5 Powerful Habits for Better Decision Making
Good decisions can mend or break your life. It sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it?
But that’s the reality.
As Jodi Picoult quotes in Change of Heart, In the space between yes and no, there is a lifetime. It’s the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; it’s the gap between who you thought you could be and who you really are; it’s the legroom for the lies you will tell yourself in the future.
Knowing how to make good decisions isn’t an innate habit. We work towards improving them every single day. And, when we talk about decision-making, we aren’t talking about deciding the fate of your company or the status of your relationship only.
- Decision-making focuses on more minor and more trivial activities in your life too. What would you eat for breakfast?
- What would you wear for the meeting you are presenting at?
- Should you invest your money in this particular stock?
The choices are endless, and that’s where your decision-making skills come into play. But, as we said, no one is born with these skills. We develop them along the way by harboring productive and effective habits.
5 Powerful Habits for Better Decision Making
Despite your constant dilemma, the good news is that every person can be a good decision-maker. However, you need to work towards it, and adopting the following five habits can help.
Tackle your Overconfidence
We can never reach a stage where we can say, I know everything, and I have nothing more left to learn. ― Pooja Agnihotri.
Taking inspiration from this above quote from 17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail: Unscrew Yourself from Business Failure, author Pooja Agnihotri highlights how overconfidence can easily make things go awry.
Even studies highlight that individuals who overestimate their capabilities are more likely to go downhill because of their decisions.
Good decision-makers know the fine line between being confident in their capabilities and being overconfident and overestimating their capabilities.
You need to focus on the former habit and integrate that into your life. Overconfidence makes people overestimate their capabilities, especially when it comes to time management.
Remember the project that you overestimated to finish within 30 minutes? That is probably a 2-hour project. When you overestimate, you fail to manage your time, accordingly, leading to poor overall results.
Good decision-making requires constant adjustments of your thoughts to emulate your decisions.
Think about your Problems Differently
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. — Leo Tolstoy.
Sometimes, how we perceive a situation affects how we make our decisions.
Let us give you a simple example.
You have been diagnosed with a severe disease that requires surgery immediately. Since the condition is the last stage, the risks associated with the surgery are comparably higher.
You meet with two surgeons for the procedure to analyze your best choice and then decide who you want to do the surgery.
The first surgeon says this procedure has a 90% success rate.
The second surgeon says this procedure has a 10% failure rate, meaning that there’s a 10% chance you could die.
- Which surgeon would you choose?
- When you reason, the first surgeon seems like a more favorable choice, don’t they?
This is primarily because they framed their sentence and made you think about the procedure. They gave you hope, which made it easier for you to decide.
Similarly, you need to practice thinking differently in every other phase of life. A good habit is to take your time, process the information, and then decide. Making hasty decisions can either lead to a disaster or provide a short-term solution.
Say Goodbye to Overthinking
To think too much is a disease. ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Overthinking is a buzzkill and a habit that we’d never recommend fostering. Would you be surprised if we said that overthinking a problem is a problem itself?
A tongue twister, nonetheless, it is true.
Decision-making requires you to put a lot of thought and time into it. However, that’s where you should draw a line.
It is okay to think about the issue to make a more informed decision, but the moment you start overthinking is when the confusion starts. When you overthink a problem, you are more likely to complicate things.
There’s no point putting your brain into overdrive, especially if you have to make a life-altering decision. When you feel like you are overthinking the decision, distance your thoughts, go to sleep, and wake up the next day with a fresh mind.
Relax and then ponder the good impacts and the bad repercussions of your decision. Deciding in a calm setting allows you to think more rationally and make better decisions.
Reflect on your Mistakes
We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience. ― John Dewey.
Our life is a constant string of mistakes and learning from them.
Remember how you decided not to take your umbrella out with you even though the sky was cloudy? Yeah, you’d remember this as a mistake the next time you are faced with a similar decision.
Learning from your mistakes is a habit everyone should foster in their lives. Nothing teaches you better than your own mistakes. When you take some time out of the day to review your choices and pinpoint which decisions were a mistake, you are more likely training your mind not to do them in the future.
You learn from them; you grow with them.
However, there is also a fine line between learning from your mistakes and dwelling on them. Don’t get twisted into the latter.
Don’t get into an overdrive of thoughts, spending hours of your day pondering on that one mistake that you made accidentally. Instead, take the crucial learning out of those poor decisions, find what you did wrong and then commit to making better decisions in the future.
Talk to yourself as a friend
Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. — Christopher Germer.
When in a difficult position of decision-making, we often consider reaching out to a friend, mentor, or even family for their input.
Our thoughts are constantly swarmed with phrases like, what would I do if it were someone else in this similar situation?
While exchanging ideas and insights with friends and family is a good idea, the last veto of the decision is in your hands. Getting other people’s two cents on a situation will not give you the accuracy that you need for your decision.
Instead, you need to emulate their thoughts and form your own opinion or objective on the situation. When you think of yourself as your friend, you are more likely to reduce the degree of negative self-talk.
Instead of I don’t think I am cut out for this job, you might replace it with I think I can do it even when the situations are challenging.
Practicing a kinder inner dialogue is a habit that fosters better decision-making skills in the future.
These are the top 5 habits adopting, which can make you a better decision-maker. Remember that becoming good at making decisions takes time. It is a work in progress, and you are bound to make several mistakes along the way. And, that’s fine.
Instead of accepting defeat and beating yourself up, your attitude towards those mistakes shapes you as a better person.
If you feel lost in the moment, be assured that it’s more than usual. Our lives can never have a consistent upward spike. We are bound to face issues that make us question our capabilities.
Talking to a certified leadership coach can help you distinguish those negative and positive thoughts. Getting proper support enables you to understand what you are missing and what you need to do to become a better decision-maker in life.
ICF-certified Life-leadership Coach Dr. Paras specializes in just that. His support and coaching have helped hundreds and thousands of individuals re-track their life and achieve to the best of their potential.