They say, life is all about choices.
And rightly so.
We have to make countless choices each day. From simple ones to life-altering ones, we have to make decisions. Some of these choices have minimal consequences, while others not only affect you but also others around you.
Some of the choices we make have an impact on us immediately, while others don’t affect us for many years. What’s important to understand is the fact that we are the ones responsible for making the choices that we do. Every choice we make defines our life and makes us different from others around us.
Do you make good choices?
Here are some tips that can help you make better choices and make better decisions.
How to Make Better Decisions in Life?
1. Don’t be Afraid of the Consequences
We try to predict the future with every choice we make in life. People are more drawn towards the choices that they think will make them the happiest overall. We are concerned with the hedonic or emotional consequences of our decisions.
While this is the right way to go about making decisions, the only problem is that we are not really good at affective forecasting. We mostly overestimate the impact of these decisions, both good and bad. In reality, the hedonic consequences of our decisions are not as intense as we had imagined.
So, what should be done to make better life choices?
Instead of looking at how a particular life choice will make you feel, find someone who has made a similar choice and ask them about their experience. Keep in mind that whatever the future holds, it will not be as good or as bad as you had imagined.
Learn to take risks and don’t always play safe. The worst outcome is just in your mind. It may never happen actually. Therefore, don’t run away from making bold choices just because you are overthinking the consequences.
2. Don’t Ignore Your Emotions
Most people consider emotions to be the single biggest enemy when it comes to making decisions. However, emotions are integral to the process of making choices. It is our emotions that help us make unconscious and rapid decisions. Our emotions tell us to fight or flight in situations that threaten our survival.
But the role of emotions in making serious life choices is more than just knee-jerk responses. While emotions are an important part of the choice-making process because making choices under emotional influence may affect the outcome.
Emotions have a direct effect on our motivation and thinking. Many studies and researches have proven this. However, in one such study, it was found that sad people make the best choices as compared to angry or disgusted people. These two emotions also have their importance in making decisions, though.
Depressive realism is real, and many studies have found that depressed people tend to have the most realistic view of the world. While we are not asking you to be sad and depressed when you have to make an important choice, it is best to consider your emotions during the process.
3. Detach People from Situations
Separating people from situations is never an easy task. Both of them are too entangled and separating the two can be difficult. However, this is important if you wish to make better life choices. It is important not to be bothered by the situation but the person.
Most of the things we do or say are behavior driven. Situations mostly govern our behavior and we often misinterpret it as a person’s outburst. Therefore, it is best to separate people and situations and then take decisions.
4. Avoid Overthinking
This cannot be stressed enough. One of the main reasons we are not able to make better life choices is because we overthink every situation. Thinking too much about the same thing over and over again just complicates it. We are left more confused after this arduous process.
There is a difference between useful analysis and over analysis. If you are continuously worried about something that is not taking you any close to an action point, then it is a clear sign that you are overthinking. This will affect your decision-making efforts negatively.
Structure your thinking and let go of useless thoughts. This will help you make better decisions.
5. Consult with Others
One of the most common reasons many people fail to make the right choices is that they think of themselves as the smartest person. They don’t take anyone’s advice and try to do everything on their own.
Making important life choices with this frame of mind is not going to get you anywhere. It will just hold you back. You need to seek out information and take help from other smart people around you who may have made a similar decision themselves.
6. Don’t Limit Yourself Based on Your Beliefs
Don’t make a choice just because you have to stick to your borrowed beliefs and values. Is it even right if it’s choking you? Keep in mind that the right decision and choice is what you want. Don’t make choices under someone’s pressure.
Taking a decision just because ‘this is how it’s done’ may not be the best choice in your case. You have the right to make choices the way you want. Nothing else matters if you are happy with your choices and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. But don’t make a choice that you think you’ll regret later on.
7. Let Bygones be Bygones
They say, it is useless to cry over spilt milk, and rightly so. Just because one of your choices or decisions didn’t work out the way you had planned doesn’t mean that you can’t make good decisions again.
Let go of the past. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t learn from your past mistakes when making new decisions. What had to happen, happened, but you need to keep your mistakes in mind so that you can make better choices in the future.
Be rational about your decisions and don’t be afraid to make bold choices even if the first one didn’t go as expected.
8. Don’t be Diverted by Insignificant Issues
It is important to manage the big stuff first when you are making life decisions. If you keep worrying about small things in life, then you will not be able to focus on the things that actually matter. Thus, spend less time on trivial stuff and you will have more time to spend on the decisions that really matter.
9. Don’t Procrastinate
You will not be able to take a decision if you are running after perfection. Perfect decisions do not exist since we don’t always have all the information we need to make the best choice. You have to work on the information you have.
Instead of wasting time on what’s out of your control, spend more time on the information you have. Procrastination is not going to get you anywhere. Life is all about choices and you have to make the best choice with the limited resources and information that you have.
10. Talk It Over
If making a decision is hard for you, discuss your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. But only choose people who have your best interest at heart. It can be anyone – your parents to siblings, friends or colleagues.
One of the best outcomes of discussing your choices with someone else is that you get a fresh perspective. They may highlight the options that you weren’t even considering earlier. Different perspectives on the same thing can help you make better and informed decisions.
11. The Past Doesn’t Always Predict the Future
Simply relying on experience for every life choice you make is not the best strategy. The situation may be entirely different this time around and basing your decision on past experiences can be a big mistake.
Therefore, don’t always predict the future based on your past experiences. Make every life choice with a fresh perspective and mindset.
These were some simple yet effective ways to make better choices in life. Follow them to make the best decisions. After all, life is about choices.