Improve your decision-making skills: Follow these 7 effective tips

Our choices make us who we are. Hence, knowing how to make good decisions is key to living your best life.
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Every day we make choices that can change the course of our lives. Some of these decisions aren’t easy but we are able to take them after some thought. And at other times, we feel stuck because we are unsure which move is the right one. One wrong choice and the tide can turn against us and our life as we know it will never be the same.

It could be something as simple as deciding what to wear for an interview, which movie to watch or something life-changing like a career shift or the decision to be in a relationship. Our choices make us who we are. Hence, knowing how to make good decisions is key to living your best life. Like author and journalist Germany Kent once said, “Life is about choices. The better you become at making good choices the better your life will be.”

Unfortunately, not everyone has the confidence that allows them to make the right decisions at the right time. Sometimes we make decisions in a rush or under stress, particularly when we are faced with some kind of a crisis.

But there are a few ways to stay calm and make correct decisions in those situations. These decision-making skills can be developed with time and experience. Here, we have listed a few suggestions that can help improve one’s decision-making ability.

Learn from experience

They say experience is the best teacher in life. The more learnings you gain along the way, the more you grow as an individual. So when making a choice, take lessons from the past and use them to improve your decision-making ability.

Previous decisions that you have made can be helpful when you are about to make a similar one. If your past decision hadn’t yielded the result you expected, you can analyse and use a fresh approach towards your goal this time around. Remember to always give equal attention to the decisions that worked out and the ones that didn’t. Doing so will improve your decision-making ability immensely because failures also give great insight.

Align your decision with goals

Decision making should first and foremost impact your goals in a positive way. So think hard and see if the choices that you are making are in line with your objectives or not.

For instance, if you aim to play professional football, actively participating in other sports will not help in your mission. At the same time, you need to think about your physical fitness. So when you are deciding on how to divide your time, think about how to include some physical activities in your plan. Going to the gym will be a better hobby than playing chess in such a scenario.

Do not be overconfident

Noble prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman once said, “What would I eliminate if I had a magic wand? Overconfidence.”

When you are about to make a decision, chances are you will have second thoughts – whether you are right or wrong, if the decision will benefit or harm? Truth is you can never be as certain as you’d like to be. The best thing to do here is to test the decision before you finalise. Consider all other alternatives before zeroing on the one that you deem is right.

Gather information, weigh your options

Clear and informed decision making requires you to put in the hard work. That means you need to find out everything you can before you decide something. Do your research, analyse and evaluate the potential risks and benefits. You can even make a list of all the positive and negative points. If the risks outweigh the rewards, try a different approach to reaching a decision.

Figure out if you have other options that align with your goals. Putting in the time and effort to inform yourself about your impending decision can prove to be the difference between the outcome you were hoping for and what you actually end up getting.

Consider the consequences

Often people don’t think about the consequences before making a decision. Ironic as it may seem, many go into a decision blindly hoping everything will be alright. But that’s now how things work. For instance, if you want to buy a house by taking a loan, you cannot ignore the monthly EMIs that will make a dent in your monthly income. Not taking this into account will put you in a lot of trouble. Therefore, consider all steps and possibilities before making a decision.

Limit your choices

Another effective way to improve your decision-making ability is to limit the number of choices you have. If you have more choices, you’ll have a tough time figuring out which is the right one. Moreover, when you narrow down your options, you’ll have less confusion and more time to think critically about each one, enabling you to make an informed decision finally.

Take yourself out of the situation

Humans are emotional beings. No wonder marketers use emotions to influence our buying decisions. Interestingly, people end up buying stuff they don’t even need. This is a great reason why decision making should be done when one’s emotions are in control.

Deciding something when you are overwhelmed is mostly not a good idea. A simple technique that can help you in this regard – imagine that it isn’t you who is in the situation. It is your best friend you are advising instead. Now you will be able to make the right decision for your friend as it will be thorough, objective and goal-oriented, not emotional.

These are some simple yet effective ways to ace decision making in everyday life that you can implement from today itself.

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