Tips in Making the “Right” Decision Dr. Mazlan Abbas
Tip 1: Gather all of the Informa@on Many of us go with what “feels right” when making decisions; however, the outcome of important decisions should not depend solely on how you are feeling at that exact moment in =me, as feelings can change quite drama=cally from one day to the next. Before consul=ng your gut feeling, try to take into account all the important facts and assess the implica=ons of each outcome. Consider what the risks are with each outcome, who it will aﬀect and whether it is feasible. Looking back on past decisions – and par=cularly past mistakes – is also one of the best learning tools at your disposal and can help you to realise why certain decisions worked or were unsuccessful in the past.
Tip 2: Set Yourself a Deadline While weighing up your op=ons is an important part of the decision-‐making process, spending too much =me seeking out possible solu=ons and trying to pinpoint the “right” one can actually make the process more diﬃcult and stressful than it needs to be. While a certain period of =me should be alloIed for considering your op=ons, it can help to set a deadline for making your decision and s=ck to it. Decide what would be a realis=c amount of =me for making your decision and write the date down somewhere for your reference. Knowing with certainty that from this date onwards your decision will be made (whatever that decision may be) can actually be a weight oﬀ your mind.
Tip 3: Make a Pros and Cons List It’s the age-‐old technique for making decisions, but wri=ng down a list of the pros and cons of each of your op=ons is also one of the most eﬀec=ve ways to make a sensible and well thought out decision. Write down all your op=ons, then dedicate a separate sheet of paper to each. Draw a line down the centre of each sheet and write a list of all the pros (or beneﬁts) of the op=on down one side of the division and all the cons, or disadvantages, down the other. Rather than coun=ng up the number of pros and cons for each op=on, it is important to “weight” each point according to how signiﬁcant it is, grading each point on a scale of one to ﬁve, for example, in terms of importance.
Tip 4: Get a Second Opinion Going with your gut ins=nct oSen means that your decisions are highly swayed by emo=on, which may not lead to you doing the right thing. To beIer see the bigger picture, try to get a second opinion on what you should do from someone you trust and who does not have a vested interest in the outcome. Consul=ng an older person may also be beneﬁcial, as research results published in the journal Psychological Science indicate that while younger people are oSen mo=vated by immediate results, older adults are beIer at evalua=ng the delayed beneﬁts , as well as the immediate ones, when making decisions. Also, make sure that you are listening to what your chosen person is really saying and not forming an interpreta=on to ﬁt in with what you want.
Tip 5: Get in the Right Mindset If you’ve got a big decision to make, it’s important to try to increase your mental clarity and focus. To get yourself in the right frame of mind, make sure you are well rested before tackling your problem. Also, try snacking on natural yoghurt, which is rich in iodine and zinc, which can both help to boost mental clarity and brain func=on, and the probio=c bacteria Lactobacillus casei, which researchers from Toronto University found can decrease anxiety, helping to put you in a calmer frame of mind for decision-‐making. Studies have also found that regular medita=on can improve decision-‐making by helping you to use diﬀerent areas of your brain in the process.
Tip 6: Sleep On It Many of us have heard the advice to “sleep on it” when faced with an important decision, and research has found that catching some Zs could actually help you to make beIer choices. Research has shown that sleep can help us to organise memories and process informa=on so that we can actually make beIer decisions when we allow our unconscious to work on our problems. Furthermore, it’s not just sleep that works; daydreaming has similar results. Researchers at the University of Bri=sh Columbia found that when par=cipants’ minds wandered, the parts of their brain associated with problem-‐solving became more ac=ve than when focused on rou=ne tasks, allowing them to work through diﬃcult dilemmas.
Tip 7: Flip a Coin If your decision-‐making deadline is near and, aSer some serious delibera=on, you are no closer to making your decision, it may be =me to trust your gut ins=nct and go with what you really want. Not sure what that is? It’s =me to ﬂip a coin. While ﬂipping a coin may not seem like the most sensible way to make a big decision, the technique may be more eﬀec=ve than you think. While you do not have to go with the coin’s verdict, your response to the outcome will help you to realise how you really feel about each op=on and discover what it is you really want. Good luck!.