12 Steps to Making a Wise Decision (Inspirational Reads Chapter 4)

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by having to make decisions? Not even so much a single decision in particular, but the very act of decision making itself.

I wrote about some of this before in What is Decision Fatigue Really Telling You, which you may find to be a helpful read.

If you are facing the reality of having to make decisions, here are the 12 steps I follow when facing a decision.


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1. If you are the decision maker in your family, recognize that this is your role

Oftentimes there is one partner in a relationship who has an easier time making decisions while the other more typically just throws their hands in the air when a decision comes their way. I am the decision maker in the family. I know this. I accept this. Doing so automatically makes it less overwhelming for me.

2. Pause first

Whenever a decision needs to be made, pause first. Don’t rush into anything unless it is absolutely necessary. Our initial reaction often differs from the decision we would make after just a little time has passed.

3. Don’t overcomplicate things

This is something that I think certain personalities are more prone to doing than others. The perfectionist in me tends to overcomplicate and overthink things. I know this about myself, and because of this I know that I need to break things down into smaller parts right off the bat so I can move forward.

4. Move forward

Almost immediately after the initial pause, I need to start moving forward, even if just to take a baby step. This keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

5. Brainstorm a couple of options if the decision goes one way as well as a couple of options if the decision goes the other way

Limiting myself to only a few options on each side greatly helps avoid overthinking things. Purposefully visiting both sides of the equation, even if I am leaning heavily toward one side over the other keeps me from feeling regret or as though I chose the wrong option. Visiting both sides ahead of time removes that feeling that I’ve chosen wrong.

6. Brainstorm the outcomes, both positive and negative, of both sides in the above step

This is just part of being thorough in the decision making process. While it is nice to avoid thinking about outcomes at times, the outcomes need to be carefully weighed in order to make a good decision.

7. Brainstorm both of the above steps on paper

It is amazing how things in our head can look totally different than how they look on paper. I cannot tell you the numbers of times that I have changed my mind after looking at both sides on paper.

8. If you don’t like any of the options, ask which one would make it harder to live with yourself after the fact

Sometimes it really is a matter of choosing between the lesser of two evils so to speak. If none of your options seem to be good ones, asking this question can make the best decision as clear as day.

9. Ask which decision will be the best decision in the future

Ask yourself about the outcomes of the decision in one month, in three months, in six months, and in a year. How does answering these questions affect your decision?

10. Consult the manual

If you are a Christian, carefully weigh your decision seeking the wisdom of the Bible. Truth is truth. The Bible really does make things pretty clear as long as you are seeing the truth there as truth and not tainting it to fit your own agenda.

11. Cover your decision in prayer

Before going any further, cover your options and your decision processes in prayer. As a Christian, this is a vital step as well.

12. Move forward in confidence

If you’ve done your due diligence in walking through the above steps, you can move forward in confidence.

When facing decisions I initially long for the days of being a kid again when life was just simple. But reality is that in the adult world, decisions often need to be made.

However, decisions don’t have to overwhelm you, and you can make a decision that is deeply rooted in wisdom and discernment. Follow these 12 steps the next time you find yourself face to face with having to make a decision.

One of my favorite quotes from chapter four is this:

“That daily stuff – those responsibilities that seem more like distractions – those things we want to rush and just get through to get on with the better and bigger assignments of life – those things that are unnoticed places of service? Those are the very experiences from which we unlock the riches of wisdom. We’ve got to practice wisdom in the everyday places of our lives.”

Yes. Practicing making decisions with wisdom and discernment is what we as women need to be doing.

The thoughts shared in this post were inspired by chapter one in The Best Yes. This is a book that were are reading together as a community beginning February 22nd, 2016. We are reading just three chapters a week in this book.

inspirational reads

Even if you are not reading along with us this time, you can still pick up your own copy and gain the wisdom you need in making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands.

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

Here is a bit more about our book club…

This book club is a way of encouraging others to carve out the time to read at a pace of just three chapters a week because I’ve learned that finding time to read never just happens on its own.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday there will be blog posts here with Monday’s Inspirational Reads somewhere in the title with my reaction to each of the three chapters for the week, and then on Thursday evening at 9 pm EST we will be on Periscope discussing the chapters in an interactive format. You can find everything you need to know about Periscope by reading The Periscope Lowdown.

All you have to do is grab your book above, and you’re good to go! We’d love to have you join it, otherwise, grab your own copy and read any of the posts with Monday’s Inspirational Reads in the title and you can join in on your own time!


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