Top Tips for Better Decision Making

Hello friends! This is a post that I’ve been working on for a little while now, so I’m excited to share it to see if anyone can relate or hopefully benefit from it. It’s all about my top tips for better decision making. Every single day we’re faced with small decisions, but every now and again some much larger and life changing ones present themselves. The whole process can be overwhelming at the best of times so I decided to align my thoughts and try to put together some good advice for someone who may be facing some big decisions.

If a decision presents itself, I always try to ask myself a series of questions to make sure that I’m clear on everything in my own my mind.

Questions to ask yourself to get a better insight into the pros and cons…

1. What would you do if no one else would ever find out? This is a really good question to think about. No matter what sort of decision you are making, we are all influenced by how we think that people are going to react. You really need to take into account what you would you actually do if no one ever found out, that’s a real tell tale!

2. Are you trying to convince yourself? Another good question… It’s easy to have yourself convinced that something is truly awful at a given point, because you may think another option is more appealing. It’s so important to be realistic and honest with yourself, because if you keep telling yourself lies about how awful one option is, you may start to actually believe them.

3. What would you tell your friend if she was asking you? Put yourself in the shoes of the people that you are confiding in for advice, what advice would you give yourself if you were them?

4. Reflect on past decisions…. How did you feel? The last time you made a decision without making your happiness the priority, think about how that felt. I honestly believe that so many people go ahead and make huge decisions in life based on other peoples happiness and what they think is expected of them. Don’t be so foolish. It’s your life, and you are the only one who can fully determine your success and failures in it, so you need to take responsibility for that.

Once you’ve asked yourself all of the hard questions, you can start to work on these points to consider to help you make your decision

1. Think long term – If you are currently in a job where you are unhappy and know that your daily tasks are not setting you up for success in the longterm, then you need to know when the right time is to take an opportunity that might present itself. Leaving a job is not a nice process, so you need to be fully sure that the decision that you are making makes sense for your longterm career goals. I recently experienced just this. I loved the company that I was working with, but the things I was doing each day were in no way related to what I had studied, my experience or my interests. I decided to take a new job with a new company where I am doing what I love every single day and I honestly haven’t looked back since. While it was a seriously tough decision to make, I felt as though I was at a crucial point in my career and that I could easily get stuck in a rut of doing something that I was unhappy with for a long time if I didn’t leave when I did. My main interests and strengths are in digital and social media, and this is definitely an industry where you need to stay in it to keep your knowledge up to date, because things are constantly evolving.

2. Keep all of your options open until the last moment – Be careful to never shoot yourself in the foot by making a premature decision without full disclosure of what is, and isn’t possible. If you’re deciding between two jobs that you may end up taking and spending the next few years of your life doing, be sure to hear out each option and don’t say no to one until you absolutely need to. 

3. Be selfish – If this is a big decision for you, then put yourself first. It’s easy to worry or fear what impact your decision will have on the people around you and your future. But if it’s meant to be, it will be. I ALWAYS make up scenarios in my head, and then before I know it I’m panicking about something that probably won’t happen… What a waste of time?!

4. Play out the scenarios –  Literally envisage both options coming to life. What makes you happier? If it’s a case of breaking up with someone, try and ignore the initial scenario of actually breaking up, but imagine how you’ll feel afterwards. Decide from there which will make you happiest. 

5. Be as informed as possible – Get every last shred of possible information on all of your options. The last thing that you want is any unwanted surprises that may impact you down the line. Ask every single question imaginable and really do your research. If you’re thinking about going back to college or moving house, make sure you know the ins and outs if every aspect of the choice you’re about to make. 

6. Take other people’s opinions into account – The people closest to you are the ones who know you best. I remember telling my Mum I was thinking of leaving my job and she straight away was like “NO please think this through!!!” Once I explained my reasoning and she had a better understanding of why I was thinking the way that I was, it all made so much more sense to her. Things are always, always, always different to how you can imagine them to be, so it’s really important to give full disclosure to the people that you are confiding in, so that they have a realistic idea of what it is that you are dealing with. 

7. Don’t be afraid to walk away – Sometimes part of making a decision between two or more options is realising that the best option could be one that you haven’t thought about yet. Walking away from all of your options and creating a new one might be something to think about if it isn’t a 100% good fit.

8. Go with your gut – One promise I made myself about two years ago was to always go with my gut from then on. The times that I didn’t, I always (without fail) regretted it. You need to learnt to trust your initial instinct because it’s your instinct for a reason. Annoying as it is having someone say “I told you so”, I actually think it’s worse when you knew yourself and didn’t trust that feeling. 

I hope that these pointers might help one person out. Between emigrating, switching jobs more than once and of course some other things, I feel like I have gotten it right on some big decisions. Always remember to keep your communication lines open with the people around you and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith if needs be.

Have a great week,

Niamh x

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