Should I get a part-time job? Should I go to the gym this morning, or just skip it and have pizza for lunch? Well, since I have a test tomorrow, maybe I should go to the library. But it looks way too nice outside to stay indoors. Should I start looking into graduate schools? Ugh! Decisions, decisions, decisions…
If you’re anything like me, then this is a typical day in your life. Let’s face it – every day we encounter choices in our lives. From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep, we’ve already made hundreds of decisions throughout the day. Some are conscious and intentional, like choosing outfits, deciding what to eat and when to walk the dog. Other decisions are made subconsciously and automatic, much like how our brain solves problems and processes memories from the day during our sleep and dream cycles. It’s amazing how these decisions, big or small, ripple through time and affect our lives.
Especially for college students and busy young professionals, it’s easy to get carried away with choices and mull over whether you’ve made the right decision or not. Somewhere between job offers, graduate school applications, girlfriends and boyfriends, there will come a time where maturity comes into play and you must make a decision in order to better yourself and your future. I’m here to help you not only make better decisions, but also to elaborate on how to control external factors that may negatively sway you to second guess yourself and diminish your confidence. Every young adult should practice better decision-making skills. This translates directly into how you view your own quality of life and self-worth. When making a tough decision, start with the following:
- What is the purpose? Ask yourself why you feel compelled to make this decision. What is your motivation? Will this decision further my goals? Write it down and outline the problem. Even a pros and cons list can do wonders for visualizing options.
- Be independent. It’s great to gather information from other sources and experiences. But it’s vital to understand that only you are responsible for your own happiness. Don’t let others’ personal experiences shape your own.
- Don’t delay. Even if you think you are a master procrastinator, like myself, delaying your decision means you have more time to dwell on the “what ifs.” That will sway your true desire. Set a deadline and stick to it.
- Drop your ego and emotions. Remove yourself from the situation and address it objectively. Imagine you are helping a best friend, how would you help them decide? Don’t make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion.
- Decide, don’t problem solve. Understand that decisions solve problems, but not every problem is solved by making a decision. What is your gut instinct telling you?
- Commit. Overcome decision fatigue and let your willpower take hold. Saying yes is just as important as saying no. Whatever you choose, stick to it. Smile. Breathe. Let go, and move on.
There are many things in this world we have no control over. But the secret of being human, and thus our most sacred power, is having the power to choose. Use it wisely and confidently, and be proud of your growth along the way.