We all know this dilemma: We have to make an important decision, but that seems somehow impossible and will soon lead to an eternal back and forth.
Should I accept the new job offer or should I rather stay with my previous job?
Should I dare to move to a larger apartment in the country, or will it soon get too dull for me?
My relationship has long ceased to be what it used to be – should I stay and work on it, or should I end the relationship better?
Nobody is free from difficult decisions!
Such difficult decisions are good or bad part of life, and they can be a big challenge for us. If you are struggling with a difficult decision at the moment, I would like to introduce you to the best tips, techniques & methods in this article that will help you to make a clear decision, which you will not regret afterwards!
When and why we find it difficult to make decisions
To be able to make decisions easier & faster, it is of great help to understand a little better in advance what the reasons & causes are, which is why some decisions are particularly steep for us.
This more profound understanding of the mental mechanisms that are in progress in our subconscious when we are faced with an essential/difficult decision serves as a later basis for making a decision more quickly and then implementing it more consistently.
3 leading causes make it difficult for us to make a clear decision.
Cause 1: The fear of regret
Since we (unfortunately) cannot look into the future, the mental scenario creates that once we have made a decision and taken a path, we will eventually find that it was the wrong path for us, a debilitating fear of the judgment.
Cause 2: The fear of change
The most difficult decisions are usually those where we know that they will bring about (healthy) changes in our lives. This would mean that we have to leave our comfort zone, and we humans are terrified of it!
Cause 3: The fear of loss
It is not uncommon for a decision to mean something and, at the same time, a decision for something else. Combined with the fear of subsequent repentance, we are afraid of losing something valuable/good/comfortable in our life when making these decisions!
Before we come to the 5 specific tips, techniques & methods that will make it easier for you to make a decision, you should now ask yourself which of these 3 causes are related to you, and your current situation or decision holds true?
5 methods and techniques for easier decision making
So that we can make decisions faster and easier in the future, it is advisable to familiarize ourselves with some plans and procedures that can help us make our decisions. In the following, I have put together the 5 best of these methods and techniques for you, and with their help, you can quickly and easily make a difficult decision much more comfortable.
1. The 4 W question technique
The 4W question technique helps us make better decisions by going through question by question and analyzing the background of our hesitation. It is best to write down the questions on a piece of paper and then answer them in writing. With a little practice & time, you will have internalized the 4-question technique and will be able to use this technique “on the go” to make quicker and easier decisions in the future.
- W-Question: What is holding me back?
In this first step, simply write down all the things that are currently preventing you from making a clear decision. So you will see precisely what and how many reasons there are against a decision.
- W-Question: What am I afraid of?
Fears are there to be looked at! This is the first step to face them and overcome them. This also applies to the process of your decision making!
- W-question: What could happen at worst?
With this question, it is crucial to be aware of the worst-case scenario of your possible decision (s) that we help you to overcome the fear, which can often appear much more reliable than the decision itself.
- W-question: What would happen if I didn’t do anything?
Finally, try to imagine and understand what would happen if you did not decide in this situation. This may open up new opportunities & perspectives, OR you will be motivated to act now.
2. The ORDER technique
With this technique, we will use the word “ORDER” as an aid to make better and easier decisions. Each letter represents a step that you have to take on the way to making the right decision.
O – Options
Be clear about all of the options you have concerning your decision.
R – Risks and Benefits
Become aware of the possible risks and benefits of your eventual decision (s), which should serve as a kind of mental pros and cons list.
D – Make a decision
Make a clear decision – in particular, commit yourself internally and do not try to revise it immediately.
E – Execution
Make the decision NOW too! Often the action itself is not the problem, but the eternal delay and weighing the “perfect” decision.
R – Review
Now try again to get an overview of the entire decision-making process. This will give you even more security, clarity and, in particular, a positive confirmation so that you can decide even faster & easier next time.
NOTE: Even with this technique for easier decision making, it is highly recommended (just like the other 4 methods) to write the whole thing down with a pen & a piece of paper. This process often fosters or accelerates decision-making enormously.
3. Make decisions with the help of a mind map
This technique is almost something of a classic! With the help of the mind map, also called mind card or memory card, you can get a more precise overview of your thoughts & fears. And this deeper self-reflection then helps you enormously in making a decision. All you need is a sheet of paper and a pen. Alternatively, you can also use an app/software.
How to create a mind map for faster decision making:
First, write down the crucial question or problem in the middle of the paper and circle the whole thing.
Now draw so-called main branches that lead away from the central question. These are intended to represent the various decision options.
Label each of these branches with a possible decision. Try to make this as specific as possible.
Two additional side branches now lead away from the main branches, which you label on both sides with the positive or negative consequences of this decision.
Now add further branches to the positive and negative side branches, each with positive or negative consequences, until you can’t think of any more.
When you have put all your thoughts on paper, and your mind map is ready, you will not only have a better overview of your decision-making process, but you will also have a visual tool that shows you the possible consequences of a decision at a glance. And that will usually make it easier for you to make your decision finally!
4. The 10-10-10 method to make the right decisions
Business journalist, coach, and writer Suzy Welch developed the 10-10-10 method to be aware of the potential impact our decisions could have over three future periods, thereby determining its scope and importance. With this decision technique, your entire imagination is used!
To use this method as best as possible, first, gather all the essential information related to your decision. The more precisely you know which factors could be necessary for the decision, the better or more precise, the result of this method will be.
As soon as you are clear about it, the actual 3 questions of the 10-10-10 method begin:
- What impact will my decision have in 10 minutes?
- What impact will my decision have in 10 months?
- What impact will my decision have in 10 years?
The first thing to do is to determine what immediate consequences (if any) our decision could have. Our gut feeling plays a crucial role in this question since it can give you an indication of whether it is more of a short-term effect or whether the whole thing could have long-term consequences?
This period should show you what effects your decision could have in the medium term. This can be particularly important if the decision involves more extensive planning and problem-solving. Imagine what you can achieve or implement in just under a year – such as further training, education, projects …
When we look back on our life at some point, we want to regret as little as possible – so when making difficult decisions, it is essential to reflect on what is important to us in the long term and what we will benefit from in the long run. Therefore ask yourself: Does this decision have a far-reaching impact on my future life, and if so, how does THIS FEEL FOR ME?
This technique is especially significant when you want to go fast!
From my experience, I can say that the 10-10-10 technique is a great tool that I like to use very often and often to make decisions faster and easier. The great thing about it is its simplicity and speed! Just try this technique, and you will very soon find yourself using it automatically in the next best situation.
5. Make decisions using a pro and contra list.
The real classic decision-making tool! The pros and cons list is a great way to take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of a decision and to be clear about which choice is the right / better one.
How to create a pro-and-contra list quickly and easily:
To compile the list, it is best to write down the central question that needs to be decided as the title in the top middle of a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line underneath. You can now set the ” Pro ” on the left and the ” Con ” on the right. Now list in the respective columns everything you can think of as an advantage (Pro) or a disadvantage (Contra) of your decision.
You will notice it quickly if one or the other side fills up faster and more. As soon as you have entered everything, you will see more clearly what the advantages and disadvantages of the decision are. It can help to go through the list again the next day to check with a “fresh” perspective, and a clear mind whether the several reasons still apply or maybe something should be revised / less weighted.
Helpful tips and signposts at the end
OK, and they were already. The 5 best methods & techniques to make a clear decision faster & easier. No matter which of these 5 methods and techniques you try now, you are guaranteed to find a solution more quickly and can, therefore, make your decision faster.
Do not be afraid of the wrong decisions!
But at the same time, please make yourself aware that we all, and I really mean ALL, make wrong decisions in our lives! Wrong decisions always give us the chance to develop further and learn something new and valuable when we are ready to accept the lesson.
Therefore, wrong decisions are sometimes even necessary to learn to make better decisions in the future. It is also essential that you learn to forgive yourself if you make a “wrong” or not the best decision. The whole thing is only as tragic as you do in your mind. Believe it or not: You alone control your thoughts!
Weigh your decision as best as possible, do your best, and you will have nothing to regret!
So if you do your best in your decision-making process and use one or maybe even more of the techniques presented here, you won’t be able to blame yourself afterwards, and that’s ultimately the most important thing!
Use your potential!