4 Smart Strategies for Making Big Decisions in Life


Our entire lives are centered around making decisions, whether we think about it at the time or not. Every day, we make a series of simple choices that don’t usually cause us much stress, such as what time to wake up, what to wear to work, what to get for lunch, or what TV show to watch after dinner. However, bigger decisions, which might have the potential to completely change our lives or have an impact on those closest to use, can often become a source of anxiety.

Whether you know that you’re going to have a big decision coming up soon or just want to make sure that you’re prepared for whenever you do, here are some strategies to use the next time you feel unsure and overwhelmed regarding what to choose.

Follow Your Gut

Feeling stuck or indecisive often means that you are disconnected from yourself.

If you’re trying to make a big decision and all you can think is ‘I don’t know’, take some time to listen to what your gut is telling you. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and consider your intuition. It can help to think about each choice that you have and notice how your body responds when you think about it. If you feel tense or feel a pit in your stomach, the answer is ‘no’.

On the other hand, if you feel a little excited and flustered, and maybe a little nervous, the answer is usually ‘yes’ even though you might be feeling a little pushed out of your comfort zone.

Use the 24-Hour Rule

When you’ve got a big decision to make, it’s not unusual to find yourself obsessing over it.

After all, your choice is likely going to have a big impact on your own life or the lives of those closest to you. You might find yourself talking about your choices to everybody who will listen and asking for as much advice as you can get, but ultimately, the only person who gets to decide what happens is you.

If you’re truly struggling to come to a conclusion, give yourself twenty-four hours to do anything else but think about the issue and give yourself some space away from it.

When you come back to it, you might notice that you have a clearer view of what you want.

Sleep on It

‘Sleep on it’ is actually rather sound advice.

If you’re struggling to make a decision, don’t make it while you’re feeling tired, because a lack of sleep can actually have an effect on how your brain functions.

In fact, the best time to decide which choice you’re going to make is in the morning, after a long sleep has left you feeling refreshed, and before any of the day’s stresses have started to take a toll on you.

Sleep plays a vital role in decision-making, and how much sleep you’ve had can directly impact how you feel about each choice – for example, if you’re given two options of either relaxing on the beach or going hiking, how tired or energized you are will affect which one you choose, and the same can be applied to bigger decisions in life. So, sleep on it!

Make a List

Finally, lists are good visual aids that can make it easier for some people to make more informed decisions.

Making a list of the pros and cons of each choice can help you get your thoughts out on paper, which is ideal if you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed. As you write your list, you might find reasons that there are more pros or cons to a certain choice than you realized before you started.

When it comes to making big life decisions, everybody feels stumped sometimes. Keep these strategies in mind next time you’re faced with a huge choice to make.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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