Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to make decisions

Life decisions can be really hard to make. We get so scared of making the “wrong” decision that we can end up treading water and wasting so much time. What is it you are scared of? What fear is holding you back from making a decision and moving forward in your life? You might not always make the best decision, but a decision and a plan of action is better than standing still. Generally no decision is perfect, but that’s part of life. It’s how we grow and gain life experience which will help us make a better decision next time.

Here’s some step I often use to make big decisions.

1.) Write out a pros and cons list. Be realistic though. Often with a pros and cons list we are “nicer” to the decision we want and “harder” on the decision we don’t want. Making this list with a friend can often be better, as they can have a more objective view.
2.) Work out the cost of things. For example, I want to switch from the 4WD to a Toyota, my husband did not. He loves the big 4WD. So I sat down and worked out exactly how much that car will cost us over the next 5yrs versus getting a *loan on the Toyota I want. Even after interest we would save a minimum of $25,000. *I know I am in debt already and really if we sold the 4WD and used our tax returns we would not need a loan, so it would be over $30,000 we saved, but it was just easier to work out this way.
3.) Set a time limit for when the decision needs to be made. For example we have been trying to decide if we should move back into our house or not. Ultimately we decided that if the house had not sold in the 3 months it was to be on the market, we would move back in. There’s 11 days left of that, we are pretty much preparing to move. It is good to finally have a definite plan of action, even if it’s not the one I initially wanted.
4.) Research, but within reason. Some people have a tendency to over research and end up going in circles. Find out what it is you need to know to make your decision and stop looking. On the other hand some people do not research enough (I have fallen into that category more than the too much research one! Lol) This can end up costing you dearly.
5.) Go with your initial gut feelings. They are usually right. The car we bought in May I did not want. I did not want to take it for a test drive and I was walking away from it to have nothing to do with it again. Someone else was adamant it would be great. Well, it has been a nightmare, but a good learning experience and thankfully not one where we lost money.
6.) Discuss it with someone you trust. This can be really helpful for many people. Be careful with it though, as you want someone you can trust who won’t judge, will listen and who gives good advice if it is needed, but not without being asked. Those people are usually hard to find.
7.) Of course you could always flip a coin or play the yes no game on your eraser (if you don’t know what I mean, in primary school, you’d write yes and no on the different sides of your eraser, toss it in the air and whichever way it landed that was your decision!) or get a magic 8 ball and ask it!

Ultimately the decision is yours. You need to trust yourself and realise that even if the decision you end up making is not perfect, you will still learn something from it. Plus you will never know if you don’t take the chance, make the decision and go for it.

Remember, once you make the decision, do it with your whole body/mind. Not just half heartedly. You made the decision and it will only work best if you put your whole self to it!

Good luck with any decisions you have to make.


  1. Following you back from the green blog hop. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am now following you too :)

  3. excellent advice and quite helpful as we are wrestling with the choice of getting rid of our van and upgrading. I think i will work on my pros and cons list.

  4. New follower from Tuesday Tag Along! Hopefully you can visit us and follow back as well!

  5. Following you back! Thanks for visiting our blog!

  6. Hi, I followed your tips and received my first free samples in the mail today, yay pretty exciting lol, I've still got some more to come. What's happened to your blog, there seems to be this huge white space at the top, and you have to scroll down heaps to get to your latest posts, is this happening to others, or just me?

  7. Thanks Kisartle, good luck with your decision

    That's great Kaye! I'm not having that problem when I log on but I'll check with others. Thanks for letting me know. I haven't changed anything lately though.

  8. Cool, it seems to have come right all of a sudden, it was doing it for the last couple of days.

  9. Thanks for linking up with Meet Me Monday (sorry this is late). I hope to see you next Monday. I'm your newest follower.

    PS. I love your blog!

  10. Finally..I made it over from TTA. Thanks for the follow at 504 Main.

    I really like your list. I always make a pro/con list and then I really trust my gut too. I have a freind who cannot make a decision for her life...I am passing the list on!
    504 Main

  11. Amazing read. Interesting take on finances. This is a very important aspect of peoples' lives nowadays.

  12. Hi,

    I saw your post about how to make decisions a few days ago and I didn't expect myself to actually go into the archives of my blog to search for this specific article. :)

    Thank you, I feel much better now and I feel like making a big decision in my life wholeheartedly now.

  13. Thanks everyone.

    It's true Premium Finance, it is an often overlooked part of personal finance, but very important.

    Thanks Tim, I'm glad you liked it and found it useful.


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