With life throwing so many choices and adventures our way, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do and how to do it. The truth is everything we do changes our lives in some way, whether it be a little or a lot. Of course, we don’t really consider washing our hair and taking out the garbage as “life-changing” events. However, what if you didn’t do those things at that moment? You might be doing other things that could have a greater impact on your life. I have come to know some valuable things about making life-changing decisions over the course of my life. Here are just a few that want to share with you.
Count Cost and Risk
Every choice comes with a cost and risk. We pay with our time, money, energy, and emotions. We risk getting hurt, losing something, and getting something we don’t want. It’s important that we think through all of the above for, at least, the larger decisions such as whether we should get married, have a baby, or change careers.
We do need to look at things from the other side, as well. This “thinking through” isn’t meant to keep us from enjoying life. We do still need to move forward and not get stifled or stuck in a place because we are afraid. Doing so can have equally devastating consequences. Simply be mindful of the risks that are presented, and move at the pace you are comfortable with.
Use Your Imagination
If you consider some of the biggest decisions you make in life, allow yourself to imagine what could happen either way. What positive, wonderful things come from each choice? What disasters could happen? It’s likely that we all can see a little of both scenarios. We just have to decide what’s worth the cost and risk and what’s not.
Keep this one in check, though. Don’t let yourself go down dark paths of destruction or fantastical, unrealistic dreams that don’t make any sense. Be grounded in your unique perspective and balance imagination with facts and experience.
Understand Not All Mistakes Can Be Fixed
When we make poor choices because we didn’t think things through or understand the risk, our lives can shift quickly. Consider the young teen girl who has sex without thinking about the risk of STI or pregnancy. She may find herself sick or suddenly carrying a child she isn’t ready to have. Even if she decides to head to an abortion clinic, the first mistake may lead to another one. Like I said earlier, each choice has a cost and risk. Which brings me to my next tip…
Ask For Help
When faced with tough choices, we sometimes need a little help. Asking trusted friends and family for their thoughts and advice may just be the thing that helps us to solidify a choice. After all, the experience and knowledge of others are different than our own. They will see things that we couldn’t. That said, don’t allow others to make choices for you. Take their advice and weigh it with your thoughts and perspective.
Follow Your Instincts
I know there are situations when we don’t have a lot of time to think. Sometimes, we have to act quickly in order to save lives or possessions. This is completely different and, in these cases, we have to do what we can. We can act fast because our instincts and “fight or flight” kick in and motivate us to move or not move. Maybe we can glean an important lesson from this for other types of decision-making.
Learning to listen to our inner knowing and instincts is a beautiful thing. How many times have you felt or heard a nudge to not do something and you didn’t listen? Then when things go horribly wrong, you realize that you should have listened. It has happened to me so many times. Finally, I started listening more and, in turn, my life has gone more smoothly because of it.