Whether it’s moving to a different country, starting a new career in a completely different field, or even something tiny like how to compose that text to a friend or which movie to see, decisions big or small can wear you out before you even have a chance.
1. What would you tell a close friend in your situation?
Sometimes framing the choice outside of yourself can give you the perspective you need. You also might be one of those incredibly selfless people that is eager to help others without realizing you need it yourself.
2. How do your values, priorities, and life goals fit into this decision?
The things that are most important to you should dictate even the smallest of plans if they’re somehow related.
3. Are you more of a trust-your-gut type or a classic over-thinker?
Gut feelings shouldn’t be ignored. They’re usually telling you something important even if you don’t exactly know how they got there. However, it’s also wise to think things through in a logical way. Give yourself room to brainstorm and weigh your options. Take a long walk to stimulate those brain cells. At the same time, too much thinking can lead to a downward spiral of portioning out pros and cons until your eyes are crossed. Knowing yourself and where you fall on this spectrum is essential.
4. Have you talked about it?
Ask people, but ask the right people. Whether you ask friends or family members you trust with a sensitive subject, or people who are particularly knowledgeable about the choice you’re making, asking for advice may seem obvious but is no less important.
5. What’s the worst that could happen?
Are you afraid of failure? What does that look like in this situation? Avoid black-and-white thinking. If A, then everything will fall apart. If B, then everything will be perfect. Life does not work that way. Things tend to fall toward the middle.
6. How much control do you think you have?
You might not have as much as you think, and that can be a huge relief. If you’re stressing over a decision, you might be thinking your impact is larger than it really is. It’s comforting to know there are people around, that you’re no better or worse than any of them.
7. Are you waiting for perfection or selling yourself short?
Once again, it’s about knowing yourself well enough to know your default. If you’re unsure, ask people who know you well.
8. How much are past challenges or traumas affecting your reasoning?
Smokey the Bear says only you can prevent forest fires, but he also (unofficially) says only you know how much your past experiences should influence your current decisions and future self. Don’t let the fear of excruciating memories dictate your potential. Man, that’s one thoughtful bear.
Give yourself a break. Stepping away from the decision and being kind to yourself certainly won’t hurt. If for some reason things don’t pan out like you thought, shake it off and try something else. But who knows, they just might.