‘Decisions’- a word that can strike fear into most of our hearts. I don’t think I am the only woman out there who has felt an unprecedented sense of panic when forced to make a choice. An understandable horror when faced with big decisions, like what house you are going to buy, a less understandable horror when you find yourself breaking out in a cold sweat when forced to choose a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour.

Decisions are certainly scary, but here’s 5 ways to make better decisions:

1.Let go of perfect

When I was graduating, I was determined to find the ‘perfect’ graduation dress. I spent weeks trawling from shop to shop, red faced and frustrated, determined to find the ‘one’. To me the dress was much more than just a dress, it was a big part of the perfect day and the perfect photo album.

Did I find a dress? Yes. Did I look chubby in the large majority of the photos taken? Yes. Did I rip it slightly after I got too drunk celebrating afterwards? Of course. Was the day still one of the best of my life? Yes.

Often the best days aren’t hinged on one single perfect part, but have a variety of ingredients. The sooner we stop putting pressure on ourselves to find the one perfect part, and focus on the whole, the sooner we can make decisions and focus on having a good time.

2.Imagine you are giving advice to a friend

If you’ve ever seen someone you care about bawling their eyes out, you will know that it is within your ability to conjure up an emergency plan quicker than most CEOs. Whether it’s a job where they aren’t getting appreciated, a relationship where they are getting treated badly or an unhealthy lifestyle, the majority of us have no issue with quickly producing a quick plan to get them back on track. In the cut throat world of friend/family management, bad partners, poor jobs and unhealthy lifestyles are cut just as quickly as a corporate project that’s losing money. For some reason however, often when it comes to our own lives we are unable to show ourselves the same care and consideration that we show our nearest and dearest. If you do find yourself unable to make a decision about something big in your life, then just imagine it’s a close friend or relative. What would you want for them?

3.Remember, redemption is possible

Unless you are a fan of mountain climbing, lion taming or flying planes, a bad decision is probably not going to kill you. The majority of us do not live in a ‘wrong-turn’ movie, and if you do take the wrong turn, it is quite possible to simply reverse and go the right way.

Whilst films, books and song lyrics tend to dramatize certain moments and choices, the majority of us will find that the outcomes of our lives are often not hinged on a single moment. Sure, life would probably be a lot more exciting if this was in the case, but in reality most ‘wrong’ decisions can be reversed with a well-worded text or a functioning receipt. Remembering the existence of redemption can take the stress off a little.

4.Call in the decision-making committee

Ever had that friend who thinks that downing a bottle of wine, going out, dancing on tables and drunkenly calling their ex/boss/mum is a good idea? Unfortunately even the most savvy of decision-makers can have bad days, and having backup decision-makers is especially important in these situations.

A trusted supply of people that have your best interests at heart and can offer different viewpoints, can be truly invaluable when you are in the process of making a decision. Whilst you may feel completely alone with your decision, it is incredibly likely that someone close to you has had to make a very similar decision. Just don’t be afraid to ask.

5.Trust your gut

Unfortunately there is nothing magical about your gut. If you have no strong gut feeling on a matter, then no amount of appealing to your gut is going to change that. You may just be better writing a pros and cons list. However, sometimes you may have a strong gut instinct that defies logic. It may be that despite one job offering you more money, your gut is telling you to go with the lower paid option. Or perhaps you are dating someone that on paper seems absolutely perfect, but for some reason your gut is telling you he/she is not right for you. Whilst your gut may not be magical, it can offer you an insight into what you know and want subconsciously. Other people are great advisers, but ultimately it is you that is going to have to live with the decision. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Written by Sofia Geraghty

Sofia Geraghty

Sofia is a blogger living in London. She is Head of digital at parliament street ( a political think tank) and is particulalry passionate about social inequality and personal well-being.

6 Comments
  1. Great advice. I do also try and make a pros and cons list. I know it seems simplistic. The other advice I always tell myself is “what is the WORST thing that could happen if I make the wrong decision?” Many times even if the decision is terribly wrong, the worst thing that could happen can be easily fixed by changing gears or direction. Thanks!

  2. Let go of perfect. How many of our problems could be solved by that one tip??? More than we think, I’d guess. Great tips for getting through my next decision. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Imagine giving advice to a friend is a wonderful tip and teaches us to be more gentle with ourselves while being firm at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

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