Step 1: Identify Your Goal
One of the most effective decision making strategies is to keep an eye on your goal. This simply means identifying the purpose of your decision by asking yourself what exactly is the problem that needs to be solved? And why does this problem need to be solved?
Figuring out what’s most important to you will help you make good decisions. When you know the reason why you have making a particular decision; it will better serve you in staying with it, and defending it.
Step 2: Gather Information for Weighing Your Options
When making good decisions it is best to gather necessary information that is directly related to the problem. Doing this will help you to better understand what needs to be done in solving the problem, and will also help to generate ideas for a possible solution.
When gathering information it is best to make a list of every possible alternative; even ones that may initially sound silly or seem unrealistic. Always seek the opinions of people that you trust or speak to experts and professionals, because it will help you to come up with a variety of solutions when weighing all your options for a final decision. You will want to gather as many resources as possible in order to make the best decision.
Step 3: Consider the Consequences
This step can be just as important as step one because it will help you determine how your final decision will impact yourself, and/or others involved. In this step, you will be asking yourself what is likely to be the results of your decision. How will it affect you now? And how will it affect your future?
This is an essential step because it allows you to review the pros and cons of the different options that you listed in the previous step. It is also important because you want to feel comfortable with all your options and the possible outcome of whichever one you choose.
Step 4: Make Your Decision
Now that you have identified your goal, gathered all necessary information, and weighed the consequences, it is time to make a choice and actually execute your final decision. Understanding that this step can cause some people a lot of anxiety is important because this is where you have to trust your instincts. Although you may still be slightly indecisive about your final decision, you have to take into account how this makes you feel. Ask yourself, does it feel right? And does this decision work best for you now, and in the future? When you answer those questions back, you should feel good about the result.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Decision
Once you have made your final decision and put it into action, it is necessary to evaluate the decision and the steps you have taken to ensure that it works. This final step is probably just as important as step one, if not more important, because it will help you to further develop your decision making skills for future problems. This step is also fundamental because it may require you to seek out new information and make some changes along the way.
Remember, this step requires some patience and it can also encourage perseverance. Why? Because it may take some time to see the final outcome. Recognizing that if the first decision is not working, you may have to go back to step two and choose another option. Always looking for and anticipating unexpected problems will help alleviate undue stress, if and when a problem occurs.
Although these five steps can help assist in simplifying the decision-making process, there are some common drawbacks that you must also take into account. Consider these:
► Misidentifying The Problem
Many times the problem will be obvious; but there may come a time when identifying the main problem is not that easy. When this issue arises, figuring out exactly what it is, and where you need to focus your efforts will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.
► Having a Single Source
When considering the consequences, you must be open to a broad choice of alternatives in order to find the best solution. This can become a problem if you rely solely on a single source of information because that one source may not b reliable, or may not be completely inline with the problem; thus altering your chances of making the best decision.
► Having Too Many Sources
Having a variety of sources is usually not a bad thing; but not in every situation. Collecting as much information as possible can be very helpful at arriving to a decision, but an overload of information can leave you confused and misguided, and prevents you from following your intuition. Remember, trusting your gut instincts is a major key to making good decisions.
► Overestimating the Outcome
When making a decision and putting your plan into action you should have taken care to weigh all your valid options. Making a decision based upon an outcome that may not be plausible will not help you solve the problem.
► Poor Timing
Time can be a futile friend. Sometimes it is good, and sometimes it is not. When making major decisions, it beneficial to take your time in order to make the best choice from your options. But understanding the timing process is crucial because sometimes it is best to delay a decision, and other times delaying a response can cause more problems. There are also times when making a quick decision is advantageous because it allows you more time to make necessary changes should problems arise