
So if something doesn’t feel right, even if all the logical reasoning points to that being the best option, then chances are it’s not the right choice for you.
In our example above, if taking a gap year doesn’t feel right, even though all the pros and cons point to it being the best option, then maybe it’s not meant for you. Only you can know what’s best for yourself, so trust your gut and go with what feels right.
5. Get Input From Others
It can be helpful to get input from others when you’re making a difficult decision. Talk to your friends and family and see what they think about your options. It’s important to get input from people who know you well and who will have your best interests at heart.
However, at the end of the day, you should still make the decision that you think is best for yourself.
6. Sleep on It
If you’re still unsure about what to do, it can be helpful to sleep on it. Often, the answer will come to you when you least expect it.
So if you’re struggling to make a decision, take a break and see how you feel after a good night’s sleep.
7. Meditate or Pray about it
it can be helpful to meditate or pray about your decision. This can help you connect with your intuition and find the answers you’re looking for.
It also allows you to take a step back from the situation and see it from a different perspective.
8. Consider the Worst-Case Scenario
One way to help you make a difficult decision is to consider the worst-case scenario. What is the worst thing that could happen if you make this choice?
Often, when you consider the worst-case scenario, it helps you to see that the decision isn’t as scary as it seems. And even if the worst-case scenario does happen, you’ll be able to handle it.
9. Write It Out
Sometimes, the act of writing out your thoughts can help you to make a decision. Try brainstorming all of your options and then writing about the pros and cons of each one.
As you write, you may find that one option starts to stand out more than the others. This can help you to make the decision that’s right for you.
10. Take Your Time
Making a difficult decision can be stressful and overwhelming. So it’s important to take your time and not rush into anything.
Consider all of your options and weigh the pros and cons before making a choice. And if you’re still unsure, it’s okay to take a break and sleep on it. Trust that you’ll make the right decision when the time is right.
Making difficult decisions is never easy but hopefully, these tips will help make the process a little bit easier for you.
Remember to use both your head and your heart when making decisions and try to be as rational and objective as possible. But also don’t forget to listen to your gut instinct—it usually knows what’s best for you!