Are you indecisive? You have a hard time making up your mind. Here’s how to make sound decisions fast – This Month’s Problem
To make timely, well-thought-out choices that are in your best interest and keep you moving toward your goals.
* Identify what you want to achieve. Take the time to assess what’s really important to you, then prioritize. This will make it easier to determine if the decisions you’re making are leading you toward your objectives, says Stephen P. Robbins, Ph.D., author of Decide & Conquer: Make Winning Decisions and Take Control of Your Life (Prentice Hall, 2003). “It will also be easier to eliminate options that will lead you away from those goals,” he says. If you’re inclined to go a particular way with a decision, ask yourself what might happen if you did something different (especially if you have a tendency to play it safe). How would it feel? What are the outcomes likely to be? “People look at decisions in isolation instead of realizing that single decisions are really points in a stream of decisions,” Robbins explains. “So you need to look at the long-term consequences of your immediate choices.”
* Know when to stop gathering information. “A lot of indecision comes when people are afraid to choose because they feel they need to gather more information,” Robbins says. “Our minds can only process so much, so there will come a time when you’ll have enough information to make an intelligent decision.” Not sure if you’ve collected everything you need? Ask yourself whether additional research will significantly improve your ability to decide which new car to buy, for instance. If the answer is no, then you’re better off choosing based on what’s already at your disposal.
* Accept the risk involved. Every decision is, in part, timing and luck. In order for you to be proactive and keep making decisions, you have to acknowledge that some choices will turn out better than others. Understanding this, along with recognizing that you made the best decision you could at the time, can soften the blow when situations don’t pan out as expected.
Making smart–and timely–decisions allows you to take better control of your life in big ways (career, health, investment opportunities) as well as small ones (deciding what to wear or where to eat). “When you improve the quality of your decisions, you improve the quality of your life: Instead of life happening to you, you’ll make the choices that will deliver the outcomes you really want,” Robbins says.
RELATED ARTICLE: 1-minute shapeovers
* You belabor choosing between two restaurants when planning dinner with a friend.
* You put off setting up a retirement account for yourself because you don’t know where to start.
* You fantasize about changing your hair color but don’t do anything about it.
* You flip a coin, realizing either place will be fine because your primary goal is to spend time with your friend.
* You make an appointment to talk to a financial planner who can help you assess your options.
* You ask a friend whose hair color you admire for the name of her stylist, and book a consultation.
Stacey Colino is a freelance writer in Chevy Chase, Md.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group