Every one of us has a closet full of bad decisions. Maybe we purchased something when we shouldn’t have, or told someone “yes” when we should have said “no”. Each decision sends us drifting down a path, sometimes towards a destination we don’t like.
So how do we steer ourselves toward where we really want to go? Well, the first question that needs to be answered is “Where do you want to go?”
Deciding what you value
Many choices are based on what’s comfortable and easy, whether or not they align with what we want. It’s easier to say “yes” than it is to tell someone “no”. It’s easier (in the short term) to make a purchase on credit than it is to save up for the thing we want. But those easy decisions often lack purpose. They’re only made to get them out of the way, to check a box.
One of the things I help my life coaching clients with is figuring out a basis for their decision making. I ask them to keep a list of the things they value, not physical things, although that might be the case for some, but concepts like family, honesty, and financial freedom
Once we know what we want, what we value, our decisions start getting better.
This or that?
Here’s a good example: You have the opportunity to start a new job. It’s a lot more money than your current job, but it means spending a significant amount of time traveling away from your family. If you know, in concrete terms, that you value time with your family more than you value money, that should help determine the choice you make.
Another: You know that you value honesty and discretion, but you’re spending a lot of time and effort on building a friendship with someone who gossips and lies. It’s making you miserable. Why not focus on hanging around someone who shares similar values?
In my own life, I’ve found that when I’m more purposeful with my decisions, I’m happier with the outcomes. When a choice presents itself, I try to remember what is important to me and make the choice based on that. It results in a lot less stress and me feeling like I’m closer to where I want to be. And even if the decision turns out poorly, it’s a lot easier to live with knowing that I made it based on what I value.