By Dr. Tomi W. Bryan
We make a lot of decisions every day. Some are small, like, "do I want fruit for breakfast?", and others are quite a bit bigger, like, "should I quit my job," or, "should I buy a house." It would be nice if all our decisions were easy, but there is no universal blueprint for how to make the right decision.
The good news is that, while there is no universal blueprint for making decisions, you can make the tough decisions easier. Here are three steps you can take to make better life decisions.
- Know Your Top 5 Values.
Knowing your top 5 values is essential for better decision-making. Finding your top 5 values is a discovery process and there are 2 meaningful ways of discovery. The first option is finding a list of values on the internet or getting a deck of values cards and starting to narrow your list down. If you find yourself having trouble in the process you can also check out CEO Sage Scott Jeffrey's 7 Steps to Discover Your Personal Core Values.
The second option is taking time to observe yourself in your everyday life. Figure out what the values are that drive your everyday decisions. Is it family? Independence? Integrity? Loyalty? Become aware of what you hold dear and how that interacts with how you structure your life.
- Make Decisions Using Your Values.
The best model for making values-based decisions can be found in Suzy Welch's book "10-10-10: A Fast and Powerful Way to Get Unstuck in Love, at Work, and at Home". Prior to discovering the 10-10-10 method, I discussed strategy and decisions based on the short-term, mid-term and long-term. People's eyes glazed over. There was nothing "sexy" about evaluating decisions in those time frames. But Welch changed that with 10-10-10.
With your top five values in hand, the starting point for 10-10-10 is a clearly defined question - what are you trying to answer? The second step for 10-10-10 is to use your values to answer what are the positive and negative outcomes from your decision in 10 minutes (short-term), in 10 months (mid-term), and in 10 years (long-term).
The final step is to analyze the information you have gathered. Welch wrote that this part of the 10-10-10 process requires you to ask yourself: "Knowing what I now know about all of my options and their consequences, which decision will best help me create a life of my own making?"
On her book cover, as an endorsement, Glamour called 10-10-10 "the best decision-making tool ever." Because of 10-10-10, Welch said her "life is renewed; my decisions deliberate, purposeful and confident."
- Timing matters.
Decision fatigue is real. After a long day of making decisions, research shows willpower is depleted and the ability to make smart decisions drops drastically. It is best to make big decisions earlier in the day.
By incorporating these three steps into your daily routine and practicing them over and over, you will find that your ability to make decisions that are purposeful and powerful increases. You will also find that tough decisions aren't so tough anymore. As you begin to understand who you are, what you like, what you don't like and use that information to make choices, it becomes easy to see the choice that best suits you.
Dr. Tomi Bryan, a sought-after System Dynamics Expert, helps high achievers find their next gear. Discover the champion within! Learn more at Championship Dynamics, connect with us on Facebook or schedule an appointment
with Dr. Bryan. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.