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make tough decisions easier on yourself

Today is the day that those living in Scotland vote on whether to become an independent country or remain within the United Kingdom. The Kingdoms united back in 1603 and since then, there have been several revisits of this tough decision.

How do you decide? Yes or No. There’s no Maybe.

OK, so I’m not about to get all political on you in this b-mail. The compelling and passionate speakers on both sides of this vote have enough airtime without me lending them this page. All I would say is, if you can, please vote.

Instead, I want to look at how you can make tough decisions easier. Lots have been said about various processes from “pros and cons” lists to fancy algorithms in web based solution finders (see this one.) I’ve also talked about balancing the head, heart and hands of decision making in an earlier b-mail. (Missed it? Read it here.) I want to look at how you can go easier on yourself, whilst making important or sticky decisions.

Get Ready

Mediate. Ponder. Daydream. Focus. Whatever your personal preference, take a moment to consider the emotional and physical impact of your decision and the process you are going through. Answer these questions:

  1. What are my energy levels doing?
  2. What is my mood like?
  3. What is my general health right now?
  4. What would I like them to be to support me?

Take out your diary and now add 2 or 3 quick and simple things you can do each day to ensure you attain the right energy, mood and health.

For example, a walk round the park, a chia pudding treat or a chat with a mate could all perk you up in less than 15 mins. Quicker? Take a multi-vitamin, practice a little mindfulness on your commute, fill a post-it with gratitude items.

Must know more!

Before you hit the overwhelm button or divert to procrastination city, STOP!

Gathering lots of data, facts, opinions, reviews and the like can be really beneficial in making decisions. Yet, this gathering mentality can also be a great avoidance tactic. Striving to be a giant computer taking in as much data and the like, followed by some complex analysis – both lead to overwhelm and procrastination.

Try stepping back and imagine it’s your friend taking this decision. What are the 3 major influencers and 3 main impacts on or of the decision? Ok, so now what would you advise them to consider and what to put to one side. You’ve cleared the overwhelm and now have the key areas to concentrate on.

Pick your time and place

Very few decisions are about life and death, needing to be made within minutes. Very few deadlines are rock solid, unable to be move or flexed.

Make the decision are your pace, when you’re ready. If you wake at 4am knowing the right way to go, keep the faith at 8am that it’s right and move forward. Likewise, if you need to be outdoors with the wind in your hair to be able to tune into making the decision, do it rather than forcing yourself to sit in a stiff meeting room.

And breathe….

Yes, one of my favourite things. Open your chest by gently pulling your shoulders back and down, extending your collar bones and breathe in to the base of your rib cage.

Drawing oxygen into your body and brain replenishes your reserves and helps expel stall air on the exhale. It relaxes your muscles, slows your heart rate and eases your mind away from stress and threat to calm – meaning your prefrontal cortex (the bit of the brain behind your forehead for complex thinking) can now begin its work.

You’re human. It is completely ok that important, tough decisions require significant efforts to ensure the right outcomes for you and yours. Make tough decisions easier by going easy on yourself and accept you’re reacting in a totally human, natural way. You have every capacity to make the right decision.

So tell me, what are you doing to go easy on yourself when faced with tough decisions? What works for you and what is blocking you?

(Feeling really blocked? Book a Skype, FaceTime or coffee coaching session and together, we can make it easier. Drop me a line.)

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