How to make a tough decision

Reader's Digest Editors

There’s more to good decision-making than merely going with your gut. When you know how to do it, the hard choices seem almost clear-cut.

The mind-body connection

You can’t make a good choice on a bad day. When you find yourself too anxious to analyze things, shift gears. Go for a run. Go to sleep. Resetting your body often opens your mind to a new perspective.

 

Puut you first

Think about who you are. As Roy E. Disney, nephew to Walt and the man often credited with revitalizing the family business, once said, “When your values are dear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Also a factor: how people close to you will be affected by the choice. Do not, however, use others as an excuse to head down the wrong path (for example, “I have to save for the kids’ university fund; therefore, I must accept this 80-hours-a-week job”).

 

Accept the unknown

It’s natural to want to figure out all the what-ifs before taking the plunge, but like calculating pi to 1,000 places in your head, it simply can’t be done. The sooner you accept that there will always be some degree of risk involved in your choice, the more confidence you will have in making it.

Don’t act impulsively, but also don’t wait so long that you can’t make the choice yourself.

 

Nothing is set in stone

Before you decide, give yourself permission to change your mind. Life is full of second chances. But don’t reverse course just because you encounter one or two obstacles. Transition and change require time and effort. Make a serious commitment to your choice.

 

Let the rest go

You’ve made up your mind, so stop dwelling on options you didn’t choose. Believing in your decision is critical to achieving success.