5 simple tips that could help you make better decisions

When you’re facing big life decisions, it can be difficult to know which choice to take. Read on to learn some simple tips that could improve your decision-making.

According to Eva Krockow, a lecturer at the University of Leicester, the average person makes a staggering 35,000 decisions every day.

Of course, many of these decisions will be unconscious. You probably give little thought to how quickly to walk when you’re heading to the shop or whether to smile at a stranger you meet on the way.

A lot of the decisions you make you will do on autopilot rather than deliberating the different options. Even those that you make consciously, many will be relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Yet, everyone will face decisions that they need to carefully weigh up and could have a long-lasting effect on their life. You might be deciding whether you should take a new job offer, or if you should invest a lump sum you’ve received rather than place it in a cash account.

At these times, you might worry about making the wrong choice. So, here are five simple tips that could help you.

1. Imagine yourself in the future

If you find yourself unable to make a decision or you keep changing your mind, visualising yourself in the future can be effective.

Go through each of your options and consider how the choice would affect your life in one or five years. It can be valuable for a few key reasons.

First, it can identify the decisions that aren’t going to have a long-term effect on your life that you might be needlessly worrying about.

Second, it could help you get away from the immediate results of your decisions and focus on the bigger picture. You might find that when the long-term outcomes are weighed up, your decision is more straightforward than you initially thought.

2. Write down your goals

Your goals should be at the centre of your decisions. So, being clear about what you want to achieve can give you a sense of direction and something to balance “good” or “bad” decisions against.

Writing down your aspirations might be useful when you’re defining what’s important to you. It also provides you with something to refer back to when you’re making a decision.

3. Set yourself a deadline

Timing is important when you’re making a decision, so give yourself a deadline.

On the one hand, you don’t want to be pushed into making potentially life-changing decisions quickly. You might benefit from taking a step away to gain some perspective or to allow yourself to think through the options carefully.

On the other hand, it can be all too easy to procrastinate and put off important decisions when you’re struggling.

Giving yourself a deadline can help you make decisions in a timely manner.

4. Figure out what you don’t know

For some decisions, you might benefit from extra information. So, figuring out what you don’t know is an important skill that could improve the outcomes.

Noting down what you need to find out could help direct your research. In some cases, a quick search online will yield the answers you want and help you make an informed decision.

Don’t be afraid to seek help either. Sometimes speaking to a professional could be right for you. For instance, if you’re deciding which mortgage suits your needs, a mortgage broker might be able to explain the different options to you.

5. Learn from your mistakes

Finally, use your mistakes to your advantage.

Everyone makes errors, and there will be times when you look back with the benefit of hindsight and wish you’d done some things differently. While you might regret some of the decisions you’ve made, learn from them to improve in the future.

Ask yourself what led to you making the “wrong” decision. You might have been led by other people or maybe you simply didn’t have the experience you do today.

Understanding what led to certain decisions can help improve your judgement and allow you to create a process that works for you.

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